Old Hickory, TN
Explorer | 36 pts
This was my 11 year old daughters first backpacking trip so we did this trail as an overnighter. We stayed overnight June 27, parking at Temple Hill and hiking in the 1.4 miles to Campsite B. This was a good first hike for kids. It is a little tricky as some parts have a ledge, but we didn't have any issues. The area was very wet as it had been raining earlier in the week and the canopy doesn't allow sun in to dry everything, despite it being in the high 80-90's. However, with the shade, we didn't need sunglasses and it did provide a lot of relief from the heat! You will need bug spray, but the worst were the horse flies. We wore trail running shoes and were fine for footing, but did sink a little in mud at a couple spots. Once at the campsite, I planned to build a fire and cook from that, but at the last minute packed my stove, just in case. Good thing I did because it was very hard to find dry kindling or wood! A quick review of the two campsites A & B. Both had a fire pit, post to hang packs or other items and square area to pitch a tent (I used a different area because our was holding water and had some widow makers). I actually prefer B because it is more open, meaning I can see 50 to 100 yards in many directions. If you have horses, there are 3 posts to tie them off as well. There is also a better view of the lake and you can easily hike down to the lake (30 yards). Campsite A is more secluded and more dense brush surrounding it, not allowing for much viewing around you (10-20 yards max). It also is harder to get to the lake as you are higher up. The one neat point of interest is there is a bridge to cross and a beaver dam near it. I am glad we choose Campsite B and will for future hikes. There were a pack of coyotes that woke us up a couple times during the night with their howling and barking and the fish surfacing to eat all night. Once the coyotes howled the fist time, the owls started their hooting. It was a pretty cool experience. I am a light sleeper so both these woke me up a few times. If you bring a fishing pole, there are some big fish in the lake, but couldn't tell what they were. I am guessing bass. The lake is very shallow and I think some of the splashing were the fish going after the smaller ones and getting stuck in the shallow water. They fed heavily until about 8 PM and was more sporadic afterwards. We saw some deer, including a fawn, turkey, a frog, fish, beaver dam, cranes and ducks, and something swimming in the lake at dusk that was either a snake or a small beaver. This is a great hike for a quick get away or to take kids to have them experience their first backpacking experience. We did not hike the entire trail, but the park ranger told us the rest of the trail was pretty sloppy when we made our reservation.