Route finding nightmare, but......
Okay, so let me start off by explaing the route finding nightmare. Chewacla SP has some very beautiful trails. The problem is the trail network. Many of the trails are easily navigated, but the trails to the creeks and gorge bottom are in no way easy to stay on route. Several designated (and "expediently designed") mountain bike trails crisscross the hiking trails and even follow the same route in many places. It is nearly impossible to follow the trail unless you understand where the creeks are and how the terrain lays out. The trails to the creeks and waterfalls are for hiking have shortcuts that are nearly straight up and down! Loose rocks and roots are a horror for the ankles. With that said, the trails that go to the falls and creek are well worth it! The remainder of the trails are easy on the body and a joy to hike.
We hiked several trails. The names of each trail seem to be mysterious (Little signage). We hiked several that ran near creeks. The Sweet Shrub and Boy Scout trails ran along Moore's Mill Creek, a sandy creek that fed the park lake. Very pretty itself, but we had no idea what was in store. Falls View Trail was one of our favorites. It wound down the valley to Chewacla Creek. A creek filled with large rocks, pools and many waterfalls. Chewacla Falls being one of them. Not very big, but beautiful none the less. We actually decided to hike to the top of the small mountain to find the creek origin.....well... a mile or so of rock hopping in the creek got us no closer it seemed to the treasure we were searching for, but we found many other treasures. This rarely traveled are was very beautiful with rocky pools shaded by large hardwoods. An addition to the wonders of the trails, is a manmade stone dam built by the Civilian Conservation Corps. This is the structure that creates Chewacla Lake. Given the short distance between the point where the lake is fed and the bottom of the dam, one can imagine what such a steep grade would have had in store to witness. But, that is no more....... The dam however, is awe inspiring and lends to the ingenuity of man. Made entirely of rocks gathered from the area, it is still a sight well worth seeing. It can be seen by by the Mountain Laurel Trail, and the Falls View Trail.
We were here for nearly a week, and only scratched the surface of the outstanding hiking opportunity. We were able to take in four of the trails, but there are 15 that are not designated bike only!
Sweet Shrub Trail – The Sweet Shrub Trail begins at the Lower Shelter, makes a loop and returns to the Lower Shelter. Some interpretation is provided on the trail. The trail is an easy walking trail and can be completed in about 25 minutes.
Boy Scout Trail – The Boy Scout Trail begins on the west side of the stone bridge and runs into the Sweet Shrub Trail. The trail is an easy walking trail and takes about 30 minutes to complete.
Troup 30 Boy Scout Trail – The Troup 30 Boy Scout Trail begins on the north side of the stone bridge on Murphy Drive. This trail follows Moore’s Mill Creek to the boundary of the park. Hikers may follow the trail to the park boundary or cross the creek on one of the rock dams and follow the trail back to Murphy Drive. This trail requires more hiking than the Boy Scout or Sweet Shrub Trails, but it is one of the most pleasant trails in the park. The Troup 30 Boy Scout Trail can be completed in about 45 minutes.
Eagle Scout Trail – The Eagle Scout Trail branches off from the Troup 30 Boy Scout Trail on the east side of Chewacla Lake and terminates on the logging road across from the Walnut Shelter. The trail is also accessible from the parking lot located between the creek and Walnut Shelters. This trail is wide and easy to follow. The Eagle Scout Trail can be completed in about 20 minutes.
Deer Rub Trail – The Deer Rub Trail begins at the Upper Pavilion and follows Chewacla Creek to the logging road across from the Walnut Shelter. Another point of entry to the Deer Rub Trail begins on the east side of the overlook and joins the Deer Rub Trail at Chewacla Creek. This trail involves some steep terrain. Boots are recommended but not required. The trail can be completed in about 1 hour and 20 minutes.
Loop Road Trail – The Loop Road Trail is a maintenance road that has been cut off to traffic. The trail leads to Chewacla Falls. This is a paved trail.
Mountain Laurel Trail – The Mountain Laurel Trail begins at the Upper Pavilion area, goes down to Chewacla Falls and then follows Chewacla Lake. The trail has several connecting trails that lead back to the Upper Pavilion area. This trail takes about one hour to complete.
Mountain Bike Trail – The Mountain Bike Trail loops around the upper portion of Murphy Drive. The trail is accessible from the Walnut Shelter and the Upper Pavilion area. At times, the Mountain Bike Trail links up with the Deer Rub Trail and the Mountain Laurel Trail.
This hike is listed as One-Way.
When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.