ERWIN, Tenn. (WJHL) — Finishing around four miles, Bays Mountain’s newest trail is now the longest linear trail in the park and is welcoming both hikers and mountain bikers.
What is now being called The Legacy Trail, connects multiple different trails across the park and can be accessed from the Chestnut, Indian Pipes or Azalea Trail.
Putting in a new trail is no easy feat. Megan Krager, Senior Naturalist with Bays Mountain, said crews have to use specialized equipment to accomplish the task.
“Use a machine in order to create this particular trail,” Krager said. “If you look down here, what the machine will do is it’ll take this duff area and push it off to the side to get down to the soil for the substrate so that you have a decent surface to work with.”
Before the machines come in to remove the duff though, the trail has to be mapped out.
“There’s a lot of flagging that goes on, and what happens is that we get an idea and we look at the contour of the land to figure out where the trail can go, and then we’ll start flagging every so many feet,” Krager said. “And then what happens, is that a few weeks later, we’ll come back to that flagging. We’ll take a step back to say, ‘do we really like that pattern?’, ‘do we really like the flow?’ We’ll move the flags a little bit more until we come up to a trail or something that looks like it could be a trail that we’re happy with. And it does take a little bit of time in that prepping stage, in order to figure out where and how we want the trail to be developed before we get the machinery out here at the park.”
If you want to head to the park and check out the new trail, be aware that it is not yet on their official park map. So to help, News Channel 11’s graphics team made a rendering of what that trail could look like once it’s added to the map. You can see that in the video below.
The trail is full of twists and curves, which may strike some as strange.
“By having some turns and curves, it provides an interesting feeling on the trail, but you’re actually utilizing what the ground is actually providing you,” Krager said.
While hiking in the park, you won’t be alone. Deer, squirrels, turkeys and some bears are all local residents of the park.