Saturday, August 05, 2006

Dupont State Forest

Today, we visited Dupont State Forest near Flat Rock, NC. I've heard so many good things about this place, and it was figuratively killing me that we hadn't had the time to go and explore the trails and waterfalls, and though we spent several hours there, we missed more than we saw.

Getting there
On several occasions, I'd seen the sign pointing toward Dupont Forest while traveling down Hwy 64 near Brevard, but I've been told that isn't the best entrance. Since I neglected to write down decent instructions, we went to the park's website and chose the recommended route: over NC 225, through Flat Rock, and up Dupont Road. After passing the Triple Falls parking lot, we stopped at the Buck Forest parking lot and began our hike. Walk. Adventure.

At the Park
Though it was obvious the Buck Forest entrance led into the woods, we felt we missed a main entrance somewhere. Undaunted, we grabbed our packs and walking sticks, and began our stroll down Buck Forest Road. At some point in its history, this area had been purchased by a developer, but was wrested from the carpetbaggers by caring people who wished to preserve its beauty (how's that for unbiased journalism ;o) Consequently, one can see road signs and utility markers along the trail. Still, the presence of a wide, gravel road leading through the forest surprised me. It felt like a stroll down a neighborhood street, not a hike.

Our first stop was High Falls. After admiring the falls from the gravel road, we walked down steep steps, over gnarled roots, and down slippery rocks to the base of the falls where we took several pictures and admired the wildflowers in bloom.

High Falls from a distance. Covered bridge is in the background

We left High Falls and walked down Covered Bridge Road to the--yes!--covered bridge.



While there, we encountered the first of many horseback riders, which caused no small amount of envy. The second group of riders asked us to take their picture, and we grabbed a great shot of them in front of the covered bridge. Shortly after, a dozen or so additional riders decided to cross the creek below the covered bridge. Understand there are not only signs posted stating No Entry, but this area is located at the top of High Falls. I can't emphasize the danger of their actions (please see my Waterfall Warning post.)

We said goodbye to the riders and hopped back on Buck Forest Road, then turned on Imaging Lake Road. We traveled in silence at times, sometimes lost in thought, sometimes just enjoying the tranquility of the tall trees rustling in the breeze around us. Other times, we hunted for wildflowers. After strolling for awhile, we turned back and took a break. Our resting spot was a short wooden bridge across from a prolific black or raspberry bush. Afterwards, we walked back up Buck Forest and stopped at Triple Falls, where we kicked off our shoes and relaxed.


We missed much of what Dupont has to offer, so a return trip is in order. An enjoyable trip overall, especially after visiting two waterfalls and a covered bridge.

For directions to Dupont, go to www.dupontforest.com/directions.asp

To learn more about Dupont State Forest, go to www.dupontforest.com/

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