Bear Pen Trail
At A Glance
1.4 mi one-way
Difficulty Rating: 2.84
Steepness: Climbs Steeply
Tread Condition: Moderately Rough
Lowest Elevation: 3930 ft
Highest Elevation: 4600 ft
Climb Total: 670 ft
Blaze Color: Orange
Trail Number: 176
Starting on FS 74, this trail climbs old road beds up to the Laurel Gap trail (another, newer logging road). Beginning as a wide, eroded trough climbing through a gentle cove of mixed hardwoods, the trail climbs past the 4000 ft elevation contour near a switchback from north to southeast. It then ascends Walker Ridge sidelong on a prettier section of trail toward a conjunction with Staire Branch, where it crosses a northern and southern fork of that stream. The trail then climbs the next ridge south, unnamed, before wrapping around its nose for the final push to the top in an area where some large Eastern Hemlock trees still survive as of September 2019. The trail then passes into the lower elevations of the Northern Hardwood forest zone before ending.
A little overgrown with weeds in places, and there's lots of stinging nettle, so be sure to wear long pants on this trail (and others in the area). Old logging roads go off in all directions from this one but the correct route is fairly well-worn and obvious. Do pay attention if you get to what looks to be a junction since there are no signs or blazes.
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About the Map
Base layers provided by OpenStreetMap, the US Geological Survey, the US Forest Service, and NC OneMap. Base layer images are subject to the respective copyright policies of their owners. Base layers may not be available at all times due to system maintenance or outages.
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