Hike Daniel’s Mountain to see a rare old-growth Piedmont Longleaf Pine habitat
Primary Route: Hike up Daniel’s Mountain from the Cotton Place Road trailhead
Hiking Distance: ~1.5 miles
Elevation Gain: Unknown
Trailhead: From the Eldorado Outpost on NC 109, head south. Take the first right onto Reservation Road. Take the first right onto Moccasin Creek (US Forest Service Road 576). Take the first right onto US Forest Service Road 555. After about 1 mile the Cotton Place trailhead will be on your right.
Hiking Directions: Starting from the Cotton Place trailhead, be sure to take the hiking trail (not the OHV trail, which is steeper). Proceed up the trail approximately 0.75 miles to reach the montane longleaf pine habitat.
Additional Information: A walking stick or trekking poles are recommended as this trail is relatively steep. The Arnett Branch Longleaf Pine Forest is a property the LandTrust purchased and transferred to the NC Zoo to preserve. It contains the largest stand of old growth Piedmont Longleaf Pine that we are aware of in North Carolina (some trees are over 300 years old), and the trees have been boxed and show catfaces from historic use for creating turpentine. Longleaf pines once covered 90 million acres and now are down to only 3% of their historic area, with much of that being restored and young forest. This site is one of only a few we know of in the North Carolina Piedmont with historic old growth longleaf, home to a variety of unique species. Longleaf pine forests are the most diverse habitats found outside of the tropics. Click here for more information about preserving this tract.