Bent Creek -- 2,150'

Bent Creek - Campground Connector/Deerfield Loop

This is one of those strange hikes that, even though I’m sharing it here, I don’t really expect anyone else to repeat. It’s a rather odd duck in that it combines a couple of rather unremarkable trails which can only be completed as one by utilizing an undesirable road walk in either direction. The sole purpose of me putting this hike together was to check off the small remaining pieces of trail I had yet to visit at Bent Creek…without the annoyance of having to drive to multiple trailheads. The paths in question this day would be the Campground Connector Trail, the Deerfield Loop Trail, and the Deerfield Connector Trail. Anytime you’re hiking a footpath with ‘connector’ in its name odds are you’re not in for a very memorable trail experience…and so it is with these. On a more positive note, however, this is a fairly easy hike along well-traveled paths. There’s also ample opportunity to enjoy Bent Creek itself, as well as Lake Powhatan, either from the route described here or via the large network of trails which connect to it.

I’d be starting and ending at the large pull-off along Forest Service Road 479 at the western end of the Campground Connector Trail. This spot is directly across from the gated Forest Service Road 479F. The Campground Connector Trail is about as exciting as it sounds. Perfectly flat and roughly 6/10-mile in length this footpath, as it name implies, connects the Lake Powhatan Campground with the aforementioned F.R. 479. The trail briefly pulls alongside Bent Creek which constitutes its only real highlight. The Campground Connector ends at the end of the paved drive for the campground dump site. Walking to the end of the drive take a right at the stop sign onto Wesley Branch Road which immediately dips to a bridge over Bent Creek. Passing the northern end of the Pine Tree Loop on the right you’ll soon reach a point where the road curves uphill into the woods with a long wooden footbridge spanning the wetlands off to the left. This is the start of the loop portion of the hike so you can either enjoy the view of the creek and lake from the bridge now, or save it until later depending on your preference. Continuing on the road just over 1/10-mile past the footbridge and you’ll reach the northern end of the Deerfield Loop Trail on the right. The first quarter-mile of the trail is blazed both yellow and blue as the Deerfield Loop and Pine Tree Loop coincide along this stretch. At an obvious and well-signed intersection the Deerfield Loop breaks left and you’ll start a meandering journey along the side of the low ridge heading east. This is probably the prettiest section of the hike as you’re far enough away from the road here to really feel like you’re out in the forest. A half-mile of rolling trail later another intersection is reached, with the Deerfield Connector Trail on the right.

The Deerfield Connector Trail, as its name implies, connects the Deerfield Loop Trail with Forest Service Road 479M a quarter mile away up the ridge to the east. I did the half-mile out-and-back on the Deerfield Connector for purely completionist reasons…in all honesty you could skip it and not miss out on anything other than the biggest climb you’d otherwise need to make on this trek. Continuing on the Deerfield Loop from the Connector junction the trail now heads north, soon dropping to its crossing of Wesley Branch Road at the entrance to the Lake Powhatan beach parking lot. Crossing the road the trail then follows along a shallow drainage, gradually losing elevation, for another 2/10-mile to its east end at the Homestead Trail, right alongside the lake. A left turn here takes you through the thick brush along the lakeshore before quickly returning you to the wooden footbridge I noted earlier. If you didn’t stop at the bridge earlier, make sure you do so now as the view overlooking Bent Creek as it drains into Lake Powhatan is perhaps the prettiest of the entire hike. All that’s left at this point is to retrace your steps from earlier back up the road to the Campground Connector Trail and then onward back to your car.

Like I said earlier this isn’t really a hike to write home about. It’s easy, which is nice, but honestly the trails included on this one are probably better combined with others in the area. Even so it afforded me the opportunity to complete my mission of hiking all the trails of the Bent Creek valley and put me ever closer to my bigger goal of completing all the trails in the Pisgah Ranger District. So, for that reason if for no other, this was an enjoyable walk. So, without further ado, I present a hike of the Campground Connector, Deerfield Loop, and Deerfield Connector Trails at Bent Creek. As always, I hope you ENJOY!!


Trailhead GPS Coordinates:  35.481697, -82.635197


Route Type:  Lollipop + spur      Difficulty:  MODERATE  (Petzoldt Rating:  3.40 )

Hike Length:  2.8 miles                Hike Duration:  1:15

Trailhead Temp:  70'F                 Trail Traffic:  10-25 people

Min. Elevation:  2,150'                  Max. Elevation:  2,360'

Total Vertical Gain:  300'             Avg. Elevation Gain / Mile:  107'


Trails Used (blaze color):  Campground Connector (blue), Deerfield Connector (blue), Deerfield Loop (yellow), Homestead (orange), Pine Tree Loop (blue)


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