But I was unprepared for the temps. It had been so hot in Charlottesville for so long that I just brought a summer bag and a wool blanket, and that would not have kept me warm in the tent. So hiker dog and I slept in the back of the 4Runner instead. It meant that we could not enjoy the sounds of Tea Creek when we slept that night.
Driving up the road to this campground brought back memories for me. Two Julys previous, I completed a 33.3 mile backpack in Cranberry Wilderness next door that included my toughest hiking day ever - 24.6 miles over 13 hours that included a trail that disappeared over the last 7 miles of the day. I was so spent at the end that I got sick when I reached my car. This trip went easier, but the trail was still a lot tougher than it looked on the map. On this loop, I got soaked and pelted with hail. I slipped into Tea Creek during one crossing. I came home with boots that took multiple days of cleaning to get rid of the mud. Those boots had been waterproof in the past, but not on this outing. Even the dog looked spent halfway through this loop!
Mile 0.0 – If you don't camp there, you start the hike in the parking area at the front of the campground. To your right you will see a kiosk and trail sign for the Williams River Trail, which you will use at the very end of this loop. There is a hand pump here and parking for 6-10 cars. The campground is relatively large with 28 private campsites – including some along Tea Creek. Start the hike by walking up the campground road on your right, straight up the road you used to enter the campground. Pass the campground pit toilets on your left, then several campsites.
Mile 0.6 – In a small open meadow, look for a sign announcing the blue blazed Turkey Point Connector Trail. You could continue straight on the Bannock Shoals Trail and get to the same place, but it takes a lot longer and doesn’t seem as interesting. Take a right onto the Turkey Point Connector Trail.
Mile 0.5 – The Turkey Point Connector Trail starts with a mild climb on an old woods road before the trail leaves the road, switches back, finds another woods road, and begins climbing more steeply, reaching a grade of 20 percent for a while before the trail ends at the top of the mountain – one of the steeper trails in the entire state. The trail is very rocky in parts, and looks much like several of the trails in Cranberry Wilderness to the south. Although it would seem like a rough descent, this trail is reportedly popular with mountain bikers, and tire channels could be seen in every wet spot on the trail – indicating recent bike use. Be alert!
Mile 2.7 – After a brief level period, the trail begins to climb again while passing through an interesting area with large boulders.
Mile 3.6 – Intersect with the Boundary Trail at the high point on this loop, just over 4300 feet elevation. The Turkey Point Trail ends here. Continue to the right, downhill on the Boundary Trail, hiking along the edge of the National Forest lands.
Mile 4.1 – The forest opens up to the north due to some old clear cuts on private lands. Some trail guides claim that beautiful views are available towards Cranberry Wilderness on trail sections crossed earlier on this hike, but those views did not exist in Summer.