Greenbrier National Park- Black Bear Trail (sans bears)

Visitors to the Greenbrier National Forest will find almost a dozen hikes less than 4 miles return (that’s less than 2 hours to young(ish), healthy legs), and almost no competition for parking spaces. For some reason this amazing place is half deserted, even on one of the loveliest Tuesdays Greenbrier county has seen this spring.

Barley by my side, I chose the Old Roads Trail, then forked off onto the Black Bear Trail, described by the brochure as such: “The trail passes through two hollows with a gentle climb in elevation.” This sounded perfect! First of all I have to say that I’m in love with hollows, or more accurately “hollers” so I was already swayed. Second of all, the idea of only a “gentle climb” sounded appearling. Gentle? HA! To be fair, it’s possible with the intersecting of all the trails out there that the BBT is legitimately gentle, but what about the two big hills on either end of it? The trail itself was absolutely beautiful, hollers and all. The path clings to the side of the mountains, winding in and out, back and forth, and is clear enough of rocks and sticks to allow you to actually look up at the beauty around you for most of the walk. This

After completing the BBT (2 miles) you have the option of turning onto Old Field Trail (another 1.6 miles) or heading back to the main road. I wanted to time myself, so I chose the latter. It’s a bit awkward walking back along the narrow road, but as I said, there weren’t too many visitors and I prefer looping to doubling back. Many of the trails intersect with one another, so you could easily create-your-own-adventure, so to speak, if you wanted a longer hike.

Sadly I didn’t bring my camera because the trail description suggested the entire trip might take as long as 3 hours, but since it only took just over an hour and was one of my favorite short hikes ever, I’ll be sure to bring it next time. It’s the perfect cool, woodsy trail for escaping from the summer heat. Maybe next time I’ll see some bears!

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