On Friday, Oct. 16, the Fairfield Glade Hikers will travel 65 miles to the Big South Fork near Oneida to hike a moderate 5.9-mile loop, the Leatherwood Ford Loop to Sunset Overlook.

The trail first passes through a dense riparian forest with massive sandstone boulders and then ascends a densely forested gorge slope. Switchbacks are well placed, so nowhere is the trail very steep. 

At the top on the plateau surface is an overlook with a view of the gorge at Leatherwood Ford. The Leatherwood name was acquired due to the small leatherwood shrub that grows along the river here. Native Americans and early settlers used the tough inner bark for shoestrings, baskets and fish traps.

Lunch will be enjoyed on the Sunset Overlook viewing the Big South Fork River. Be sure to pack plenty of water, snacks and a lunch. Though the elevation gain is minimal, about 450 feet, the length of the hike warrants hiking boots. Hiking poles can be very helpful, too.

Hiking has risks, and safety is a high priority on every outing. The group assumes no collective or individual liability for any mishaps. 

Hiking is at one’s own risk. Walking on paved and even surfaces does not compare with hiking on uneven trails with natural obstructions and elevation changes. Each hiker is asked to assess personal level of fitness to the difficulty of the hike so they can keep up with the group.

Hikers will meet at the parking lot nearest to the four-way stop at Peavine Rd. and Stonehenge Blvd. between 7:30-7:45 a.m. Departure will be promptly at 8. For those choosing to ride with someone, the amount of driver reimbursement is $4. The expected return time to Fairfield Glade is 2:30 p.m.

For questions about  the hike, contact the hike leader at 678-425-4339.