Turkey Pen Hiking Loop: If you’re really up for a challenging loop, then this hike won’t disappoint – and it’s certainly not for the novice hiker. The initial climb out of the parking lot on Turkey Pen Trail heads straight up Sharpy Mountain for approximately 2 to 2.5 miles: Straight. Up. After descending down the back side of Sharpy, take a right onto Wagon Gap Road trail. This is often overgrown, muddy, and seldom used – but it winds down towards the river through dog hobble and pine forests. Take a right onto S. Mills River Trail, and follow it back to the parking lot to complete the loop. After the climb up Sharpy, S. Mills River Trail is a welcome flat and easy road bed that parallels the river before taking a right to head uphill to the parking area. There is plenty of water along the way, and the river to play in, so this is a great hike for dogs with decent endurance. Definitely take a map and know how to read your trail blazes for this one, cause Turkey Pen is an area known for confusing hikers.
Directions from Brevard: From downtown, take NC-280 East towards Asheville. After passing the intersection for the main entrance to Pisgah National Forest, continue on 280 for approximately 5.8 miles to a left onto Turkey Pen Road. The road is gravel, and is often quite rutted, so super low clearance vehicles might have trouble depending on the current road condition. Follow the gravel for about 1.2 miles to the parking lot at the end. The trail starts up the steps to the left of the parking lot.