The newest Occoneechee State Park addition is the 15-mile Panhandle Trail. This multi-use linear trail has its main trailhead along the park road diagonally across from the park's visitor center. Here users can view a map of the trail, park their horse trailers and check at the information box as to whether horses are currently permitted on this seasonally sensitive trail. Other access locations are from the end of the Wildlife Management Area road and from the Warrior's Path and Mossy Creek trailheads located at the upper tier of the main boat launch lot.
The route has been defined along an old service road that no longer supports vehicular traffic of any type. Users will travel through field and forest, viewing a mixture of hardwood and pine woodlands, and expansive open fields managed specifically to enhance the park's wildlife. Which I can attest to the fact they have done a great job! My visit rewarded me with a sighting of a mother quail and her 5 chicks.
Even if you decide to access the trail from a different location other than the main trailhead, it's a good idea to stop by before heading out and read the very visible warning sign tucked at the wood's edge. The trail traverses Wildlife Management Area which is open to hunting throughout the year. Precautions such as wearing blaze orange should be taken seriously. In addition, the trailhead provides a large map of the trail's path and displays the small white PMT ground-level markers that users will encounter along the way. It also has a small information board for horseback riders pertaining to trail closure due to wetness.
The best time to tour the 7.5-mile one-way trail is during the spring and fall. Summer is too buggy, especially with the persistence of those enormous horseflies. In winter, the trail becomes too soggy restricting usage. Users should note that there is a spine of path flanked by water on both sides. When the lake rises to 304 feet, the park closes the trail. Call the park office direct for details, 804-374-2210.
Directions: From Clarksville, VA, Warrior's Path and Mossy Creek Trailheads: Occoneechee State Park is on U.S. 58, 1.5 miles east of Clarksville in Mecklenburg County which rests on the North Carolina border. After entering the park and passing the contact station, turn right to reach the main boat launch area. Park in the top (third) tier at the back of the lot.
Elevation Gain: Minimal
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Occoneechee State Park, Virginia
Review by Wildernet Copyright © 2010 Wildernet.com all rights reserved.
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