Big Dalton Canyon Trail
If the steep trails that run up the side of Big Dalton Canyon, such as the Upper Mystic and Wren Meacham trails, sound like they’re not for you, consider taking this pleasant stroll along the creek. The Big Dalton Trail runs along the bottom of the canyon, paralleling the road that runs through the park. However, it’s just far enough away that the sights and sounds of traffic are blocked out.
From the parking lot, cross the road and pick up the Big Dalton Trail. Head northeast into the canyon, passing by the campground and a couple of bridges that connect with the paved road. The scenery on the way up includes a pleasantly trickling (for most of the year) creek, tall oaks, and occasional views higher into the canyon, where the walls ascend steeply on both sides.
Following the second bridge, the terrain becomes a little trickier (although never too difficult). The trail is not always obvious, but just keep in mind that it never strays too far from either the road or the stream (which it crosses a couple of times.)
At 1.1 miles from the start, the trail ends at the paved service road. This concludes the most scenic part of the trip, but those who want to can continue another quarter mile up the road, before a large metal gate unceremoniously stops further progress. On the return trip, you can either retrace your steps on the trail or follow the paved road back to the campground. You can also easily extend your hike by visiting some of the other trails in the park, such as the Coulter Pine Loop or the Wren Meacham Trail.