Starting at the concrete bridge over Bent Creek in the Lake Powhatan Recreation Area, this 3.5-mile trail passes through several ecological communities--a stream bottom, laurel-rhododendron thickets, and stands of white pine, hemlock, and various hardwoods. Interpretive signs point out the value of the habitats to the area's wildlife and human populations. Follow the brown signs with yellow arrows around the Habitat Hike. Painted blazes are for recreation trails, and maps are available from the campground hosts at the gate.
Ledford Branch Demonstration Trail
Interpretive signs will guide you along this 4.6-mile tour into the Bent Creek Experimental Forest. From signs along this trail, you can learn about hardwood forest regeneration methods in the Southern Appalachians, including clearcuts, shelterwood harvests, group selection harvests, and single-tree selection. Some of the signs tell about wildlife habitats in the forest environment.
The first 3.6 miles of the trail follow gravel roads that are open to bicycles, horses, and hikers. The final mile is a foot path through a younger forest and is open only to hikers.
Learn about forestry research at Bent Creek Experimental Forest. Park at the Rice Pinnacle parking area. Locate the sign guiding you to the start of the trail located across Rice Pinnacle road. This short, 0.6 mile, self-guided tour takes you through current research plots in a variety of forest settings. The trail was established in 2005 to commemorate the Forest Service’s 100th birthday.