Rice Pinnacle/Ledford Loop

Posted By on September 23, 2020

Rice Pinnacle/Ledford Loop

5.7 miles; Asheville, NC

This is a pleasant little walk through the Bent Creek Experimental Forest. Mostly on gravel forest roads and heavily trafficked by mountain bikers. So many mountain bikers!

Unlike most hikes in Western North Carolina, this one didn’t have any waterfalls or spectacular views. And astonishingly, very little total elevation gain, about 11 feet. A real easy-peasy walk for me today!


There were tons and tons of interpretive signs all along this walk. This forest is a teaching and experimental forest, so you see signs about how some sections were clear-cut and when, and what kind of trees to look for and their significance to the forest ecology. I’d say reading all the plaques added prolly 30 extra minutes to this hike. Also, “The Irregular Shelterwoods” was my college band’s name.

Moar signage

This is also a National forest, so there were also the expected trail signs.


This really was a day for asters, as you would expect for late September. They were everywhere, and so many different kinds. These are Hairy White Oldfield Aster (Symphyotrichum pilosum).

Hikes with Bathrooms (a continuing series)

About 3/4s of the way through (walking the loop counter-clockwise), you come up to a trailhead and yet more signage and a nice composting toilet. Love me a hike with a bathroom break!

From here, I left the forest road and picked up a nice little woodland track through the woods just beyond the bathroom to get back to my car. This trail was labelled the Deer Lake Lodge Trail. Didn’t actually see a lake. Or a lodge. Or, for that matter, any deer. Just another mountain biker.


I did see a pretty little bunch of these non-chlorophyll producing plants. They are, as you might guess, related to Indian Pipes, and like them, they get their nutrients from tree roots via a fungal network.

You can find out more about the Bent Creek Experimental Forest and download a trail map from this USDA website. As always, click the image above for details about this hike and to download the gps track.


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