1st time to Brevard/Dupont this weekend. Please critique my plan!- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    1st time to Brevard/Dupont this weekend. Please critique my plan!

    I'm really excited to have a long weekend up in Brevard. I'll be camping at Cedar Mountain and will have most of the day Friday, Saturday and Sunday to ride. Below is my plan of attack:

    Friday when I arrive: Park at Lake Imagining and do the 6-7 mile lake imagining loop that ends with Ridgeline.
    Friday evening: "The Best of Dupont Burnt Mtn Loop" (6 miles). This hits corn mill shoal, burnt mountain, little river and big rock.

    Saturday morning: Cove Creek to Daniel Ridge or maybe just Danile Ridge? This is the only trail I'm confused about. I'd like to follow the trail outline below but it seems to me the trail direction is opposite of what I should really do. Seems like it has me climbing up Daniel Ridge vs decending it:
    https://www.trailforks.com/route/bik...-daniel-ridge/

    Saturday Evening: Check out The Hub bike shop and then do Thrift to Lower Black followed by Sycamore Cove Trail.

    Sunday morning: Re-ride whichever trail I'd liked best of the 4.

    Thoughts?

  2. #2
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    Those are all nice rides but kinda short. You can easily make the Lake imagining section about 15 miles by going all the way to Briery. You can do that in the morning and do Burnt Mountain/ Cedar rock in the afternoon.

    Cove creak to Daniel ridge is great but I recommend doing it the other way. Go up cove creak first. Then go counter-clockwise around Daniel Ridge. That is, go down, up and back down Daniel Ridge. That way, you get to descend, climb and descend again.

    Your Saturday evening ride sounds good and the perfect end of the day ride!
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vespasianus View Post
    Those are all nice rides but kinda short. You can easily make the Lake imagining section about 15 miles by going all the way to Briery. You can do that in the morning and do Burnt Mountain/ Cedar rock in the afternoon.

    Cove creak to Daniel ridge is great but I recommend doing it the other way. Go up cove creak first. Then go counter-clockwise around Daniel Ridge. That is, go down, up and back down Daniel Ridge. That way, you get to descend, climb and descend again.

    Your Saturday evening ride sounds good and the perfect end of the day ride!
    I know my rides are kinda short but at my current fitness level I think it's about all I'll be able to manage but will see how I fair. I may do the Ridgeline loop twice to add more miles if it's as fun as people say. At my local trails (Charlotte) I tend to get in 6-8 miles after work a couple times per week and around 10-12 ont the weekend. So 12-14 for 3 straight days will be pretty good for me. Thank you for explaining Daniel Ridge and confirming that the trailforks map looked off. I'll follow the route you laid out so I can descend twice.

  4. #4
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    Technical skills

    1to 10: Where do you rate your skill level? Daniel is a loop: You can hit the whole thing or drop in from FS 225 via Cove or Headwaters to 225, turn left on Daniel and have a killer down hill run. Or turn Right on Daniel from 225 (CCW) and have a a killer run (play on words) depending on your skill level. I always have a bit of hike a bike on Burnt and prefer to do it CCW to move on from the serious stuff. But, I am an old geezer and ride mainly to ride the next time. I prefer riding Cedar CCW ( you'll pass under KV power lines at the bottom) to the top and hit Big Rock downhill. May take you a little bit of looking to find the Big Rock trail, but it its there: Some drops & some blood- due diligence is a good thing. Find the Rock Quarry loop from Corn Mill Shoals, via Twixt, Micajah and Wilkie back to the CMS trail head. Favorite ride in DuPont involves Reasonover, Turkey, Briery and Grassy-in that order. You'll miss most of the DuPont weekend population on that loop. Ride on.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slowdownhill View Post
    1to 10: Where do you rate your skill level? Daniel is a loop: You can hit the whole thing or drop in from FS 225 via Cove or Headwaters to 225, turn left on Daniel and have a killer down hill run. Or turn Right on Daniel from 225 (CCW) and have a a killer run (play on words) depending on your skill level. I always have a bit of hike a bike on Burnt and prefer to do it CCW to move on from the serious stuff. But, I am an old geezer and ride mainly to ride the next time. I prefer riding Cedar CCW ( you'll pass under KV power lines at the bottom) to the top and hit Big Rock downhill. May take you a little bit of looking to find the Big Rock trail, but it its there: Some drops & some blood- due diligence is a good thing. Find the Rock Quarry loop from Corn Mill Shoals, via Twixt, Micajah and Wilkie back to the CMS trail head. Favorite ride in DuPont involves Reasonover, Turkey, Briery and Grassy-in that order. You'll miss most of the DuPont weekend population on that loop. Ride on.
    If 1 is a toddler with training wheels and 10 is Sam Hill I'm probably a 3. Realistically I'm probably an average rider with slightly below average indurance. Ive learned to commit to a line and let the bike do it's thing but I know I'm going to struggle up some of the climbs. I'll likely hit DR from cove road and just take the left down. I'll look into the Dupont loop you mention above for my last ride on Sunday. Thanks for the suggestion.

  6. #6
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    Ok, so if you take 225 ( Cove Creek Road) by which ever means (Headwaters or Cove trail), 225 will turn into a gated, overgrown road that is easy single track. Good parking at the Hatchery for either route. After some time of 225 single track travel, you will encounter the beginning of Daniel to the left (down a modestly rooted trail.) In about 100 yards <> the trail splits and you want the left choice. If you go to the right, it will become challenging and will eventually meet up with Farlow. The left choice presents challenge and fun with a good number of bridges (hence it is known as the bridge side) and about 1/2 way down it crosses a FS road. Keep straight & there are no other exits until you hit the bottom of the trail at the same FS road you crossed earlier. Go right & you can take it from there. Some of the bridges I ride and some I walk. Let somebody know your route as you may or may not see another living soul once you hit 225, the single track version. Cell service in that area can be iffy. From the Hatchery up Headwaters, Cove, Daniel & back again on Davidson River Trail is a bit over 12 miles and 2 hours at a social pace with breaks and bs.

  7. #7
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    Those are good weekend warrior loops and I mean that in the best way. I've done those loops many times, especially after months of not riding. Not too much elevation and all the right kinds of fun. A little tech in some short sections and just fun.

    You'll probably want to do daniel CCW. I haven't ridden it in years, but last time the DH going CW was pretty washed out. Which is its own sort of fun, but I personally like the rocky DH side (CCW) better.

    For the burnt loop, I like riding BR/cedar as an out and back or just pedaling up BR at the end of the ride to grab the BR DH. That way you get to ride both the BR and cedar downhill sections. You really don't want to miss either one. Especially the slickrock DH if you haven't ridden something like it before. BR is just a fast, fun, mildly techy DH. With the direction your going in the loop you stated, you'll missing the cedar slickrock DH. You'll be climbing up it.

    Also, you might think about taking the first right onto Burnt mtn and riding the short distance to the techy DH section. Have a look. If it is something you will walk down anyway, then just walk up it and ride burnt in CCW and not CW (like in your loop). The DH going CCW is more like ridgeline (flowy) with only a few rocky bits. Much more fun to go CCW if you plan on skipping the DH tech going CW. When I'm in decent shape, I will usually go both directions here as well.

    Just be on the lookout for hikers and horses, especially at dupont. It is getting to be prime tourist season.

  8. #8
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    I don't know how that Trailforks route got reversed, but climbing up Daniel's to go downhill on Cove Creek is...dumb. I actually ran into someone else doing that a few weeks ago and it's less than ideal.

    So yea, reverse that route. You want to climb Cove Creek trail, there will be a brief hike a bike downhill across a log bridge then a short push up a little rocky bit, take a left there (you'll know it when you see it) and you'll ride up a steep, but short little segment back to Cove Creek Rd. Take the road past the gate, then follow that, you'll cross two bridges, once you've crossed the second one, you are almost done (it's kindof a slog). You'll reach the end of the road where the connector trail is, take that down, then it's decision time.

    If you go right on Daniel's Ridge (this would be CCW DH), you will go down the 'rocky' side. This side has some technical sections and some very narrow sections near the bottom. It's fun, but if it's your first time riding in Pisgah and you rate your skill/fitness where you do, I'd strongly encourage you to go left for the 'creek' or 'bridge' side (CW DH). This side has some steep sections with loose rocks and a few technical bits, but nothing over the top, it'll be a lot more rideable for you than the rocky side would.

    There has been a lot of work done on the bridge side of Daniel's in the last year, there are two new bridges, the washed out drop after the road crossing has been filled in, and several other eroded sections have been repaired. It's not exactly flowy but it's not super technical either. IMO for someone coming from out of town and that hasn't ridden here much before, it's a better option than the rocky side. For locals or folks familiar with riding here, the rocky side is probably more interesting, but I think both are fun in different ways.

    For Sycamore, be sure you climb Grassy instead of doing the loop unless you want technical climbing. If you want to do something in that area, you can climb up Grassy Rd and it splits Sycamore in two, when you reach the top you can go left for "upper", which I think is a bit easier but has more length and rooty climbing, or right for lower, which gets a bit more difficult towards the bottom but is shorter overall.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adodero View Post
    I'd strongly encourage you to go left for the 'creek' or 'bridge' side (CW DH). This side has some steep sections with loose rocks and a few technical bits, but nothing over the top, it'll be a lot more rideable for you than the rocky side would.
    Thanks. I definitely plan to go left and do the bridge side. The comments on here have been very helpful in showing me the correct path to take. Thanks for the information on sycamore as well!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slowdownhill View Post
    From the Hatchery up Headwaters, Cove, Daniel & back again on Davidson River Trail is a bit over 12 miles and 2 hours at a social pace with breaks and bs.
    Thanks for the great info. My plan was to park in the lot at Lower Cove and get to cove creek road via cove creek trail which I believe would make the whole loop a little shorter. Where is "The Hatchery"? It's referred to all the time when discussing this area and using google maps I'm still unable to place exactly what/where this is.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by todd123 View Post
    Thanks for the great info. My plan was to park in the lot at Lower Cove and get to cove creek road via cove creek trail which I believe would make the whole loop a little shorter. Where is "The Hatchery"? It's referred to all the time when discussing this area and using google maps I'm still unable to place exactly what/where this is.
    The Fish Hatchery is exactly what it sounds like, a fish hatchery. It's often used as a landmark for describing the trails in that area (Butter Gap, Cat Gap, Long Branch, Farlow Gap, Daniel's Ridge, Cove Creek, Davidson River) and for parking.

    A lot of trails in Pisgah are broken into starting areas (e.g. Fish Hatchery, Horse Stables, "front country", N Mills River, Turkey Pen), the hatchery is just one of those areas.

    For the loop you are doing, though, I'd park where you originally planned on at the bottom of Cove Creek or Daniel's Ridge. Otherwise, you end up climbing Davidson River trail (somewhat boring) to get to Cove Creek, doing the loop, then going back down Davidson River trail (also somewhat boring). The only time of year, IMO, it's worth parking at the fish hatchery is Oct 15 - April 15 when the seasonal trails are open and you can take Cat Gap into the hatchery, otherwise it's just an unneeded kindof boring slog.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by matty22c View Post
    you might think about taking the first right onto Burnt mtn and riding the short distance to the techy DH section. Have a look. If it is something you will walk down anyway, then just walk up it and ride burnt in CCW and not CW (like in your loop). The DH going CCW is more like ridgeline (flowy) with only a few rocky bits. Much more fun to go CCW if you plan on skipping the DH tech going CW. When I'm in decent shape, I will usually go both directions here as well.
    Looking at the elevation map on trailforks this makes a lot of sense. Looks like I'd basically just walk up half a mile or less and then get almost 1.5 miles of flowly down hill. "Big drops in rapid succession" at the end doesn't sound like something I'll be doing anyways in the CW direction.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by todd123 View Post
    Looking at the elevation map on trailforks this makes a lot of sense. Looks like I'd basically just walk up half a mile or less and then get almost 1.5 miles of flowly down hill. "Big drops in rapid succession" at the end doesn't sound like something I'll be doing anyways in the CW direction.
    I took my wife on this recommended route on Burnt recently, based on some similar recommendations I'd read. When she saw the gnarly hike-a-bike going up, she really started to doubt my sanity. I reassured her that there was a longer downhill going the direction we were heading, and that the whole thing wasn't like that. There are a couple of smaller nasty climbing sections after the big one to be aware of, though. Don't let them disillusion you. They're worth it. It definitely is flowy coming down the other side, but I'm not sure I'd really compare it to Ridgeline. That trail is a different animal. The flowy downhill on Burnt is more what I'd call "old school flowy" because it does have some well placed rock slabs you can have fun on and the flow isn't heavily sculpted with berms and over-heavy machine work the way Ridgeline is. Ridgeline is fun for what it is, true. It's a trail I like to do on a "recovery day" when I need something with relatively light climbing that's not going to pound me too hard or tax the muscles too much. I've ridden it immediately after a 9hr drive. I've gone there to ride after big Pisgah days. I rarely ride it more than once, though. There are just so many options that you're kinda missing out if you spend too much time on Ridgeline alone.

  14. #14
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    I rode Burnt today backwards as you suggested and it was probably my favorite ride so far. I love the speed with a little tech mixed in. Ridgeline lived up to the hype as well. It was like I was hovering over the trail coming down that fast.

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    I wanted to thank everyone again for great reponses. I had a great time up in Dupont/Brevard this past weekend. The suggestion to do Burnt Mountain backwards (CCW) was great. IMO even skilled riders should have a full face and pads when going down the end of Burnt while doing the loop clockwise. I didn't make it to Daniels Ridge because my legs were pretty dead from the lower black mtn ride. Instead I re-rode Lake Imaging but added on the Hickory Mtn loop along with the rest of the suggested loop from mtbproject (8 miles).

    If I had to rank the trails:
    #1 Ridgeline. It really lived up to the hype. It's crazy going so fast but still feeling in control. The trail design along with great conditions really glued the bike to the trail.

    #2 Burnt Mountain rode CCW: I hiked up the really knarly stuff but the remaining 1.5 was still technical and fast. Really enjoyed it. First time bottoming out my rear suspension was on this trail.

    #3 Hooker Creek: Short trail but the decent is so much fun. Perfect mix of flow and some tech for my current riding level.

    #4 Lower Black Mtn: I can see how this gets brought up in peoples favorite trails in pisgah. I enjoyed it but the initial climb was pretty daunting up Trift. It was a very smooth climb but by far the highest elevation gain per mile I've ever attempted.

    #5 Sycamore Cove: Easy climb up Grassy Road but the decent down Sycamore was actually the most difficult all weekend even though it's rated a Blue. The combination of roots and lots of leaves caused some hesitation.

    #6 Cedar Rock to Big Rock: Best views on the trip by far. I'd like to try decending Cedar next time instead of Big Rock.

    #7 Hickory Mtn Loop: Really fun but was the last climb of my trip and my legs were feeling it. I think I could enjoy it more if I was fresh.

  16. #16
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    Awesome, glad you enjoyed it. They are all good trails and it just gets better from there, but you just have to the legs and lungs.

    That tech section of Burnt is actually fairly trivial when you are use to rocky terrain and drops. It looks worse than it is. You can't really call it a rock garden, it is better explained as rock armored, as none of the rocks really stick up above the rest. That is what makes rock gardens tough, is the ones that stick up and grab your wheel, pedal, mech, face, et al. The drops are all fairly small. And the main detraction is it is so short. The drops are close together which make the timing harder, but still isn't bad. You can really just hang off the back, hold on and let the bike do its thing, with a little steering input in a few spots. Folks have made some easy lines to pick your way down, however a lot is off trail and is now eroding the bank away. So just walk it if you can't ride in the trail.

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