Pine Loop

Most who use this trail, and all first-time visitors to the park’s trail system, will experience the true meaning of the “hills o’ Brown!”  Immediately upon leaving the trailhead, one traverses across a steep hill, the best way for foot or bike traffic to handle any ascent.  Further on, with some up and down on moderate terrain, the trail crosses two bridges and proceeds through a Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) pine plantation.  Pines like these were planted on the property during the CCC era, 1932-1937.  If possible, take time to enjoy the different sights and smells as you proceed through this diverse plant community.  Notice the way pine branches overhead effectively shade out the sun, thus limiting the herbal layer and forest floor growth.  Pine age can be estimated by counting the whorls of branches, one whorl per year, from bottom to top.  The height the pine grew each year can also be determined by examining the distance between the whorls.

For the mountain biker, Pine Loop is an excellent trail for a beginner and for kids.  It’s also a great warm-up for more experienced riders.  The trail enters the woods through the tall grass visible from the southwest corner of the parking lot and gently climbs though the pines and crosses small streams until it intersects with the North Gate Trail.  At the intersection go left past the Upper Shelter on your right to return to the parking lot; go right to continue on the North Gate trail to the North Tower Loop.

Begins: North Gate parking lot - past the gatehouse and pool on the right
Distance: 1.66 miles
Hiking: Easy
Hiking Time: 50 minutes
Biking: Beginner
Elevation Gain: 77 ft
Look for: pine forest, stream crossings, maidenhair fern
Intersects with North Tower Connector trail at mile 1.31.  Bridges at .20, .25, .26, 1.07