The first section of this hike (FS #105) is a pleasant walk along the Davidson River where you have numerous opportunities to wade in or listen to the rushing water. Early in the hike you’ll see remnants of the old fish hatchery and an impressive stone wall from an old bridge.
Beginning at the gate, you will stay on a gravel road for 100 yards, crossing the Davidson River over a concrete bridge. Shortly thereafter, the loop bears to your left, away from the road. The trail parallels the Davidson River for ½ mile. Early in this section, a graveled, handicapped-accessible spur trail to the left leads to a primitive campsite near the river. Just before reaching an old wooden bridge, the main trail turns sharply to the right and up Lanning Branch. You will climb moderately for almost one mile before intersecting the Farlow Gap Trail (FS #106), which will join from the left.
Turn right and continue on Daniel Ridge Loop as it passes through a young forest and past a regeneration area, which affords a winter view of Pilot Mountain. From here the trail enters a series of wildlife fields. Keep a sharp lookout for trail blazes, since there are many turns in this section. You will eventually drop down to the gravel road you started on. Turn right on the road and it is ½ mile back to the gate. A left turn and 100-yard walk up the gravel road will lead you to the base of a 150-foot waterfall—Jackson Falls, listed in some reference books as Daniel Ridge Falls.
Pisgah National ForestFeatures:
Length: 4 milesDifficulty: ModerateUsage: HeavyTrail condition: GoodIntersecting Trails: Farlow Gap Trail #106Dog Friendly: Dogs must be on leash in developed recreation areas.Wheelchair Accessible: Yes, a short section near the beginning of the trail.Seasons: Year-roundRestrooms: No
- Mountain views
- Historical features
From the Pisgah District Ranger Station/Visitor Center parking lot, turn right (north) onto US 276, proceed 3½ miles and turn left on FS 475 (signed for the Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education and Pisgah Forest Fish Hatchery). Travel about 1½ mile to fish hatchery, then follow the gravel road 3 miles past it to the Cove Creek Group Camping Area, and then 1 mile further to a gated road on the right with a large parking area. The trail begins here. Do not block the gate with your vehicle.
The gravel road past the fish hatchery may have numerous and large potholes from the rain depending on the time of year and length of time since the last road grading.