Beautiful Park, Beautiful Trails
By Lone_Star on 2/7/2008
Distance: 15.00 Miles Duration: 5 hours
I really enjoyed hiking this particular park. Overall, the trails were well-marked and in great condition. There was a lot of sights to see in a forest setting.
I parked at the Ranger Station at the entrance of the Park and took the Chinquapin Trail down to the marshy area of Alligator Branch. After crossing the walkway, I took the CCC trail along the periphery of the park. I saw a family and a mountain biker.
As I came around the park, I decided to take the CCC Cutoff Trail down to the dam on Lake Raven. This was a good call as it provided a spectacular view of the lake. I had a short lunch break here and then moved on.
I was very impressed at how well the park trails were marked throughout the park, except for one point. This was in the area of the Chinquapin Cutoff near Prairie Branch Creek. Somehow I got back on the CCC trail heading north, but rather than backtrack I decided to take the CCC Cutoff Trail again down to the dam. On this second trip, I took a different trail which got me on to where I wanted to be (Chinquapin Cutoff Trail).
From there, I took the Chinquapin Trail to the CCC Trail which took me across Little Chinquapin Creek and along the southern park boundary. I hiked along the panhandle section of the park back towards the Ranger Station.
Since I was enjoying myself so much and I had some extra daylight to spare, I decided to take the Chinquapin Trail again to where it joins the Dogwood Trail. I took this along the Prairie Branch Loop trail down to the camping areas near the lodge on Lake Raven. By then it was late in the day so I headed back along the Dogwood Trail back towards the Nature Center and the Park Entrance.
Although the park was extremely beautiful, I was really surprised at the lack of wildlife. Aside from a few birds, I did not see any animals. There were a few bikers and joggers, but overall the park was fairly empty which made for a very tranquil hike.