Field Trip – Barrett’s Rim

General Hike Location: Highlands Nature Sanctuary. Approximately 1.5 miles from the Appalachian Forest Museum

Driving Distance from the Appalachian Forest Museum: 5 Minutes

Length: 2.5 Miles

Time & Meeting Place: Park your cars at the Barrett’s Rim parking lot at 9:15 am. Hike begins promptly at 9:30 am.

Bring: Be sure to pack a bottle of water and bring a day pack for your lunch which we be enjoyed along the trail. We recommend packing a piece of plastic to sit on in case the ground is wet.

Difficulty: The trail is single-file in width with one small shallow stream crossing that has short but steep banks. It has one abrupt descent and a moderate ascent, with a forty foot elevation change. This area and A few other Sections of the trail can be slippery if it has recently rained.


The Barrett’s Rim Trail in the Rocky Fork Gorge is spectacular in April – truly a heady experience. The dolomite rock walls which line the Rocky Fork Creek like a sentinel, and fallen boulders along the trail support an incredulous density of wildflowers, presenting floral displays not only at one’s feet but also above one’s head. As you walk between the winding river and the dolomite cliffs, columbine, trillium, bellwort, miterwort, anemone, cohosh, and wild geraniums produce a wonderful verdant display of classic Appalachia wildflowers. The annual spring miracle of observing living blooming flowers arise from the tiny pockets of soil tucked in cold barren rocks provides the grist for a worthwhile meditation, and nowhere is this sight more enticing than at Barrett’s Rim – known as the jewel of the Rocky Fork Gorge.

Arch at Miller State Nature Preserve
Arch at Miller State Nature Preserve