I don’t know why Nate remains my friend or is ready to hike anytime I say. He never asks where or how far, his answer is always “let’s go”. It’s great to have a friend like Nate and I miss that here in Texas. I have put that guy through hell and back not the least of was our trip to Doughton Park. Doughton Park is the largest recreation area on the Blue Ridge Parkway and is just west of Stone Mountain. I got up early one morning and grabbed Nate for a heck of a hike, from the Doughton Park trailhead on Longbottom Road, up the mountains and around Doughton Park returning on the Primitive Trail to the Grassy Gap Fire Road back to the car.
A little history of Doughton Park… there was once a community there called Basin Cove which stood roughly where the primitive campground is today. In 1916 a devastating flood roared down Basin Creek and demolished everything in it’s path except the Caudill Cabin which still stands today. That cabin is 3.5 miles up Basin Creek so I put it on the bucket list
Today we are here for the granddaddy of hikes around Doughton Park.
Doughton Park was first established as a maintenance area. Soon the Bluffs Service Station and Restaurant were built the first stop of it’s kind on the Parkway. Although closed when we hiked here the restaurant reopened in 2020. There is also a lodge,(closed) and a large campground and picnic area.
We started the hike on the Cedar Ridge Trail a grueling four and a half mile uphill trek of 2000 feet in elevation gain. This brought us to the Brinegar Cabin.
“The farther one gets into the wilderness, the greater is the attraction of its lonely freedom.”Theodore Roosevelt
Who are the Brinegars…..Martin Brinegar purchased the farm in 1876. Although he had died of pneumonia ten years earlier, his wife still lived in the cabin in 1935 when the property was purchased for the new Parkway. Mrs. Brinegar was given a lifetime lease but as traffic picked up on the Parkway she chose to go live with her daughter.
I had originally planned a hike of about 14 miles but Nate began to get sore feet while we were on the Bluff Mountain Trail hiking near the Parkway. So we decided to shorten the miles by taking the Bluff Ridge Primitive Trail back to Basin Cove. Here we caught the Grassy Gap Fire Road back to Longbottom Road and the car.