Carolina Mountain Club has discovered the Shope Creek area of Pisgah National Forest.
On Sunday, we went on a five-mile hike through the forest.
The area is located above Riceville near the Oteen area of Asheville. If you take Riceville Rd. past the VA Hospital, turn left on Bull Gap Rd. and right on Shope Rd., you’ll eventually come to a dead end. That’s the beginning of the Shope section.
The area doesn’t have any public parking at this time, though that’s in the works eventually.
The only way we got in was because Tim Forrest, a biology professor at UNCA, had the key. Tim does entomology research in the area and he came with us. When we passed the fall above, we named it after him: Forrest Falls.
The area has certainly been lived in and is now being logged by the Forest Service. That’s the cadaver of a vehicle left here, years and years ago.
The trails are mostly old roads, which in spring, is supposed to have a display of showy orchis. But the primary purpose of the area is for logging. We passed bundles of large downed logs and walked through ground flattened by the saw.