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Buck Run Trail - SMLSP

Hike stats: 1.88 miles, 226' elevation gain, 52:08 moving time, 1/2/2021. Link to trail data at the end of the post (click the AllTrails map).





Lovely Wife and I have been married for 22 years now and one of our traditions is to go for a day-long drive or a hike together for New Years Day. Well, this year's first day was miserably drear so we put it off until the next day. Buck Run Trail was the first part of the loop we took for this trip.

We started at the Turtle Island trailhead. The parking area for this trailhead can accommodate about 10 vehicles and offers several picnic tables. We took Chestnut Ridge Trail across the road to the junction with the southwest terminus of Buck Run Trail. The trail parallels the shoreline along the inlet. The forest here is a mixture of oak, poplar, pines, and cedars. There is some up and down, but overall the elevation is relatively even.



There are many reasons to like this trail, but one of my favorite is the frequent benches provided both in the woods and at the water's edge. While at least one of the benches near the water has little view due to trees that have grown up at the water line, they are still very nice and a welcome reminder to stop and take a short break to enjoy what's out there.




As with several of the trails at Smith Mountain Lake State Park, this trail has a section that traverses a grass field that has grown up following a timber harvest (I would guess four or five years ago, maybe a little more). It is a nice change of scenery and the usual mess left by the timber company is not readily evident here. Once through the field, the trail reenters the woods and drops into its final hollow before climbing out toward the trailhead. There is a junction with a spur trail to the right that leads to Beechwood Trail. Take the left fork to get to the Buck Run trailhead.








About two-thirds of the way up the last ascent to the Buck Run trailhead, there is a very recent pine blowdown blocking the trail. The tree fell along and onto the path (as opposed to across the path). This is easily gotten around by walking along the very far right edge of the path (as you walk north toward the trailhead). I don't doubt that the park staff will have this cleared before long, but it is worth noting that as of January 2, it was still there.





The Buck Run trailhead at the northeast end of the trail offers easy connections to Buck Run Trail, Turkey Foot Trail (to the Visitor Center), Walton Creek Trail (via Turkey Foot Trail), and Beechwood Trail (via the Buck Run spur trail). The parking area is large and can accommodate 20-25 vehicles. There are no picnic tables at this trailhead but there are two benches. Since we were the only ones there when we arrived, I used one of the benches to set up my stove and make some tea before the return leg of our loop.







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