Bracken Preserve


Yesterday we hiked at Bracken Preserve near Brevard, North Carolina.  Brevard is a bustling little mountain town (population about 7800 plus) with lots of restaurants and shops for those so inclined. It is also home to a population of white squirrel said to have escaped from a carnival in 1949. Our friend, Tracker, said he saw lots of white squirrel while we were hiking in the preserve. The White Squirrel Festival is held every May in downtown Brevard. Bracken Preserve is located near the Bervard Music Center.

There is plenty of parking in the gravel lot at the preserve.  I also noted several picnic tables close by for those who want to eat a snack or take a rest after their exertions.

We decided to do a lollipop hike out the Bracken Mountain Trail and then loop back on the Brushy Creek Trail.  The map link is at the bottom of this page.  Total hike mileage was 12.59 miles but you can make it much shorter by simply doing the loop.

I found the hike up the Bracken Mountain Trail a very gradual but continuous up.  Very few hikers could be seen on the trail this day as it was overcast with a small chance of rain.  It turned out to be a pretty warm, muggy hike for being in November and I was ‘glistening’ (okay they say women don’t sweat; so untrue) because I had overdressed. Next time I have to remember to bring a short-sleeved shirt for a hike just in case.  Seven hikers trekked through woods filled with trees in full color, reds, yellows, oranges.  This was probably the best of the leaves I have seen this season as color has not been very good this year. Several us explored an offshoot or two as we went but the social trails appeared to go further into the woods, probably used by hunters in the area.

We hiked past the end of the Bracken Mountain Trail sign onto the connector trail (FS 475-C) to what is billed the Fish Hatchery 7 miles away.  It appeared to be an old forest roadbed used by mountain bikers and was in good condition. The group hiked about a half hour down this trail and it was decided we would stop for lunch and turn around.

During the course of the day, we ran into a number of bicyclists on the trail and some of our number (also bicyclists) stopped for a brief chat.

We took the shortcut on the Mackey Ridge Trail and, once we got to the turnoff to the Brushy Creek Trail, we had a brief ‘trail conference’ to decide whether we wanted to continue on. It was a yes.  I did not find the Brushy Creek Trail difficult as it was mostly downhill and then ascended back up the hillside to meet the Bracken Mountain Trail again. There is one small waterfall on the Brushy Creek  Trail and a small water slide.

Our hike ended where we started at the parking lot.

Cost: Free

Multi-use: Hiking, mountain biking

Parking:  Good

Signage:  Good

Attaching a few photos from our hike.



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