Rae Smith

This was absolutely gorgeous, especially in the fall. The people at the mill are very nice (there was a blacksmith) and the restaurant was good and had ice cream (I believe it may have been a local brand) and an interesting gift shop. There was a decent wait to eat so we explored while we waited.

This was an enjoyable hike, I highly recommend NOT exploring any of the caves because after doing the hike I found that the preserve is known to have sinkholes underneath part of the property (see nature.org). I don't think I will go back again for that reason and I'll point out there is not signage on the property that says so which doesn't seem right to me.

This is an absolutely GORGEOUS hike with 360 views, but with that said the driveway in nearly gave me a panic attack and I will never go there again for that reason. It is barely wide enough for 2 vehicles, it's gravel and terribly bumpy, and it is on the side of a cliff so it would be possible to tip off of it ... It might not seem as terrible if you go at a time of day with low traffic, but we had to pull as far over as we could to let cars go by many times and it was clearly nerve-wracking to me.

This hike is probably my absolute favorite, it was actually my first hike ever. I have done it at least 3 times. Be careful when turning into the parking lot because at times there has been a bump or drop (can't remember) that isn't too friendly on your suspension.

We hiked past Blue Suck Falls to the Tuscarora Overlook. This is a trail that requires you to follow the written instructions given with the map on the website. (The trail markers are just "continue straight" which I personally find annoying, there were only a few different colors, while there are many different trails. I assume this is because it was at a state park with a trail system, but it is still harder to follow.) The overlook was beautiful, but the trees/plants behind the fence have grown up quite a bit so my pictures don't look nearly as good as the ones on this site. The trails were not as maintained as I would have expected, there was a LOT of plant growth over the trail and a number of large fallen trees no one had done anything with. There is an area near the start of the trail with a manmade waterfall that is nice to sit at after hiking. Also the park had portapotties which is always good to know.

I did this hike when I was very out of shape and I fully expected to struggle, but it was honestly short enough that I was tempted to go back around and hike the loop again (didn't haha). I hiked it in May and the waterfall looked pretty strong, but it has been very rainy this spring. Would definitely recommend this hike for sometime when you don't have a lot of time or are not in your best shape.