Bent Creek Experimental Forest

Location: Asheville, North Carolina

Webpage: US Forest Service

General Description: Bent Creek Experimental Forest is a facility of the Southern Experiment Station, US Forest Service that focuses on research programs on understanding and predicting how hardwood forests and wildlife are affected by natural disturbances and forest management activities with the goal of developing strategies for sustainable forest management and restoration.  Along with the NC Arborteum that is on the property, there are over 40 miles of trails with varying designations, length, and difficulty for hiking, biking, and horses.  Camping is permitted in the Lake Powhatan Recreation Area.

Brochure

Impressions:

1) The trial map that we obtained at the Lake Powhatan Recreation Area, where we were camping for the week, is excellent.  There is a break down of each of the trails by distance and difficulty.  We were able to combine trails and roads into loops for some easy to moderate hikes in the hardwood forests.

2) Hikers must be wary of mountain bikes as all of the moderate and easy trails are used for both and there are a LOT of bikers from the Asheville area.

3) The trails we hiked were well marked and maintained with adequate parking within easy walking distance of the trail heads.