Briery Fork Creek Lollipop Hike Route Map

DuPont State Forest - Briery Fork Creek Lollipop

It’s not exactly a hot take that DuPont State Forest is wildly overcrowded. On sunny summer days the main access points for the forest quickly and consistently fill to overflowing. It’s a popularity that is well deserved but for those hikers like myself, who value solitude, it’s enough to turn one completely off to visiting…unless you know where to look. There is, in fact, one portion of the forest which is all but ignored by masses. That would be the section accessed by way of a steep and rutted two-track known as Pinnacle Mountain Road, located along DuPont’s far southeastern boundary. The nature of the road is sufficiently rough that those without extra clearance under their vehicles would be wise to avoid it. Those that do manage it, however, will find a pair of remote trailheads that I can almost guarantee will be free of people. There are no massive waterfalls or rocky summits to be easily reached from these trails (which is another reason why they likely remain ignored)…just thickly forested hillsides and tiny streams. It’s quiet though…wonderfully quiet, especially by DuPont standards. The hordes of tourists are far away here, and the footpaths are of a noticeably wilder nature. It’s DuPont State Forest as few get to experience.

This hike on the quiet side of DuPont would take me on a lollipop-shaped route beginning at the Turkey Knob Road access point, off Pinnacle Mountain Road, and down into the valley surrounding Briery Fork Creek. The access point is located about 1.5-miles up Pinnacle Mountain, at an unassuming wide spot along the road where a wire gate is located on its west side. Faded letters on the gate post simply state “Turkey Knob”. Turkey Knob Road is just a short distance down the access path beyond. For this hike, upon reaching Turkey Knob Road, take a right to head northbound along it. The old roadbed (which is now very much a trail) immediately begins its winding journey down toward Briery Fork Creek. The forest here is beautiful, comprised of a pleasant mix of pine and hardwoods. At the 1.4-mile mark the northern end of Turkey Knob Road is reached, where the Briery Fork Trail crosses it at a T-junction. This is the start of the loop portion of the hike. Making a right (north) onto the Briery Fork Trail the descent continues until, 2/10-mile later, it makes its upper crossing of Briery Fork Creek. During average to low flow you can probably manage to rock hop the creek. After a good rain, however, it would most definitely become a short wade. After making the upper crossing the trail now ascends, arriving at Joanna Road ¼-mile later. Make a left onto Joanna Road, heading west.

The route now sticks to the crest of the ridge as it follows Joanna Road through still more stunning woodlands. After a fairly easy walk of about ½-mile the junction with the Twin Oaks Trail is reached, which you’ll turn onto next to continue the loop. The Twin Oaks Trail is obviously not on the itinerary of many hikers visiting DuPont. This album was hiked in May and in many places the trail had already begun to overgrow. There are few other places in DuPont quite like this, with solitude in abundance. The Twin Oaks Trail begins a meandering descent of the ridge heading at first south, then back east to meet the Briery Fork Trail after only a mile. Turning right (south) on the Briery Fork Trail the gradual-to-moderate descent continues until, 2/3-mile later, the trail reaches its lower crossing of Briery Fork Creek. This crossing is significantly wider than the first and more difficult to make without getting wet. I’d just plan for it. Beyond the lower crossing the trail immediately begins climbing once again, returning you to the north end of Turkey Knob Road in ¼-mile where the loop portion of the hike began. A right turn (south) on Turkey Knob Road and all there is left to do is make the gradual, 1.4-mile walk you made earlier (in the opposite direction) back to Pinnacle Mountain Road.

Overall this is a very enjoyable hike, and one that isn’t altogether that strenuous by mountain standards despite the two potential wet stream crossings. I made the hike in the late spring when the laurels and wildflowers added extra visual treats, which I highly recommend doing also if you can time things right. Though this is essentially just a walk-in-the-woods style hike, with no standout natural features to speak of, it’s still highly enjoyable from a relaxation standpoint. That’s something that can be said of precious few places in DuPont State Forest. With that said, it’s now my pleasure to present you with my stroll around what I’m dubbing the Briery Fork Creek Lollipop…as always, I hope you ENJOY!!

Trailhead GPS Coordinates:  35.175719, -82.576102

Route Type:  Lollipop                  Difficulty:  CHALLENGING  (Petzoldt Rating:  7.20 )

Hike Length:  5.8 miles                Hike Duration:  2:15

Trailhead Temp:  60'F                  Trail Traffic:  1-5 people

Min. Elevation:  2,630'                   Max. Elevation:  3,030'

Total Vertical Gain:  700'              Avg. Elevation Gain / Mile:  121'

Trails Used (blaze color):  Briery Fork (unblazed), Joanna Road (unblazed), Turkey Knob Road (unblazed), Twin Oaks (unblazed)


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