Cross Roads Trail
Trail length: 0.2 miles
From Visitors Center via S. Loop Road: 0.65 miles
From Visitors Center via N. Loop Road: 0.7 miles
Round Trip via S. Loop Road: 1.55 miles
The Cross Roads Trail links the North and South Forest Loop Roads. Starting at its intersection with the Cemetery Ridge Trail along the South Forest Loop Road, the trail is relatively flat which makes for easy walking. Initially, the trail passes through relatively young forest with many fallen pines that were killed by the southern pine bark beetle several years ago. The presence of these pines speaks to past land use when the area had been cleared for pasture. Red maples and sourwood are among the more conspicuous members of the forest cover.
Approximately one-third of the way long this short trail, it intersects with the expanded Backwoods Trail. Two benches provide a quiet resting spot where one can sit and absorb the serene forest setting and enjoy both plant and animal life. At this intersection, walkers can turn south along the new section of the Backwoods Trail which eventually meets the North Forest Loop Road, turn north to access the older section of the Backwoods Trail, or proceed west along the Cross Roads Trail. The terrain gradually steepens for a short distance through a section of forest that is relatively open. Maples, sourwoods, oaks, and hickories are prominent members of this forest community.
As one approaches the trail's end, where it joins the North Forest Loop Road, the terrain levels out and the walking is easy. There is also a bench located at this intersection. Turning south on the North Forest Loop Road, walkers can return to the Visitors Center via the Marsh Area. A north turn along the road quickly leads to an intersection with the Lost Chestnut Trail.