Lost Chestnut Trail and Sinkhole Crest Spur
Lost Chestnut Trail length: 0.3 miles
From Visitors Center to trail: 0.4 mile
Sinkhole Crest Spur length: 0.05 miles
Round Trip: .7 miles
The entrance to the trail and spur is via the Oak-Hickory Trail entrance off Valley Road, just above the Visitors Center. The Lost Chestnut Trail makes a loop above the Oak Hickory Trail, starting at a kiosk about half way along the Oak-Hickory Trail. This trail was originally developed to provide an opportunity for visitors to observe surviving traces of the once abundant and majestic American chestnut tree. The only reminders of this once magnificent forest tree were old decaying stumps and logs. Today, even these remnants have disappeared. Although the types of trees along this trail are similar to those of the Oak-Hickory Trail, large chestnut oak trees are conspicuous dominants. The trail passes along the edges of several sinkholes, which can be viewed more closely on the Sinkhole Crest Spur Trail. The Lost Chestnut loop ends at the kiosk where walkers can rejoin the Oak-Hickory Trail and return to Valley Road. The Dwarf Conifer Collection is along the route back to the Visitors Center.
The Sinkhole Crest Spur is accessed from either the north or south sections of the Lost Chestnut Trail. This 0.5 mile trail is fairly level and skirts the upper rims of two sinkholes - a third one can be seen upslope. Sinkholes are common geological features in areas underlain by limestone. Over time, rainwater dissolves the rock to form underground caverns, which may eventually collapse, leaving behind a depression known as a sinkhole. Forest composition along the Spur is similar to that present along the Lost Chestnut Trail, with chestnut oak and white oak being major dominants. An interesting lightning strike can be seen on a white oak tree just above the southern entrance to the Spur on the Lost Chestnut Trail.