December 18, 2016
Barnett Branch Trail is best known for bisecting Pink Beds, a popular destination for families and day hikers. The northern trailhead starts off the Buck Spring Trail and runs to the Black Mountain Trail to the south. The National Geographic map indicates it is 3.1 miles, which is false, it’s closer to 4.
I parked off F.S. 1206 and first hiked the .75 miles to the northern terminus. There are two low flow waterfalls and a steady, but short uphill climb. South of F.S. 1206 the trail is fairly level. The trail goes over the South Mills River and starts a switchback path up Soapstone Ridge. Of note, soapstone is a metamorphic rock used around the world for carving and architectural purposes.
The trail ends at the Black Mountain Trail. Instead of hiking back out, I walked Club Gap and returning via Hwy 276 to the forest service road. I always enjoy hiking in the rain and the feel of the wind rushing off the ridge, glancing upward to see the trees swaying.
Total mileage is 9.07 miles.