Location: The Jordan Lake New Hope Park can be reached via US 1, exit 81 at Pea Ridge road (head west after you exit) or via US 64 on the east side of the lake, by heading south on Beaver Creek and then taking a right on to Pea Ridge. Pass through the gate and take the 1st right towards the boat ramp. The trail head is at the beginning of the parking area on the far left.
Distance: 3-6 miles (two different loops, plus the out and backs to the primitive camp sites)
Difficulty: moderate to strenuous (there are a couple tough hills for this area, that make it seem a bit mountainous)
(The GPS tracker I am using tends to underestimate mileage on these kinds of trails, so the mileage on the map above is slightly off.)
Description: New Hope is my favorite hiking destination in Chatham County. It can be quite mountainous and is often secluded — it is rare that I see more than 1 or 2 other people out there, and typically I see none. (Though that can be said for many of the trails I plan on reviewing!)
About 100 meters from the trail head the trail splits. If you stay left, you start off on a tough little hill before settling into some easier running. After crossing a couple of gravel roads, you can take the out and back to primitive camp site B, or continue on. If you stay right at the beginning, you reach an inlet where you sometimes can catch beavers playing — look closely and you will see their den. Keep going and you will find a short 50 meter branch to a bench that overlooks the largest part of Jordan Lake. You can see all the boaters here on nice days.
The two trails form a bit of a figure 8, so whichever way you go, there is an option near the middle to cut back to the trail head.
If you take the trail up to primitive camp site B you reach a parking lot. From there you can get in another 1000 meters or so by running all the way down to the lastcamp site (where I have backpacked to before). I don’t have that shown on the GPS track but will add it when I have the time to complete the entire trail.
Note: This area has an “unofficial” but maintained grassy/gravel road to the Jordan Lake dam area. As you go up the gravel roads towards camp site B you can follow the grassy road towards the dam. And from there it loops back out towards Pea Ridge Road. I’ll include another map that shows that road, and while it doesn’t show an actual connection to the dam area, it would not be hard to trek it… This may get a bit long for most people for a hike but I have ridden a mountain bike on it.
Just one, of the marque at the trail head showing the map: