Another great hike to take is the Indian Profile Walking Trail, which encircles the lower half of the Riding.
The Indian Profile Walking Trail, aptly named for the austere profile (see photo above) which stares toward the horizon from above Reflection Riding at Sunset Rock, is the longest of the trails at 2.7 miles and loops all the way around the Riding, beginning at the trailhead near the Visitor Center. It winds its way through the Holsomback Rhododendron Garden, reaching up along part of the upper trails, by way of Nelson Upslope, and then dropping down through the Dogwood Spinney (a patch of dogwoods). Twisting around the mountain curves it skirts the upper reaches of the Pavilion and past Whatley’s Glen, eventually opening up at Siren Pool. At this point you are at the farthest part of the Riding’s property – the National Park Service border begins here and heads toward Skyuka Spring.
Dropping down, the trail runs behind the Paw Paw Patch and curves through Millison Field then up past the bamboo stand and meandering through the Philp Memorial Garden (also know as our Ericaceous habitat), where a diverse variety of azaleas and rhododendrons thrive. It then travels parallel to the driving road for awhile and through Oliver Freeman’s Hollow (in the spring this is an area of amazing wildflower diversity), finally traversing the road and running alongside Lookout Creek and emerging in front of the Wildflower Cove (another amazing wildflower area in spring).
Passing through the Beech grove, the trail travels behind Viburnum Row, curving around Candy Flat’s (the bucolic pastoral scene of our cultural landscape) and arriving back at the Visitor Center where the trail ends. This short section is dedicated by his family to the Memory of Dr. Dunbar Newell. The entire path system in Reflection Riding is dedicated in the memory of Laura (Muffet) Handly Brock.
Several “spur” paths adjacent to the trail loop allow hikers and walkers to explore small areas of the Riding such as Oliver Freeman’s Hollow, the Wildflower Cove or the Philp Garden. Many people comment on the inspirational qualities of the Riding, and we try to emphasize this by directing the trail to some of the more serene and beautiful areas, offering exposure to different terrain and habitat.
Mountain slopes, meadows, a creekside walkway and wildflower paths – there are many different options to explore on the Indian Profile Walking Trail.
Download this Tour of the Indian Profile Walking Trail.