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  • Writer's pictureMatt

Hendersonville Reservoir Hike

Updated: Nov 8, 2018

Looking for a short, easy hike to a pretty destination, but off the well-worn waterfall track? Take a walk to the reservoir.

Hendersonville Reservoir
If your hiking buddy gets thirsty on the walk, it's no problem here.

The number of hikes to choose from in and near Henderson County can be overwhelming, which is certainly nothing to complain about. Not every hike is for everyone, though - sometimes you don't have the energy or time for an epic trek but you still want a worthwhile destination as a reward. The hike to the Hendersonville Reservoir, near the North Mills River Recreation Area, fits that bill perfectly.

“Sometimes you don't have the energy or time for an epic trek, but you still want a worthwhile destination as a reward.”

The three of us - me and our two shelties Tanner and Abby - started this hike at 4 o'clock on

a weekday afternoon and were done by 5:30, and that includes a bit of extra distance since I realized as I got close to the trailhead that I'd forgotten to get gas and was nearly on empty! Fortunately I was close enough that I could just park where I was and walk the rest of the way (it's only a couple of miles off the main road, I made it to the gas station with at least a few drops to spare).

The Hike

The hike from the Trace Ridge trailhead to the reservoir is 1.5 miles along a gravel road that is usually gated, so no vehicle traffic other than the occasional mountain bike. There's a bit of elevation change but nothing steep, and no arduous switchbacks. You start up high above the North Fork of the Mills River and gradually work your way down until you're walking alongside the river near the end.

Once you arrive at the reservoir, you'll find a pretty lake above the picturesque dam, with a nice spot to sit and enjoy the view. There's an easy spot for four-legged hikers to get a drink,

and you can take some rock steps up to a log bridge crossing. Since it's not steep on the way down, the hike back up to the trailhead isn't too tough.

How To Find It

The hike to the Hendersonville Reservoir starts at the Trace Ridge trailhead, which has room for quite a few cars and is the junction for several other trails. Head for the North Mills River Recreation Area in Pisgah National Forest on North Mills River Road (it runs by a large Ingles grocery store), and as you enter the Recreation Area look on your right for Wash Creek Road, also called Forest Road 5000 and take it. It'll turn to gravel before too long, and in about two miles you'll come to the Wash Creek Horse Camp (this is where I parked this time). Bear to the left to cross Wash Creek, and in another half mile or so you'll come to the trailhead. The road to the Hendersonville Reservoir is FR142.


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