I finally was able to get away and hike at the newly opened Bracken Preserve on 13 August, 2012. The parking area is a 5 minute drive from Downtown Brevard. There is a loop trail that is a little over 5 miles and a continuation of the trail connects with Pisgah National Forest. The trail is mostly moderate (for people who can hike in the mountains). The first few hundred yards of the trail is probably the steepest--it is on a narrow right-of-way up to the Preserve, so there wasn't enough room to do more switchbacks--but it isn't any steeper than many of the other trails in the area.
I recommend hiking the loop in a clockwise direction (Bracken Mountain Trail, blue blazes to Mackey Ridge Trail, yellow blazes to Brushy Creek Trail, red blazes), although on my next trip there, I will probably do it in the reverse order. With the trail being so new, it is very smooth with few roots and rocks, so I spent lots of time looking out at the scenery, rather than down at my feet : )
Part of the scenery was lots of mushrooms along the trail.
The trails are well marked with blazes and signs, so it would be difficult to get lost.
While there are no large waterfalls, there is a smaller waterfall and other water features. Creek crossings are by bridge, not wet crossings.
I saw these scattered bones and some fur on the trail--something had a snack!
I frequently find fields of ferns to be fun.
With water & snack breaks, photo breaks, enjoying the beauty breaks and a couple of catch my breath breaks, the loop took exactly 3 hours to complete. I can't wait to go back and take some friends!