Mackey Mountain contains the largest unbroken tract of old-growth forest in the Pisgah National Forest. Most of Mackey Mountain is a bear sanctuary. The Hickory Branch Trail begins at Curtis Creek Campground and climbs to the ridge overlooking the Mackey Creek valley. Trails lead to Mackey Creek and the top of Chestnutwood Mountain. The wild, rugged trails of Mackey Mountain are popular with trail runners, hikers, and nature enthusiasts seeking old-growth forests and rare species habitat.