“A ride across Horse Creek to the scenic waterfall in Sugar Camp Hollow and return by the beaver pond”
— John Ross
Landowner permission is required and access may be restricted during deer and turkey hunting seasons.
This trail begins at the Ross cabin, descends to Horse Creek crossing the vehicle bridge and a hayfield, continues through a mature hardwood forest along the creek to the entrance to Sugar Camp Hollow natural area.
At the upper end of the hollow is a scenic waterfall with a variety of interesting wildflowers and crinoid fossils in the stream. It returns over the ridge to a trail through a wetlands reserve area with a large beaver pond, back across the bridge and past the Black Sulphur Spring that was once a popular picnic area. A singletrack trail leads back up the bluff and along it to the Ross Cabin.
Begin going south from the log cabin to the wood heated sauna and continue to the right. Along the trail take the first right fork and then the next left fork to descend the hill.
At the bottom of the hill enter a gravel road, take the left fork, cross a branch and continue on a dirt road to the big bridge across Horse Creek. Cross the bridge. On the other side of the bridge a large colony of Virginia Bluebells blooms in the early spring. Continue on the dirt road across a meadow. The pine trees on the left are about 15 years old and are in the Conservation Reserve Program in what was a 100 acre cornfield before they were planted.
As the road goes into the hardwood forest continue to the base of a hill and take the right fork into a mature hardwood forest above the floodplain. The road continues at the foot of a bluff to a bend in the creek above a bluff of limestone rocks that hang over the creek. Continue on the road to a branch crossing. In warm weather watch for Cottonmouth snakes which like to lurk here looking for food. Some college researchers captured over thirty of them in this hollow several years ago.
Cross the hollow and take the first road to the left. At the next branch crossing it is best to walk across at a shallow place to the left or risk getting wet by continuing on the road. Continue to the base of the next hill where a singletrack on the right leads to the waterfalls. The entire hollow and bluffs are in the voluntary State Natural Areas Program due to the abundance of wildflowers. In early spring there are an abundance of the rare Beaked Trout Lilies, Trillums, Shooting Stars, Sharp Lobed Lobelia, and many others. At the first waterfall park the bike before the second stream crossing and walk to the falls. There is an alternate trail to the second waterfall on the right and a trail up to the top of the falls that continues back on the south rim of the hollow to second stream crossing.
Return to the doubletrack and continue on it up the hill to the right. This is a steep climb with water bars. At the top of the hill turn to the right and continue up the dirt road to where it makes a sharp turn to the right. Take the trail down hill to the left into a hardwood area. This trail is very steep in places and requires caution. At the bottom of the hill continue in the stream bed and back up on the trail to the left. This is part of a 45 acre Wetlands Reserve Program easement which is permanently set aside for wetlands wildlife habitat.
The trail continues along the edge of a large beaver pond that is thick with Yellow Pond Lillies, or Spatterdock and returns to the gravel road. Turn right on the road and return through the meadow back to the bridge over Horse Creek. Turn left after crossing the bridge and continue to a four way intersection near a concrete bridge. Turn right at the intersection through the pine plantation and at the other end of it turn left onto a wooden bridge. Across the bridge is the Black Sulphur Spring that was a popular picnic area in the 19th and early 20th Centuries. The water appears black due to sediment and smells like rotten eggs but is clear when picked up in a glass or bottle. A singletrack trail continues to the left of the spring and circles behind it, crossing a narrow wooden bridge and two roads to return to the cabin where the trail began.