OK, there’s no disputing that a big plus for the 2.8-mile Sal’s Branch Trail is that it begins and ends at the Umstead State Park Visitor Center, which has a restroom. But the chance to make a pit stop before and after the hike isn’t the only thing in this trail’s favor.
For starters, it’s easy to get to, located about a mile down the park entrance road off Glenwood Avenue. There’s plenty of parking (especially if you know about the gravel lot behind the Visitor Center). And the trail, blazed Orange, is easy to follow. And then there’s the trail itself, meandering over rolling terrain, no climb too steep, no descent too taxing on the knees. The forest here is young, with good sightlines, especially in winter. There’s a visit to Big Lake about three-quarters of the way through, and before you know it, you’re back at the Visitor Center.
At 2.8 miles, it’s a good length for the experienced hiker with time constraints as well as the beginner looking to test herself on a nearly 3-mile trail.
Our guide gives you all the information you need to hike this trail, including a map, detailed hike description, logistics (including directions to the trailhead), a video tour, and an overview of the hike.