In order to access the Yellow Trail
, hike along the Red Trail
from the Visitor Center. When the Red Trail
comes to Sweetwater Creek, take a left onto the short Red Trail Spur
which will take you to the start of the Yellow Trail
From here, the Yellow Trail
heads upstream to a pedestrian bridge where you'll cross Sweetwater Creek. Once you are over the creek, hike along the trail which now heads downstream. Just past the wooden footbridge, you'll come to a fork in the trail. For a more gradual ascent up to the ridge, turn left and head clockwise around the loop. This section of trail passes through some of the most beautiful hardwood forests in the park. It is also one of the more challenging trails as it has an elevation gain of about 350 feet, and you'll be climbing steadily for about a mile, so pace yourself.
After this climb, you'll enjoy a descent through a ravine on the south side of the loop; be sure to keep an eye open for the large rock overhang on the left. Archaeologists estimate that Native Americans used this as a shelter for several thousand years. Please do not climb on the slope or rocks in this area.
The trail will level out as it leaves the ravine, and you'll enjoy hiking through many dense stands of mountain laurel (come in the spring to see them in bloom). Also, keep an eye open for the extraction pits where the bricks for the New Manchester Mill were made in the late 1840s. You can see them best from the trail in the winter.
Mountain laurel and hardwoods.