Woodland Pond and Longleaf
Sandhills National Wildlife Refuge
Geographic Location: northeast of
Length: 1.3 miles
Difficulty: 1/10 (Easy)
Last Hiked: March 2014
Overview: A pair of short nature trails offering a good introduction to sandhill habitats.
Park Information: https://www.fws.gov/refuge/Carolina_Sandhills/
Hike Route Map: http://www.mappedometer.com/?maproute=268579
Directions to the trailhead: From the intersection of US 1 and SR 151 in McBee, drive US 1 north 3.5 miles to the signed refuge entrance on the left. Turn left to enter the refuge. Take the refuge’s Wildlife Drive 1.1 miles to a sandy parking area on the left that you reach immediately after passing Pool A. Park here.
The hike: For my general comments on Carolina Sandhills National Wildlife Refuge, see the previous hike. This hike explores four of the sandhills’ major habitats: freshwater pond, freshwater stream, loblolly pine, and longleaf pine. Due to its short length, this hike provides a good sandhills introduction before tackling one of the area’s more substantial trails.
|Trailhead: Woodland Pond Trail|
The Woodland Pond Trail leaves the rear of the parking area at an information kiosk. A metal dispenser at the trailhead may contain some trail guides. The Woodland Pond Trail is marked with white paint blazes, and unlike some other trails in the refuge, you may need the blazes here: this path can be hard to find on the ground at times.
At 0.1 miles, the trail curves left and crosses one of Pool A’s feeder streams on a nice metal bridge with plastic-plank decking. Notice how the clarity of the water allows you to clearly see the sandy stream bottom. For the next 0.4 miles the trail stays near the boundary between brushy pondside habitat on the left and dry loblolly pine habitat on the right. Despite the trail’s name, Pool A comes into view only occasionally due to the dense understory.
The trail increases its distance from the pond and crosses a couple more nice bridges including a long one at 0.7 miles. After crossing an old sandy road, the trail ends on the west shoulder of
Drive at 0.9 miles. You could walk back up the road to your car
now, but directly across the road lies the 0.25 mile Longleaf Pine Trail. Considering you are already at the trailhead,
why not take 10 minutes and add the Longleaf Pine Trail to your resume?
|The Mathprofhiker's shadow on Longleaf Pine Trail|
Starting at another information kiosk, the Longleaf Pine Trail is a short interpretive loop through the refuge’s longleaf pine with wiregrass understory habitat. Notice how these longleaf pine trees differ from the loblolly pines you saw near the pond. Interpretive signs give information about the flora and fauna of the longleaf pine/wiregrass habitat. The trail completes its loop as an old logging road comes into view downhill to the right, and you soon arrive back at the Longleaf Pine Trail trailhead. NOW is the time to turn right on the
Drive and walk back past Pool A to return to your
car and complete the hike.