208 - Northwest Horse and Wagon Trail
Easy - Moderate.
Until the wilderness became the Wilderness, this Northwest Road was a real
thoroughfare and is still wide enough for a horse-drawn wagon to make the passage.
The path traverses the northern part of the Wilderness and
provides some nice scenery, albeit better near the endpoints than in the middle.
Horseback riding and horse-drawn wagons are permitted.
Most hikers do not walk 208 by itself but rather use parts of it to connect
with other trails. Spotting vehicles at both ends for a one day hike is
time-consuming to say the least. But if walking the whole thing, hike in
either direction, the considerations being position of the sun and your
approach; coming eastward the final mile is uphill, westward it's downhill.
Not surprisingly trail 208 connects roads FS 208 East and FS 208 West.
If starting from the eastern end, 208 is the only trail that emanates from the
Gum Pond Trailhead.
Follow it downhill at first. Trail 207 - Braziel Creek
spurs back to the left after about half a mile, and just past the bridge over
Hagood Creek trail 210 - Mitchell Ridge branches to
the right. Small trailhead signs indicate both intersections.
Highlights of the eastern section are Thompson Creek way down below, the bluffs
on the northern side, and the general beauty of the forest.
The trail continues, crossing the bridge over Braziel Creek, continuing
upwards towards the ridge.
The trail widens for its amble along the ridge. Trail
224 - Bunyan Hill branches back southward
after a while and trail 223 - Gum Pond heads
northward another third of a mile beyond that. Trail 208 then starts
its descent to the
Thompson Trailhead. The scenery
picks up again though the path may get sloppy now and then.
From the western side, trail 208 begins at the
Head up the hill past the gate, to your left as you face the Forest Service
trailhead display. Read everything above backwards.
Camping is best in the middle, especially near Braziel Creek. For car camping,
this is probably not an option.
I would be remiss in not saying that this is one of the trails where the feral
hogs are most evident, especially in the low-lying sections. By all means use
the trail, the probability of trouble being low; the pigs don't want to see you
either. But these beasts can be dangerous. So if encountered, don't provoke.