The Daniel Ridge Loop Trail is a really nice 4 mile loop that will take you along the Davidson River, past some nice smaller cascades and waterfalls, along a section of Right Fork and through a variety of forest ecosystems. The trail is moderate in difficulty depending on your abilities of course. To access the trail, go to the parking for Toms Spring Falls (Daniel Ridge Falls), walk past the gate and over the bridge. Look for the carsonite sign indicating the trail head on the left just past some of the primitive camping spots along the river.
The red blazed trail is easy to begin with and follows the Davidson River up stream passing several more nice camping sites. Watch out for mountain bikes in here and all along the trail! About 1/4 mile in, the trail was rerouted a few years back and heads down a bit to the left, then back up to the right to pick up the old logging road. A short distance after the stairs, the trail splits. The red blazed main trail heads to the right or straight, but you can also take the smaller trail to the left which brings you closer to river level. The trail is easy to follow and is usually in fairly good shape. It passes the site of the old fish hatchery, several cascades and nice swimming holes, and a couple of primitive camp sites. This lesser trail parallels the main trail and will connect back to the main trail after a couple of campsites right next to the river and the 25-30' cascade in the above photo. Below aresome of the cascades along this section of the river. To see them up close requires some scrambling down the river banks.
Scramble back up to the main trail and soon after the trail bears right. The first thing you'll see is a washed out bridge over Right Fork. The trail on the other side of that continues following the river for a ways, but the red blazed main trail heads up Right Fork. Right Fork is a beautiful stream and you'll pass several more cascades on your way up. Just past the washed out bridge is this nice 15' falls pictured below.
The trail continues at moderate incline with nice views of Right Fork, then at a total of about 2 miles from the parking area, turns sharply to the right to start the other half of the loop. The Farlow Gap Trail comes in from the left at this point which will take you towards Shuck Ridge Creek Falls. The remainder of the Daniel Ridge loop hike is through mixed hardwood forest, rhododendron and mountain laurel. Towards the end of the hike, the trail follows the stream above Daniel Ridge Falls, passes the top of the waterfall, then descends to the old road leading from the parking area to the waterfall. At this point, turn left to see the waterfall or right to head back to your vehicle.
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