Rolling across the north side of the Sam Dale Lake Conservation Area, this 2.8-mile counterclockwise loop is a great addition to fishing or swimming trips to Sam Dale Lake. Begin at the signed trailhead in the area’s northernmost campground and stay left at the trail junctions to follow the loop through pine groves and wild-flower studded woods. The easy path winds under mature oak and across a sandy creek bottom before a brief stretch along an abandoned park road. Continue east to the shore of Sam Dale Lake, a 200-acre fishing hole that’s popular with local anglers.
The second half of the hike stays just inland of the lake—watch for wildlife, including turtles, beaver and wild turkeys—as the trail traces finger-cove contours under an oak-hickory canopy. At mile 2.4, the large nature trail loop closes, but a smaller loop leads left before landing back at the trailhead. This short detour takes you past a massive pin oak (3 feet in diameter) standing alone in a grassy field.
-Mapped by Ted Villare