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The Channel Cat trail is a 1.78 mile moderate trail. It is one of the newest trails in the park. On this loop trail, which is accessible from many points on the campground side of the park, we have placed a series of signs to acquaint you with the Park's unique environment.The section of Channel Cat Trail along the lake provides information on fish species and fishing techniques, and the conservation practices employed to maintain our forty acre recreational resource.The section from the CMT parking lot southward to the Beach parking lot interprets for you how a forest grows in Virginia's piedmont, so that you can "see the forest for the trees"A third section from the CMT parking lot northward back to the Lake spillway is for your own reflections on the wonders of nature.These sections can be walked in either direction, one part at a time, or as a loop to bring you full circle.The entire loop is just under two miles in length, and the trail is of moderate difficulty rating. There are some shallow creek crossings and unlevel terrain, but no steep inclines.
Blaze Color: Green
Coyote Trail is a .07 mile wheelchair accessible trail located between Cabin #12 (2 bedrooms) and the Lodge (cabin #13 - 6 bedrooms). One may access Lost Barr Loop at the end of Coyote Trail and a fishing platform just by the lakes edge. Benches at the fishing platforms are also an excellent way to sit and enjoy the beauty of Bear Creek Lake.
Blaze Color: Gold
This 14-mile loop trail weaves through the 16,233 acre Cumberland State Forest and Bear Creek Lake State Park. Trail heads are located at the Cumberland Forestry Center and Bear Creek Lake State Park. While hunting is not permitted inside the park, when outside of the park trail users are advised to wear blaze orange during the hunting season. Those interested in riding horses or mountain bikes in Cumberland State Forest must obtain a State Forest Use Permit; call (804) 492-4121 for details. State law requires that visitors carry a copy of a negative Coggins report with each horse brought to the park.
Blaze Color: Lt. Blue
Kestrel is one of the shorter trails in the Bear Creek Lake S.P. trail system, covering only .16 of a mile, but it has a big heart. This trail connects Channel Cat Loop to Lakeside Trail at the long bridge over Little Bear Creek. Kestrel then continues to connect with the Willis River Trail, where it ends. Kestrel Trail is linear, and does not loop back into the Park. It is a beautiful trail that rises and falls quickly, like the bird it is named after.
Blaze Color: Red
Lakeside Trail is a 1.5 mile moderate trail that is accessible form the concession/picnic area and also from the Lost Barr Trail. It mainly passes around the southern headwaters of the lake, connecting the cabin area and the beach area. Like most other trails here, this one is fairly flat. Hikers should use caution however, as in some places the trail can be narrow and close to the lake. This trail also provides access to the Quail Ridge and Cumberland Multi Use Trails. Hikers should keep their eyes open for the large beaver dam that can be seen from Little Bear Creek. Keep a look out for frogs and aquatic turtles while on this trail.
Blaze Color: Orange
Lost Barr Loop is a 1.73 mile trail easily accessible to cabin guests. Hikers may also access Lakeside Trail from the Lost Barr Loop. This trail passes through a hardwood forest & along the edge of the lake. This trail has a moderate difficulty rating. Hiking through the forested sections of this trail reminds one why the Piedmont region of Virginia is one of the most beautiful.
Otter Trail is a .16 mile wheelchair accessible trail which is located off of Kingfisher Road and next to the driveway entrance to cabins 4 & 5. One may access Lost Barr Loop at the end of this trail which is by the lake and if you look slightly to your right there is a fishing platform.
Blaze Color: Pink
The Quail Ridge Trail is a .4 mile moderate hiking trail that is accessible near where the Lakeside Trail crosses a long bridge. The trail takes hikers up a slight incline through the forest and out of the park. At the end of the trail hikers must turn around and return to the Lakeside Trail.
Blaze Color: Yellow
The Running Cedar Trail is a .25 mile moderate trail that is accessible across the park road from Campground C. It features some elevation change as it winds through a ravine which eventually levels out and soon after becomes the Channel Cat Interpretive Trail. On the trail you may find many different hardwood trees as well as examples of Sassafras, Tulip Poplar, and the Paw Paw.
Blaze Color: Blue
The Willis River Trail is a 16 mile trail that exits the park and passes through the Cumberland State Forest where it intersects the Cumberland Multi-use Trail. An excellent loop hike of about 3 miles length is possible by taking the Lakeside Trail to the Willis River Trail then the Willis River Trail to the Cumberland Multi-use Trail, and upon returning to the park, using the Channel Cat Interp. Trail to return to the parking area. While traveling through the forest, you will observe several different and unique environments. Oak-hickory forests, stands of Loblolly Pine, and harvested areas attract many different forms of wildlife. White-tailed deer, wild turkey and bobcats are common residents of this productive natural resource.
Blaze Color: White
The Swinging Bridge - Not far from Bear Creek Lake State Park is one of two swinging bridges that cross the Willis River. Both are within the Cumberland State Forest, managed by the VA Department of Forestry. Dating from the 1970's, the bridges have been local landmarks ever since. The bridge at the northern end of the Forest is located off of Warner Forest Road. The bridge closest to the park (2 miles) is at the end of Arrowhead Forest Road. It is accessible by vehicle, or as a hike along the Cumberland Multi-Use Trail or Rt. 629, Oak Hill Road.
Other Activities At Bear Creek Lake State Park: Biking, Horseback Riding, Boating and Water Sports, Camping, Educational Activities, Fishing, Hunting, Picnicking, Swimming, Gifts and Shopping, Canoeing and Kayaking, Wildlife Activities and Cabins and Lodges
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