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    During the summer of 2009 Fred Lashley and Jodie Maney were joined by Caden Brown and several volunteers to begin work on the Bear Pen Trail through Rhododendron Park, 25 acres that were donated to the Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust by Beverly and Hillrie Quin. This trail will cross 1,660 feet (a third of a mile) of often steep and rocky terrain, starting at the upper switchback of Big Bear Pen Road and continuing to Upper Lake Road. Its stone steps and crib walls will create a unique and breathtaking hiking experience.

Installing the Bear Pen CulvertBuilding Trail Over the Colvert

Work began on the trail at Big Bear Pen Road in February, 2009, with the laying of a culvert across a creek, and in May a full bench sidehill trail was begun that required retaining walls, the bottom stones of which were pinned with stainless steel rods to the existing stone ledge. Because of the slope of the ledge, the crib wall varied in height up to 8 feet.

Building the Crib WallHeights Up to 8 Feet

By the end of July the cribbing around the rock ledge was completed, making it possible to transport stone and gravel by the Canycom tracked wheelbarrow and the Yanmar excavator from Bear Pen Road to points more distant along the trail.

Completion of the Initial Cribbed TrailThe Cribbed Trail Looking North

The first 560 feet of this trail will climb by three switchbacks approximately 150 feet through a rock cliff band and will contain over 200 stone steps. At the top of the cliff a bench will be installed under large rhododendrons for a sweeping view of Little Yellow Mountain, Brushy Face, Satulah Mountain, and the Fodderstacks rising behind the town of Highlands.

The Cribbed Trail Looking SouthView of Highlands from the Top

The next 100 feet of trail will be gently graded to cross over a large rock outcropping, which will provide an excellent winter view, and the last 100 feet will descend as many feet in elevation to exit the woods at Upper Lake Road.

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This website is constantly under construction. For more information about the Highlands Plateau Greenway, please Contact us or write to P. O. Box 2608, Highlands, NC 28741.
Last modified on July 24, 2017.