Patience yields a trail gem


Sometimes that’s the key to exploring a trail. Patience, as in following a trail that isn’t well blazed — or blazed at all. Patience in finding the trailhead. Or patience in even finding clues on the internet that the trail even exists. Thank heaven for friends who somehow found it and hiked it.

At the end of last year, a new hiking friend in my new town of Eden was telling me about trails in the area. Some I’d already hiked, others I’d heard of but had yet to pay a visit. Then there was the trail at Lake Reidsville, which I hadn’t heard of. “I think it’s about 3 miles,” said my friend.

Curiously, the website for the Lake Reidsville Recreation Area was short on details about the multi-use trail. In fact, you had to download a park brochure to learn they even have a trail. The Dan River Basin Association was more helpful; on an interactive map of recreational resources in their coverage zone — the piedmont of southern Virginia and northern North Carolina — I learned that the park has two nature trails and one hiking/biking trail, that the latter “weaves in and out of a disc-golf course, and was lengthened by the Dan River Basin Association in 2020 and 2021. The new section of trail includes boardwalks and bridges along the lakeshore which may provide glimpses of wintering waterfowl.” 

I had a general description of where to find the trailhead, which was unmarked. Still, it took two visits to find. That was half the battle. Keeping the trail was equally challenging: a variety of trails weave through the first quarter mile, none of which are marked. I saw two blazes in 4 miles. But once I got a quarter mile in, patience and perseverance paid off.

For the most part, the trail hugs the shore of Lake Reidsville. A mile in, though, the trail is a series of three strung-together loops. Bear right at each loop intersection and a simple out-and-back becomes a hike out along the lake, a hike back that diverts up to the ridge. There’s a section of mature bottomland hardwoods and lots of hiking through  young, maturing forest. The trail that was added by DRBA in 2020 and 2021 was designed for both foot and bike traffic, as evidenced by sections with subtle berms and banked curves. 

I saw no one on my hike, both blessing and curse. Blessing because who doesn’t like a quiet trail. Curse because the fledgling trail has been used little and in spots appears to be reverting back to nature. The trail needs traffic to survive. 

By the time I got back to the trailhead, I’d clocked 4.3 miles on my GPS. That’s not only the longest trail I’ve found in the tri-city (Reidsville, Eden, Wentworth) area, but worth, oh, say, an hour, hour and a half to hike.

My two contributions to this trail’s future:

  1. I’m working on an eguide for the trail, including map, route description and other pertinent details (like how to find the trailhead). Until then, I’ll point you in the direction of the trailhead: enter the park, at 630 Waterworks Road in Reidsville, and drive to near the end. When you see the lake, you’ll see a camp store on your left, parking on your right. The trailhead is near the picnic shelters across from the parking. A wooden staircase way leads down to a footbridge; continue straight; shortly, go right over another footbridge and continue.
  2. I’m leading a hike on the trail as part of Eden/Rockingham County’s NC Trail Days Weekend Festival April 21-23. The hike will be on Saturday, April 22, at 11 a.m. Learn more and sign up here.

Sign up to join me on April 22. The more hiking feet the merrier

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Year of the Trail

Learn more about the NC Trail Days Weekend Festival in Eden/Rockingham County here.

Learn more about other Year of the Trail events at the Great Trails State Coalition web site here.

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