“An easy trail on rolling singletrack and wider dirt roads and trails with views of the creek.
— John Ross
Restricted during deer and turkey hunting seasons. Landowner permission always required.
This is an easy four mile trail along the west bank of Horse Creek. It starts at the Ross family cabin off of Coldspring Loop and goes north down the creek to a good swimming hole and a limestone overlook of the creek where a grist mill stood in the early 19th Century.
It continues on singletrack along a bluff over the Scott Branch beaver pond to the back of Graham Church where an early log structure remains in the woods.
It returns through pine plantations and streamside zones open areas in natural gas and power line rights of way by the old Ross home place to the cabin. Deer, turkey, wood ducks, herons, and other wildlife are frequently seen on rides.
From the log cabin off of Coldspring Loop on State Highway 69, take the gravel trail marked with a bicycle sign down the hill. Or for a more challenging beginning, ride up to the wood heated sauna and turn left down a steep singletrack to the floating dock on the creek bank. Continue along the creek to the foot of a hill where a wider trail goes to the right along the creek and take the singletrack up the hill and continue straight into the hardwood trees along the edge of the bluff. There is one steep dip in the middle of this trail.
Turn right at the end of this singletrack and go downhill to where it intersects the alternate trail that goes along the creek. Turn left and continue along the high bank to where it goes down to a small branch bottom and take a right turn out to a gravel bar on the creek which is a good wildlife viewing point and swimming hole in summer.
Return to the trail and turn right crossing the stream and continue across an opening to the intersection with another trail at a Black Walnut tree. Turn right back toward the creek and continue along the singletrack trail to an old road going up a short climb to a thinned pine plantation.
Continue to the right along the edge of the pine trees to a natural gas pipeline right of way. Cross the pipelines back into the hardwoods and continue on a wide trail to the intersection with another trail. Take a right turn down a steep hill to the large limestone rocks overhanging the creek. This is where the old water mill was operated in the 19th Century and the remains of the mill dam can still be seen in the creek. This is a good place for a break to relax on the flat rocks over the creek and enjoy the view.
Continue on the old mill road crossing a deep dip and along an old wire fence on the right down to the beaver dam on Scott Branch. At the pond make a sharp left turn onto singletrack along the edge of the pond. There are several small dips and big roots in this section that require caution. Continue across a small stream and up a short climb to an intersection with a wider trail. Continue to the right above the Scott Branch to an intersection. Go a short distance to the right to see the early 19th Century log building that may have originally been a church.
Return to the main trail which emerges into a pine plantation. The pines on the left are about 20 years old and have been thinned and burned. Where the trail returns to the gas pipeline turn to the left around the younger pine plantation. The road here is often grown up in tall grasses. Continue to a wide food plot with Sawtooth Oaks for wildlife food and back to the pipeline right of way. Cross the pipeline and continue between two pine plantations on a dirt road to its intersection with the east end of a county gravel road and the site of the old Ross home place. The old house has been demolished but the yard of the replacement still has the large Red Cedars that lined the walk and a giant Pecan tree. The original stone and brick chimney of the old kitchen still remains on the new house. The occupant of the house has an interesting collection of antique tractors and several dogs that bark sometimes but do not bite.
Continue behind the house and turn down a narrow gravel road to the left. At the bottom of the hill is a concrete bridge that can be crossed to follow the power line back to the cabin, or continue straight into the woods on a trail along the small stream. There is a small stream crossing that requires caution. The trail continues to another concrete bridge. Across it go up the hill behind an old shed that is falling down and back into the pine plantation. Take the right fork, cross another stream and the power line and continue around the pines back to the singletrack in the hardwoods. Return on this singletrack back to the starting point at the cabin. If the weather is warm enough enjoy a dip in the creek to cool off.