This blue-blazed trail runs from the upper parking lot area at the Pandapas Day Use Area to the top of the ridgeline. The trail consists of a singletrack with no actual overlooks. While hiking this trail, you'll be under the canopy of the trees, which makes it a good option for hot, sunny days. There is no water access along this particular trail, but the footing is very good with some smaller rocks and a steady uphill grade. It is definitely a well-traveled and maintained trail.
There are quite a few rhododendron plants growing along the trail, and when they are flowering, they make it a very pretty hike. Upon reaching the forest road at the top of the ridgeline, the Horse Nettle Trail turns right onto the forest road. You'll see occasional blue blazes as the dirt/gravel road rolls up and down (mainly up) along the ridge. You'll know that you are nearing the end of the first road section when you see the radio tower on your left.
A few hundred yards past the radio tower will be a "roundabout" parking/camping area with an information board. The Horse Nettle Trail returns to singletrack just to the left of the information board. The trail generally gently goes downhill to its junction with the Snake Root Trail
. To stay on the Horse Nettle Trail, take a left at this junction. This will take you back to the ridgeline dirt/gravel road, and you'll roll up and down (mainly down) to the junction with the Gateway/Old Farm Trail on the left.
Just after this junction the Horse Nettle Trail will turn off the road on the right and turn to singletrack for a hundred yards or so at its terminus with the junction of the Jacobs Ladder Trail
. Taking either the Snake Root Trail
or Jacobs Ladder Trail
will allow you to complete a loop hike back to the Upper Parking Lot via the Poverty Creek Trail
This is a shared trail with mountain bikers and horses. Keep a heads up and the earbuds out to listen for mountain bikers speeding down the hills. When encountering a horse, it is proper etiquette to step off the trail to the downhill side and stop until the horse has passed. Also, be sure to wear bright colors during hunting season (October 1st through the first week of January). And be friendly; say "hi" to other folks out enjoying the forest! And check out the Poverty Creek Trail Coalition on Facebook to see about opportunities to give back and do some trail service!
Rhododendrons, mushrooms, and a tall canopy of trees are what you'll find on this trail.