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167 Long Hunter Without a Dog 2010-02-04

Bryant Grove Trail, Long Hunter State Park

Yesterday, we returned to Long Hunter State Park, but this time without the dog. The Park does not allow dogs on the two trails we were going to hike: the Bryant Grove Trail and the Couchville Lake Trail. The rest of the Park is dog friendly.

Starting at the Couchville Lake Trailhead, we left the parking area on the Bryant Grove Trail on an easy, gravel path. Soon it joined an old road which skirted the shores of Percy Priest Lake. The rest of the trail was more of the same; very tame and easy and most of the path was wide enough to walk two abreast. Due to recent rains and an incredibly wet fall, the trail was soggy but only a few short sections completely flooded. Every stream was filled to its banks.

At the other end of the trail was Bryant Grove, a little over four miles from our start. There was a wonderful, freshly painted, heated restroom and a well kept picnic grounds. We walked around and explored for a while before returning.

Because the trail does not loop, we returned on the same out and back trail. Reversing the trail in this way allows you to see the same things but from a different angle. Soon we were back at the parking area. This easy trail made for a fast walk.

After stopping at the car for a quick bite to eat and drink, we began the Couchville Lake Trail. We walked counter clockwise on the two mile paved path. The Park does not allow bikes, skateboards, skates, etc. on the path. Wheelchairs (or power chairs) are allowed and encouraged. The path was almost level. Along the route there were a number of observation decks looking out over the lake as well as a shelter at the half way point.

We met runners and fitness walkers using the path. The Bryant Grove trail would work equally well for runs or walks and is softer on the old legs but the Lake Trail is very scenic.

A few trail notes:

  • Both trails had mileage posts marked in half mile increments.
  • Both trails had benches. On the Bryant Grove Trail the benches were close to or at the mileage posts.
  • Both trails are easy runs.
  • A tree guide (Arboretum) for the 44 identified trees along the Couchville Lake Trail was available at the trailhead kiosk. The one dollar donation benefits the Friends group. The leaf stenciled on the path indicated an identified tree.
  • Other bits of natural history were also posted along the Lake Trail in framed plaques.
  • The Couchville Lake Trail was very informative and entertaining.
  • The Bryant Grove Trail was, unfortunately, noisy (we assume) from the boaters on the lake. We only heard the noises, we never actually saw the boats.
  • We wished that we had had a garbage bag to pick up the Percy Priest Lake trash along the Bryant Grove Trail. As the trash continued, we wished that we had a troop of scouts and a garbage truck instead! We know that the litter was not from hikers. The litter was from boaters. After our hike we drove to the boat ramp area (close to the trailhead.) There were no signs or information posts discouraging the boaters from littering. We understand that a sign might not stop a litterer, but it would be a starting point.
  • Wildlife, in the form of turkeys and deer, was plentiful.

Both trails were good hikes. They were both rated as easy. It was a good fun day for us.

Happy trails.


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