Pisgah National Forest- The Pink Beds

I was skeptical when I headed out to the Pink Beds on a Saturday morning, nervous that this loop would be crowded due to its lack of difficulty and its proximity to The Forest Discovery Center and its large picnic area. But, I was pleased to find the 5 mile loop was fairly empty. I headed out with trusty Daisy intending to hike, but when I was 3/4 of the way going clockwise around the loop, I was thirsty for more. I headed up the Barnett Branch Trail, saw a small black bear, got a peak at The North Face of Looking Glass, headed left at the Buckhorn Gap Trail, and turned around at the Buckhorn Gap Shelter. This tidy and cozy shelter easily sleeps 6 in wood bunk platforms and looks like a serene spot to camp. Knowing that the return trip was mostly downhill, I decided to jog home. By the time I returned to the car, I think I had logged about 10 miles, and the hike/ run had truly tuckered both of us out.

The Pink Beds Loop itself is really enjoyable for a variety of hiker levels, since it is mostly flat and has a spot to shorten the loop if you desire. You cross through lovely meadows, babbling creek bogs and the South Fork Mills River. The picnic area is roomy enough for some ultimate frisbee in your Chacos while your burgers cook on the grill. Another great day in Pisgah National Forest!

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