The Kettle Creek Wildlife Sanctuary itself is a 166 acre preserve. 120 acres was donated for the preservation of wildlife by long time County resident Clayton Swink, an additional 46 acres was purchased in 2004. It is now owned by the County and provides an interesting arena for outdoor programs. It has an old field, mature deciduous forest, evergreen stands, and two ponds. Over 2 1/2 miles of maintained and well marked trails are open for public use year-round, 7 days a week.
The trail system at Kettle Creek is relatively easy to follow with the aid of a map or simply by following the signs. Grey Fox and Red-tailed Loops are the only trails maintained on the north side of Running Valley Road. The trails start at the corner of the overflow parking lot and loop through a mature hardwood forest with moderate hiking. All other trails are found on the south side of the road. The trails are accessible from the parking lots of the building or from the overflow parking lot on Running Valley Road.
Black Bear Trail, a paved trail accessible to wheelchairs and physically challenged individuals, currently extends over 900 ft. to Swink Pond. This trail starts in the parking area below the building and runs past the remains of an old farmhouse.
Songbird Trail and Deer Trail both form a circle and return you to the parking lot. Songbird is the shorter loop; it covers approximately 1/2 mile and travels through old fields and immature forests. It is also fairly easy to walk with only one uphill section. Deer Trail is the large loop that begins on songbird and goes up over the hill and along the upper boundary of the property. Total walking distance is 1.1 mile with some uphill sections.
The remainder of the trails basically serve to connect the shorter loop and the longer loop, which allows walks of various distances. These trails all end with the name Path or Way and are relatively short in distance, but do involve uphill sections due to the slope of the terrain.
Kettle Creek is open to the public year round for hiking and cross-country skiing from dawn to dusk. There is no hunting, camping, littering or pets allowed on the property and fishing is limited to handicapped individuals for catch and release purposes only. Directions to Kettle Creek can be found here. For more information please call our office at (570) 629-3061.