As mentioned above, the trail starts out pretty mellow, but just as you begin to question why the rating is so difficult, it leads you on a grown-up game of Chutes and Ladders up switchbacks, around muddy sections, down steep, pebbly slopes, and across a shallow, stone-filled creek all while trying to identify wild berries, yielding the right of way to toads and miniature frogs, and marveling at Mother Nature’s art. It’s a workout.
One of the coolest things you will see along the trail is the result of a 1996 thunderstorm that damaged a slew of trees. So, in addition to a forest full of tall, healthy oaks, beeches, hawthorns, and hickories, that are wonderful for shielding you 100 percent from the summer sun, you’ll encounter a stump peeled like a banana, a couple of moss-covered logs resembling rolls of Astroturf, and a perfectly parallel trio of toppled trees that look like the makings of a lean-to.
Another great part about this trail is that if you find this shorter hike isn’t long enough, you can connect to the Riding Run trail and add on another four miles of moderate to difficult hiking.