Where: Bear Creek Area, Town of Robbins
Distance: 4.3+/- miles of unique trail
The Town of Robbins in northern Moore County truly has a hidden gem of around 4.3 miles of hiking trail along the Bear Creek area. They have also opened a public canoe access on Bear Creek at the NC Hwy 705 bridge, and according to information posted in kiosk, are working on a 12 hole disc golf course.
When I say hidden, I mean it. The parking lot is at an old water plant which is down a narrow road and across some railroad tracks. There is parking for 5-6 vehicles max. A picnic table and a trail kiosk will let you know you are in the right place.
From the parking lot, the trail will immediately drop down and hug the surprisingly steep banks of Bear Creek for 0.25 miles before climbing out along a dirt road. If you head back to the left on the dirt road, the trail will loop right back to the water plant which is the shortest loop on the trail system, measuring at just under 0.5 miles. Turn to the right to stay on the Bear Creek Trail.
You will quickly notice a dam on Bear Creek to the right of the trail. Drop down the hill and explore if you feel so inclined.
Continuing on down the dirt road, you will cross a concrete spillway where Cabin Creek empties into Bear Creek. If you follow the dirt road another 1/10th of a mile it will terminate at the Charlie B. Brooks Reservoir. From here, there is a 0.8 mile trail around the perimeter of the water.
If you continue along the Bear Creek Trail into the woods, the trail will will continue to wind along the banks of Bear Creek, passing one of the largest pine trees I have seen in the area.
Near a bend in Bear Creek, the banks get surprisingly steep. Tread carefully through this section, as you will literally be hiking just 5-6 feet above the water.
The trail will cross a small creek and then begin a steep climb to a trail kiosk, appropriately named the “Hilltop Kiosk”. This is the Bear Creek Trail loop intersection, so it doesn’t matter if you proceed right or left from here, you will end back up at this point at the end of the loop. I chose to go right and stay along the creek.
It won’t come as a shock to you after climbing that last hill, but you will be able to look back down at the creek from the ridge line, I estimate 50-75 feet below. Quite impressive bluffs for this area. I took a few snapshots from the top of the bluff, but I didn’t include it here as it really doesn’t do it justice.
Around 0.2 miles from the Hilltop Kiosk, the Running Cedar trail will turn to the left. If you continue on the Bear Creek Trail, you will soon approach Buzzard Rock. The trail splits just prior to reaching the rock, to give you the option to see the rock from the top or bottom. The trails will join back up just past the rock.
Not far past Buzzard Rock, the trail will split again. Bear Creek trail will continue to the right, and the Buzzard Rock loop trail will proceed from the left. Again, no matter which way you go, all trails will eventually loop back to the Hilltop Kiosk. Although this may sound confusing, all trails are very will marked by colored blazes and strategicly placed kiosk.
Visit the Foothills Outdoors webpage for more information in this area.