Sherri and I
Doughton Park is near Stone Mountain NC and goes to the Blue Ridge parkway and is maintained by the BRP. It has a great trail system but is not very popular. I’m not sure why but yay for us!
We started on the trailhead near the back entrance to Stone Mountain off Longbottom Road. There were a couple cars there. Mainly because its the only backpacking campground in the park. From the parking lot you cross the road and take an old road called Grassey Gap Fire road. It’s nearly 2 miles to a big primitive campground. It had plenty of space and bear boxes and close to Basin Creek but not on it.
Continuing on the trail there is an intersection of 3 trails. We went straight on Basin Creek Trail. The sign said 3.3 miles to Caudill Cabin. It didn’t say 16 creek crossings each way but we knew that! We just had a tropical store dump tons of rain so we were expecting the creeks to be full and fun!
There was a community up this creek that was wiped out by a flood in 1916. There are a number of standing chimneys, part of an old gristmill and the only thing left Caudill Cabin because it was built on the highest part away from the river.
The first chimney is on the left at about 2.5 miles snd was in great shape. It looked to be a tiny cabin. It was just below the Gristmill.
Just past it is an old grindstone lying on the bank of the creek. It’s all that’s left of the Gristmill.
We were deep into the park. Every view around us were so high above us. I made a video of how deep we were.
Then we started creek crossing. All of them were fast. Some were deeper than others. We figured without all the rain we could rock hop but today not one crossing had any rocks to hop! Weird though, it’s mid November and the water wasn’t cold. I don’t usually but this time I brought trekking poles and Definatley needed them.
Up ahead on the left side of the creek is a beautiful 2 tier waterfall. I cannot find a name to it anywhere. Which seams very weird but … It’s at least 25 feet high. The trail doesn’t have a good view and is high above it. A creek walk up would be the way to go but not today the current was way to strong.
A couple more creek crossings and there are 2 chimneys side by side on the right. It looks like they would belong to the same house but not sure why they were so close together.
Sherri and I had a ball navigating all these creek crossings. We learned not to step on the black rocks, they were slick. Most of the rocks were flat and most of the creeks had a blue grey tint. It was just beautiful. There were so many creeks flowing into this one. It was quite a great playground.
There were a couple more chimneys and then a beautiful un named waterfall that looked like it would be a great swimming hole.
After the two more creek crossings it was all uphill to the cabin. We were getting tired. Creek crossings and the excitement had zapped my energy. Then there it was. Just before it was a grassy area which seriously seamed strange. This was our first view of it.
From the cabin we came to the left side it had a 100 above the door and a stick in the lock. We couldn’t open it. We walked around to the other side which had a door with a stick. I pulled the stick out and slowly opened the door half expecting something to jump out. It was a one room cabin with a loft area and a fireplace. They had put a guest book and some pictures, marriage documents and history in there. It was pretty cool. We signed the guestbook and took some pics. From the cabin you can look up to Wildcat Rock overlook on the BRP. I read you could see the cabin 1500 ft below but I’m not sure. The trail ends here. It doesn’t connect to the other trails.
I did a little research and found some interesting history on this community. they were not as isolated as I thought they were. There were about 50 families, a church and a school here.
We went back to the grassy area had lunch and then started our hike out. Did I mention other than at the campground we haven’t seen a soul? Such a great trail with tons of history and no one! We passed one group about half way back.
You can read about it here. https://docsouth.unc.edu/blueridgeparkway/