Rattlesnake Lodge Trail

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.

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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.

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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.IMG_6631

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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.