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.
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