Anything involving Bradley Creek is a favorite summer hike for us as it involves multiple fords of Bradley Creek. Sometimes so many fords that it seems it might be easier to just walk down the river (it isn’t but it’s fun).
This hike starts at Turkeypen trailhead near Mills River. We took the South Mills Trail downhill to the suspension bridge which we did NOT cross this time but we do have a photo there anyway.
We continued along the Bradley Creek Trail (orange blazes) which soon involves fording the South Mills. This is still the stem of a ‘lollipop’ hike so we did this section at the end as well.
There’s a short but steep climb to Pea Gap, then a wet crossing of Pea Branch followed by the only really dry section of the hike as you descend to Bradley Creek. From here we branched off on Riverside trail. Riverside actually intersects with Bradley Creek at both endpoints making a loop.
Riverside trail crosses Bradley Creek multiple times and then crosses the South Mills multiple times. Some of these are challenging and were close to waist deep on me (I’m just over 6 feet tall).
This loop hike is about 7.5 miles in total. You could easily do it in reverse (counter-clockwise) which would be worth doing if you wanted to get most of the fording out of the way in the first two-thirds of the hike. The only real altitude comes going up to Pea Gap and then back to the trailhead at the very end.