Friday, October 8, 2010

Honey Creek Loop - Big South Fork NRRA

Wifey and I decided Thursday September 30, 2010 would be our big hiking day on our vacation. I had stumbled across the Honey Creek Loop trail, located in The Big South Fork NRRA, one day in my search of trails and absolutely knew that I wanted to do this trail. I had showed the trail to Robin and she seemed pretty excited too, yet a bit nervous about it all the same.

It had beauty and adventure written all over it. In my research, I saw that there were ladders and boulders to climb, and that it was rated difficult or strenuous. As a matter of fact, it was written that it was approximately a 5.5 mile loop and that you needed to give yourself an hour per mile. Now tell me if that doesn't spell adventure?

So Robin did more research and the research she did clued us in even more than the infinitesimal amount of research I did. Isn't she the greatest? See after her research, she was way more nervous than she originally was although even more excited.

I won't go into a whole lot of detail as I will let the pictures speak for themselves. Additionally there are a couple trail guides online that can do a much better job than I at giving you the low-down on the trail. I would highly suggest printing them out and taking them with you. They will definitely come in handy.

The trail guide we used:
A good write up on the trail:
A map and description provided by the National Park Service:

What I will tell you is this, if you are just the casual hiker this may not be the trail for you. However, if you are a junkie for adventure and challenge, then this, my friends, is just the trail that will satiate your appetite.

I've not gotten off the beaten path in most of the places I've visited before, so I really can't tell you for certain if there is anything more beautiful and untouched as the Honey Creek area of the Big South Fork. I can tell you this though, you will not regret doing this trail, unless you somehow manage to get lost in the few rhododendron hells that the trail takes you through, or you get careless, or you end up hurting yourself. However, the raw, natural beauty of this area is something to definitely behold.

For the faint of heart, do not despair, the road to the trail head continues to the Honey Creek Overlook where you can take in the breathtaking view of the Big South Fork of the Cumberland River. Of course to those of us who like to get dirty, what fun is that? :P

So without further ado, I give you a glimpse into the beauty, ruggedness, adventure, and excitement this trail has to offer.

Burnt Mill Bridge.
(This is on the way to the Honey Creek Trailhead)
Yours truly, being silly.
Wifey enjoying the trail immensely.
Don't let the first half mile fool you.
It gets tough from here.

Wifey on a little foot bridge.
(Ain't she purdy?)
Our trusty, or is that crusty, Merrells
Yep, we hiked right along the creek bed.
Wifey and I at a small rock house prior to reaching the overlook.
A small taste of the natural beauty.
Just follow the orange arrows.
(And the green blazes, and yellow arrows...)
The first ladder to the overlook.
(There is another one just like this one immediately afterward.)
A stairway to the overlook.
After the ladders of course.
A view of God's Glory.
Part of Honey Creek
More of the beautiful Honey Creek.
We hiked alongside Honey Creek a good piece.
(Good thing it hadn't rained in a while. We would have been wet.)
Yes, we had to go through there.
This sign was on the ground leaning on a tree.
The first of several large rock houses.
(Be careful on the ladder. It used to be caged the whole way up at one point. However most of the cage is no longer present. Also the second to last step at the top is very loose, so check your footing.)
Wifey climbing the ladder to the rock house.
A view from inside the rock house.
The second large rock house.
No ladder needed for this one.
The third large rock house, AKA The Great Room
Inside the third rock house was a bunch of stacked rocks.
(Have you seen the Blair Witch Project?)
Need I say more?
Inside Boulder House Falls, you can actually walk in there.
Yep, we had to crawl through there too.
Treetop Rock.
(Just follow the arrows.)
Another pretty foot bridge.
You get the idea right?
Honey Creek Falls

So that's pretty much it. Like I said, it is a very technical and tough trail. Definitely do your research prior to going. The links I provided above should help you out tremendously. Constantly be on the look out for blazes and arrows. They will guide you through. And when I say be on the lookout for them, I mean stay on the lookout for them. Some of the arrows have been weathered so much that you can easily miss them. Enjoy the hike. I know we did. Until next time...

Happy Trails,
Tim and Robin

P.S. Stay tuned for the next entry of our annual unplugging, The Erwin Apple Festival.