Vogel is one of the State Parks that I’ve driven by half a dozen times on my way through the mountains, but had never stopped to check out. When my family and I planned a trip to Murphy, NC, it brought us right by the front gate, and I finally seized the opportunity.
Vogel is a quaint and beautiful little park with easy parking near the Visitor Center and lake. We stopped in the Visitor Center first to pick up our enamel souvenir pins and some snacks before grapping a park map and setting our sights for Lake Trahlyta and Trahlyta Falls – an easy one mile loop around the lake with a small spur that takes you to see the falls.
It was a beautiful fall day with perfect temperatures for stretching our legs. The trail hugs the banks of the lake, offering peaceful views of the water. Along the edge we found several types of wildflowers and native bees, busily pollinating.
The trail is wide and flat and we took it at a leisurely pace. After several hours in the car and with a couple more to go, we were enjoying the chance to breathe the fresh mountain air and sunshine.
There are a few places where a small waterway feeds into the lake, and there are boardwalk bridges over these areas. On one of those bridges I spotted Halysidota tessellaris, a banded tussock moth caterpillar. You can always spot a “tussock” caterpillar (of which there are many varieties) by the long “pencils” of hair that protrude. These hairs can aggravate your skin and cause a rash, so best not to handle these little guys!
I also spotted several types of fungi growing the the shade of the mature trees. Hunting for mushrooms to photograph has become a bit of a hobby for Teri and I, making hiking in the fall one of our favorite kinds of adventures!
About halfway around the lake we found the Trahlyta Falls spur, and tiny little out and back that takes you to visit the foot of the beautiful waterfall. I feel sorry for those that miss out on this little gem, as it was easily the highlight of our walk!
While our visit to Vogel was brief, it was the perfect outing for our travel afternoon. For those with a little more time to spend in the park, there are additional hiking opportunities ranging from 4-mile Bear Hair Gap loop to the challenging 13-mile Coosa Backcountry Trail.