This is a pleasant, not-to-strenuous hike about 10 minutes out of Weaverville. It’s a favorite of mine because it’s a good workout, close to town and pretty. It’s dog-friendly, too.
To get to the trail, take Reems Creek Road to Ox Creek Road. You’ll see a sign for the Blue Ridge Parkway where Ox Creek Road cuts off to the right. Go about 3.7 miles out Ox Creek until you reach a little pull off on the left. Be careful, vehicles come from both directions and you’ll be between curves. The trail head cuts left from the parking area into a few switch backs. You can hear the traffic from the Parkway at first, but not for long.
There are tons of lichens, wildflowers, and birds to be seen, as well as the remains of the aforementioned Rattlesnake Lodge. For the record, I have never seen a snake up there! Just an owl and a few skinks and salamanders. It’s a nice hike during all four seasons, though it’s a root-filled, rocky walk and can be slick when it’s icy or wet.
Now, about that lodge… It was built around the turn of the last century, and used by a family as a weekend retreat until it burned down in 1926 or so. Legend has it that the fellow who built the Lodge would pay $5 for each rattlesnake skin delivered to him, said skins were used to line the ceiling of the main hall. Not my preferred decorating material, but I bet it made interesting conversation.
There are still remains of a stonewalled swimming pool and several structures. Also a spring off to the left once you pass the home site – the trail will cut a sharp right, the spring is in a little cove under a fallen tree on the left. You can make it up to the spring and back to your car in about 90 minutes at a decent pace. And please, let me know if you find a rattlesnake.