The forest that surrounds Piney River is a dense patch with lots of vegetation and vibrant species of trees. From pines to oak trees, the unique and colorful forests provides lots of shade over the glistening water of the river. Following along the river is the Piney River Nature Trail, which has a rural path that provides views of the river, rock formations, and wildlife with a rocky and dirt terrain.
Anyone looking to start this 10-mile hike will need to park at the Piney River Trailhead, where they can learn information about the trail at the kiosk, enjoy a well-maintained picnic area, and have plenty of space to park at. Pups can also relax and enjoy some water at the picnic area before heading out, which will be a good idea since neither the trailhead nor the trail offers amenities.
Starting off, you'll immediately be met with the sounds of the roaring Piney River that flows along the northern side of the trail, with additional sounds from birds, squirrels, and other wildlife that lives among the rustling trees. With rocks and dirt being part of the main construct of the path, it can get a little slippery and muddy thanks to the river. The first major landmark you'll come across is the remnants of an old rockslide, which creates a 15-foot wall of packed rocks and boulders along the trail.
Shortly after the old landslide and after 4 miles of hiking, you'll come across the Piney River suspension bridge, which spans over 100 feet over the river to reach the northern shore. There are plenty of photographic areas, including wildflowers during the summer months. After the bridge, you'll follow close along the river and find small pools of fresh water that you and Fido can swim in to cool down or fish in.
After a mile and half of this, you'll come across the Rockhouse Branch Campsite, an old logging camp that offers campsites to use as long as you register over the phone or fill out a form. Campsites are dog-friendly if you want to stop here, but if not, you'll continue along a branch of trail that leaves the river and follows along Duskin Creek. The creek has plenty of bluffs and overlooks along the easy inclining path that ends at the Newby Branch Trailhead. The trailhead is more rural, with a dirt and gravel parking lot surrounded by trees.
The views of the area will leave you and Fido feeling breathless, and with the number of things to do, this hike can provide multiple days of fun and adventure.
Since the trail follows along the river, the trail can get pretty muddy and covered in ice during the winter months. Throughout the trail, there are drop offs, so watch your footing. The summer can bring lots of rain, and flash flooding can be a problem along the trail, so watch out for weather reports before going.