October 29, 2022
I intended to hike a huge 20 mile loop at the Road to Nowhere, Noland Creek to Springhouse Branch Trail to Whiteoak Branch Trail, but two things went against me. First, I woke up late and didn’t get to the trailhead until 10:00 am. Secondly, I felt my body getting sick that morning and did not feel up to that strenuous a hike. As such, I decided to only hike 5 miles and grab a segment of a trail and the very short, Tunnel Bypass Trail.
I hiked most of Noland Creek several years ago when I was on the Benton MacKaye Trail. I had not hiked the 1-mile sliver that extends from the road to the Tuckasegee River and campsite #66. It is a nice jaunt, slightly downhill along a broad path. The campsite on this day was occupied, so I did not take pictures, but the river was significantly lower, exposing much of the shoreline. The mountains as a whole are in a period of drought.
I hiked back and road walked .7 miles to the Tunnel Bypass Trail. It is a wonderful, family-friendly loop of 2.2 miles with just a slight elevation change. The fall leaves were magnificent, waning slightly before falling to the forest floor.
Total mileage is 5.6 miles.