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160 Day Loop, Long Hunter State Park, Tennessee 2009-12-17

along the Day Loop Trail, Long Hunter State Park

Saturday, we went to Long Hunter State Park for our hike of the week. Checking the web site we confirmed that the Park was pet friendly with the exception of two picnic areas. We were not going to picnic. The temperatures were in the high 30s, we were just going to park and hike the Bryant Grove Trail quickly trying to stay warm.

When we got to the turn to Couchville Lake (the trailhead), there was a sign in large letters saying that "PETS ARE PROHIBITED IN THE AREA." Turning around we returned to the Park Office. Luckily a young ranger was leaving the parking area (the Office was closed.) I told him that we did not want to picnic we were just trying to access the Bryant Grove Trail and then asked how to do it. He said it could not be done. He went on to explain that the area was closed to pets because the health department did not allow pets in a swimming area. Now, he said that with a straight face. He was not giggling or grinning. It was thirty degrees outside, I hardly believed anyone was swimming, or that any swimming area was open, or that the health department cared! He did suggest other trails, and we went instead to hike the Day Loop Trail from the Bakers Grove Area.

The Day Loop is a good four mile trail. We were wanting to hike a bit further, but settled on the short loop. I left the vehicle wearing a lightweight shirt and Gore-tex jacket, but soon had to stop to don more clothes. It was chilly, but a great temperature for hiking. After the hike we returned to the main Park area and explored the dog friendly areas before leaving.

A few trail notes...

  • The State web site should say no pets allowed on the Couchville Lake Trail and the Bryant Grove Trail. We actually don’t mind when trails are closed to pets. It is a bit of an inconvenience though to bring your dog and then find that the areas are closed to pets.
  • Quite a few cars were parked in the Bakers Grove Parking Area.
  • We met several people walking the Day Loop Trail. Several more must have been either doing the overnight trail, or we just missed them on the loop.
  • There were a few other dogs being walked.
  • There were no facilities at the trailhead.
  • The area seemed well maintained.
  • Benches were placed along the trail.
  • In the fall/winter there were some great views of the lake.
  • The hike was very diverse with lots to see.
  • The hike was easy, with no steep grades. I have run the trail before and the footing can be difficult when wet.
  • The Loop Trail is a good hike. We look forward to returning and doing the twelve mile, Volunteer Trail.
  • The restrooms at the Park Office were open even though the Office was closed.
  • At the Park Office, the Deer Trail trailhead shares the parking area. The trail kiosk had an unusual sign, "BEWARE OF TICKS". I don’t know if I have ever been told to beware of ticks, but it is probably a good idea, after all it was the Deer Trail, where else would a deer tick be? I can think of some other parks that should post the sign as well even if they don’t have an actual Deer Trail!

Happy trails.



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