HCLT finishes trail extension at Brushy Face

Brushy Face was already a 1.5-mile trail network popular for it’s birding, but Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust staff and volunteers finished off a .5-mile extension last week and is now open to the public.

Brushy Face is now an approx. 2-mile trail network through old-growth forest thanks to HCLT staff and volunteers like Jim Chance.

HCLT Stewardship Coordinator Kyle Pursel said the property is unique in that there’s old growth with trees over going undisturbed for over a century.

Wildflowers line the trail throughout Brushy Face.

“It’s a nice patch of forest, and with 74-acres we have the space for it,” said Pursel. “It’s a different kind of forest with streams throughout the trail and huge White Pines. Now it’s a longer trail hike through the woods.”

The tops of the towering White Pines are gnarled from branches breaking and regrowing in constant wind.

White Pines over 100 years old are located throughout Brushy Face.

HCLT staff and volunteers like Jim Chance began the extension in the fall of 2019. Rains and bad weather throughout winter slowed progress down, and then coronavirus slowed things down even more.

Spring time is always a good time to take a stroll in the woods.

The land was donated to the Land Trust by residents in the neighborhood who banded together and purchased it from a developer, and is now under the care of the HCLT. Pursel said plans are in the works for another extension coming in the future.

Updated Brushy Face Trail Map. The red line is the new extension. The purple line shows plans for a future trail.


From Highlands head down Highway 28 for approx. 1.5 miles and turn right onto Brushy Face Road, then turn left on Pineland Road and look for parking signs next to trailhead.

To learn more about the HCLT click HERE.

The branches at the tops of old growth White Pines are growing in the direction of the consistent wind.

The little things along the trail can be gorgeous.

Brushy Face is a great location for birding. Editor’s Note: I followed three Hooded Warblers and couldn’t snag a decent shot of any of them. Great location for birding though.

Painted Trillium alongside the trail at Brushy Face.

Springtime in the mountains at HCLT’s Brushy Face.

There’s a portion of the extension along Old Pine Road that still immerses visitors in the forest despite walking on pavement.

A bud growing out of a giant White Pine.

An ant practices social distancing from a fly on a log at Brushy Face.

Wildflowers are aplenty at Brushy Face.

Pictured at the top of the article is HCLT Stewardship Coordinator Kyle Pursel putting the finishing touches on the trail extension that was finished last week and is open to the public.

Article and photos by Brian O’Shea
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