The Gillam Loop trail is a 3.4 miles loop through Desoto State Park and the adjacent WMA. If you’re looking for break taking views, water features, or rock formations; this is not the trail for you. If you enjoy a quiet hike through a wooded forest, you’ve found the right trail. The Gillam Loop trail starts at the Gillam Trailhead located behind the last cabin. Take the paved road pas the Lodge and past the cabins until you come to a grave turn off (the trailhead is marked with signs). As you make your way into the forest, you’re notice the first half is mostly hardwoods. The trail is most clay with a few gravels. During the late fall and winter the trail is covered with leaves. Do note, there are no trail blazes along the trail. The trail follows the CCC road to the unfinished bridge. Along this portion you will cross three DST exit roads.
When you come to the intersection of the trail and CCC road, I recommend taking the extra ¾ mile hike to the unfinished bridge. The stonework in the two abutments is excellent. At the bridge you’ll have to turn back and retrace your steps back the Gillam trail.
The second half of the Gillam trail is a mixture of hardwoods and pines. The path is level throughout. The surface is clay with some small gravel and very few large rocks. You will continue on the path until you reach the Gillam trailhead.
Please remember the WMA does have times when hunting is permitted. Check the signs posted at the trailhead before you head out. Overall the trail is a nice, relaxing hike into the woods and combined with the unfinished bridge give you a look into the makings of Desoto State Park.