Fire Mountain visit- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Fire Mountain visit

    Going to hit either Pisga or Fire Mountain on the way back down to FL from Snowshoe the end of this month. From the videos I have seen, Fire Mountain looks really awesome. Can you shuttle Fire Mountain, or do even need to? If we choose Fire Mountain, we will only be riding one day, and would like to get the most out of it. Spearfinger and Kessel Run are the two main trails we want to hit, (I think there is a 3rd also) as much as possible. Any help would be appreciated.
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  2. #2
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    No shuttling needed. Climbing Spearfinger is my favorite way to the top to hit Spearfinger and Kessel descents. They are flowy, fast, and fun.

  3. #3
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    You only need 2 gears. Your lowest and your highest.
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  4. #4
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    There is a huge difference between Pisgah, and fire mountain. Yuge. Fire Mountain trails are purpose built flow trails. Pisgah isnít. Depends on what youíre looking for.


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  5. #5
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    Personally, I don't get all the hype for Fire Mountain. It's a good trail system that is well designed and fun to ride, but among the options available along your route (DuPont, Pisgah, Bent Creek), it's not one I'd go out of my way to visit unless you specifically want more XC style riding. In the context of WNC, it's not something I'd go out of my way to ride or visit especially if Brevard or Asheville are accessible on your route.

    The trails are smooth, flowy, and fairly fast, they've added a few short wood features, also, but most of the downhills have a few steep, punchy climbing sections and I find the trails get kindof repetitive after a while. If that's what you are looking for, then it's a great option, but I personally prefer the trails in the Brevard/Asheville area, where you have more extended descending and a lot more variety to choose from in length, trail surface, and type.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adodero View Post
    Personally, I don't get all the hype for Fire Mountain. It's a good trail system that is well designed and fun to ride, but among the options available along your route (DuPont, Pisgah, Bent Creek), it's not one I'd go out of my way to visit unless you specifically want more XC style riding. In the context of WNC, it's not something I'd go out of my way to ride or visit especially if Brevard or Asheville are accessible on your route.

    The trails are smooth, flowy, and fairly fast, they've added a few short wood features, also, but most of the downhills have a few steep, punchy climbing sections and I find the trails get kindof repetitive after a while. If that's what you are looking for, then it's a great option, but I personally prefer the trails in the Brevard/Asheville area, where you have more extended descending and a lot more variety to choose from in length, trail surface, and type.
    Agree 100%

  7. #7
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    If you are after flow trails, then I would checkout Bailey Mountain bike park. They have a couple of (steepish) flow trails and some harder routes as well. Shuttling included. If you are looking for brute climbs with baller descents, then checkout pisgah.

    For a semi shuttle-able trail look at kitsuma. You miss the greenway/old 70 climb, but you still have ~400+ switchbacks to climb from the dropoff to the top. It is an easy shuttle (one exit up I-40 up/down black mtn), which is uncommon of the shuttles in the area (except ridgeline at dupont). Most other shuttles take almost as long or longer than it would for a moderately fit mtber would take to climb it. But they aren't terrible for a one off shuttle, if you have a driver (who doesn't mind curvy roads).

  8. #8
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    Do people actually shuttle ridgeline?


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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by mbmb65 View Post
    Do people actually shuttle ridgeline?


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    I sure hope not


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  10. #10
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    Hey sorry for the late reply, been studying for paramedic finals. I really appreciate all the replies. It looks like we are hitting Bailey instead of Pisga or Fire Mountain. The guys I am going with have never been to Bailey before, so I guess that's where we are headed for the return trip. Dont get me wrong, I love Bailey, but after 3 days of Snowshoe, some fast, long, singletrack in the woods sounded great.
    Again, thank you, and maybe in Oct when we do our annual Ellijay Ga / Knoxville trip we can slide over to NC for either Pisga or Fire for a day.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by splitendz View Post
    Agree 100%
    Me too.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by mbmb65 View Post
    Do people actually shuttle ridgeline?


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    Apparently some people PAY to shuttle Ridgeline. XTREEEEEMMEEEEEE.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by mbmb65 View Post
    Do people actually shuttle ridgeline?


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    I've heard of people doing it with younger kids that can't make the climb out.

  14. #14
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    Fire Mountain visit

    Quote Originally Posted by BanjomanO View Post
    No shuttling needed. Climbing Spearfinger is my favorite way to the top to hit Spearfinger and Kessel descents. They are flowy, fast, and fun.
    Recently did Fire again and have determined The Undisputed Best Route: Go up Spearfinger (longer) or Fire Tower (shorter, steeper), then down Kessel. Repeat up, then down Uktena. If you want more, go up partial, then down lower Uktena. Spearfinger is strictly a climbing means, downhill is meh.

    Thatís the best flow with some more narrow, turny, variety on Uktena. Still, for anyone but novice, this is an off-day, spin activity.

    Great trail system and more in the works! With hope it wonít be just more wide-open, smooth flow.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adodero View Post
    I've heard of people doing it with younger kids that can't make the climb out.
    Yeah I have mostly seen families shuttling their kids. My wife will sometimes make me drop her off at least once if we are riding at dupont. However, this is mainly because I won't ride it with her, or will only do it once (if its part of what we are riding that day).

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Acme54321 View Post
    Apparently some people PAY to shuttle Ridgeline. XTREEEEEMMEEEEEE.
    That's hilarious. My youngest first rode the Jim Branch/Ridgeline loop when he was 5yo.. can't imagine shuttling that..

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by 29ftw View Post
    That's hilarious. My youngest first rode the Jim Branch/Ridgeline loop when he was 5yo.. can't imagine shuttling that..
    Was thinking the same thing. My oldest(now 8) rode the whole loop without walking on HER first ride in the woods at age 6. That was on a coaster brake specialized hot rock 20". Nobody should be shuttling Ridgeline.

    Edit to add: That first ride actually included Hickory as well. I believe she walked the off camber start and then one or two more times on Hickory.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Acme54321 View Post
    Apparently some people PAY to shuttle Ridgeline. XTREEEEEMMEEEEEE.
    Wow. Really?


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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adodero View Post
    I've heard of people doing it with younger kids that can't make the climb out.
    Thatís a bit pitiful. The climb out is only tough in one spot. Super walkable. The first time my son did it was on his strider. He pushed it up that part. Shuttling never crossed our minds. But, it beats sittin on the couch, I reckon.


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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by driftertom View Post
    Was thinking the same thing. My oldest(now 8) rode the whole loop without walking on HER first ride in the woods at age 6. That was on a coaster brake specialized hot rock 20". Nobody should be shuttling Ridgeline.

    Edit to add: That first ride actually included Hickory as well. I believe she walked the off camber start and then one or two more times on Hickory.
    Wow, that is impressive. Kudos to both of y'all.

    I'm impressed she was able to ride the whole thing on her first time in the woods. That is a SS bike isn't it? Which way did you go? I'm guessing you didn't ride hooker creek?

    There are parts of that loop that my wife didn't ride on some of her first rides there. Mainly some of the root steps on the uphills. But she was also gassed in certain places too. However we are piedmonters, so the elevation hurts some. She also had a little trouble on a super short rocky section at the top of ridgeline that I didn't even really notice. I think she wrecked there on her first ride.

    However, expecting that every kid or even adult is able to do it just because your kid did is a little short-sighted. For instance, I wouldn't recommend that ride to a friend asking for a first mtb ride with their 6 yr old. Well, unless I knew the kid could handle 6ish miles and 600ft of elevation change. Which means they have to have been riding on road/greenway for a while.

    Of course, I'm not saying they should shuttle it either.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by matty22c View Post
    Wow, that is impressive. Kudos to both of y'all.

    I'm impressed she was able to ride the whole thing on her first time in the woods. That is a SS bike isn't it? Which way did you go? I'm guessing you didn't ride hooker creek?

    There are parts of that loop that my wife didn't ride on some of her first rides there. Mainly some of the root steps on the uphills. But she was also gassed in certain places too. However we are piedmonters, so the elevation hurts some. She also had a little trouble on a super short rocky section at the top of ridgeline that I didn't even really notice. I think she wrecked there on her first ride.

    However, expecting that every kid or even adult is able to do it just because your kid did is a little short-sighted. For instance, I wouldn't recommend that ride to a friend asking for a first mtb ride with their 6 yr old. Well, unless I knew the kid could handle 6ish miles and 600ft of elevation change. Which means they have to have been riding on road/greenway for a while.

    Of course, I'm not saying they should shuttle it either.
    For sure. She's a beast. It was a SS rigid hot rock.

    We actually didn't plan on her riding that trip. I was showing a friend from CO DPSF and PNF. The wife and kids decided to walk up Big Rock while we pedaled to kill some time. My girl ran the whole time and finished the climb in the middle of the pack. My friends dogged me for not having her on the trails yet. I decided to send them on their way, and let her learn a bit. We moved down the road and grabbed her bike off the car(it was with us for camp use) and decided to play it by ear.

    Pedaled up Jim Branch and I couldn't believe how well it was going. We got to the Isacc Heath intersection and she was loving it. She told me "I knew it was going to be fun, but I had no idea it would be this much fun." We had only climbed to this point, so I knew she was hooked. We went down the rollers toward Buck Forest and she was hooting and hollering. We did take Hooker and I don't remember her having a problem. SHe was already competent at standing and pedaling. I think she may have wrecked on the same rock garden. Two trips are melding together and I can't remember which one she fell on. I think the fall was the second trip where we rode it twice in one day. A little over 2200ft of climbing for her that trip. She was 7 and on a much better FS Specialized Camber Grom.

    I definitely don't recommend it for a 6yo first ride, but was just illustrating the point of the climb being easy. She's ridden quite a bit for a grom. Her favorite spot was Bentonville. Least favorite was Moab, so what does she know. I'm pretty sure she liked the Burro, Hazard, and Koko sections of Whole Enchilada. The heat was killer on the low stuff though. Was trying to load some pics for proof, but keep getting errors.

  22. #22
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    Yeah that is badass. My 9 yr old would not and probably could not do it currently. She rides a decent amount around the house and greenway, but probably not enough for a mtb in the mountains. She'll mtb on some of our easier trails in Raleigh, but that is about it. My 7 yr old could do it for sure, but I doubt she would want to. Although she is getting into it mtb more. Neither of them like uphills that much and they have 5 or 6 gears.

    Of course a good amount of that is my fault. I should have them on out more, either on the greenway or trail. We have a greenway right by our house. I'm just not that into riding it, plus it gets really crowded. Last time we took them on there, some dude in a wheelchair had his pit bull pulling him down the greenway at insane speeds. He almost hit my youngest, but ended up clotheslining another biker with the dog leash and then ran her over with the wheelchair. They helped him up and he sped off down the trail again.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by matty22c View Post

    However, expecting that every kid or even adult is able to do it just because your kid did is a little short-sighted. For instance, I wouldn't recommend that ride to a friend asking for a first mtb ride with their 6 yr old. Well, unless I knew the kid could handle 6ish miles and 600ft of elevation change. Which means they have to have been riding on road/greenway for a while.

    Of course, I'm not saying they should shuttle it either.
    Iím not expecting that everyone should be able to ride it, but that itís not that hard, and it can be walked. Any way you look at it, shuttling it just seems silly.



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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by splitendz View Post
    Agree 100%
    Agree 200%

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  25. #25
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    Sounds like OP already figured it out but ill add a couple things.
    I did the fire mountain enduro earlier this year and it was fun for my first enduro race but it seemed like you would do better if you were an XC racer, some of the climbs on the "descents" are pretty steep.

    I drove 2.5 hrs to ride it and dont think id ever do it again considering dupont is 2 hrs and pisgah is more like 1.5 hrs. Just so many better options but to each their own.

    As far as bike parks are concerned you have Sugar and Beech within 20 min of each other and you have Baileys kind of a good ways the other direction. I rode Sugar last weekend and would actually recommend it over Beech especially with the fast lifts, some good trails if you like tighter tech with a fast flow to add in the mix too. Baileys is good too but its a truck shuttle to the top and it will beat you up after a full day of laps its fine just not as ideal as a lift obviously and you have to wait for a full truck of riders to collect. They only sell so many tickets per day so go online and buy your ticket ASAP they will not sell you a pass at the park if they are full. Baileys is steeper than almost everything around, that does inherently make it more difficult but it would be a shock to someone that is from Florida, but if you rode Snowshoe youll be fine and it is steeper than most of snowshoe and all of the above has shorter runs. Snowshoe is by far the best bikepark closest to NC.

    Hope that helps!

  26. #26
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    I get that those of you who are local and know the trails and have daily access to them are all about not shuttling. For the record, non of us has any problem doing whatever climbs are par for the course. I asked about shuttling only because if we ended up at either most excellent spot, we would only have a day there. So naturally, we would want to get as much riding in a day as possible. We are always very respectful to the local people and their trails where ever we go. Sounds like there is no need to shuttle at either location and we could just ride some form of loop over and over at least a few times. Just wanted to say thank you for the local advice and that we are not shuttle nazis coming in and acting like out of town jackass's. lol

  27. #27
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    Austin-NC--
    I have been to Bailey a few times since they first opened and had that cool ass military truck shuttle. I have heard that they have added a few more trails since I was last there. Hope they still have the Taco'ed Wheel taco/bike shop truck. Those guys were pretty cool.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by wideawakejake View Post
    Austin-NC--
    I have been to Bailey a few times since they first opened and had that cool ass military truck shuttle. I have heard that they have added a few more trails since I was last there. Hope they still have the Taco'ed Wheel taco/bike shop truck. Those guys were pretty cool.
    Taco'd Wheel folded a while ago, unfortunately.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by wideawakejake View Post
    I get that those of you who are local and know the trails and have daily access to them are all about not shuttling. For the record, non of us has any problem doing whatever climbs are par for the course. I asked about shuttling only because if we ended up at either most excellent spot, we would only have a day there. So naturally, we would want to get as much riding in a day as possible. We are always very respectful to the local people and their trails where ever we go. Sounds like there is no need to shuttle at either location and we could just ride some form of loop over and over at least a few times. Just wanted to say thank you for the local advice and that we are not shuttle nazis coming in and acting like out of town jackass's. lol
    It's not really about being "all about shuttling" or not. Like you said, shuttles can be nice to maximize riding when you're tired or have limited time or whatever. The problem is that here in WNC, many trails that are POSSIBLE to shuttle aren't exactly PRACTICAL to shuttle because the roads are slow and twisty, or you have to go WAY out of your way, or they don't eliminate as much of the climbing as you might like. That leaves you with a really small list of what's practical to shuttle, and the value of shuttling some of those can be questionable.

    I agree with folks who mention the questionable nature of shuttling Kitsuma. That shuttle is about as easy as it gets around here (for the driving part). The problem is that it doesn't cut out the hardest bit of climbing on the section of switchbacks. You can shuttle Bennett, but you've gotta drive up a long, twisty gravel road that just takes a bunch of time no matter how you cut it. You can shuttle Big Creek, but getting up to the parkway takes you WELL out of your way and just takes a long time. You can shuttle Ridgeline, and it's a fairly easy/short drive, but it also eliminates nice sections of trail, so again the value of shuttling it is fairly low unless you've got folks that are SUPER low fitness. There are some others where it's possible to shuttle, but the practicality is low. Folks are shuttling the new Weed Patch trail, but I haven't ridden that one yet, so I don't know how the practicality of that one compares to some others it's possible to shuttle.

    If you're SPECIFICALLY seeking stuff that's easy/practical to shuttle or use a lift, that puts you with Bailey, Beech, and Sugar.

    I will definitely say that if I'm beat on from riding a bunch of burly, chunky stuff, I really do like to seek out some smoother, flowier, more xc-oriented trails. So I do value having some of that stuff available to me as choices.

  30. #30
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    hey, thank you for that info. I will definitely keep all that in mind when I do get a chance to visit and ride.

  31. #31
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    I know this is off topic, but if you are too inexperienced to climb up Lake Imaging or Jim Branch, you shouldn't be building up the braking bumps on Ridgeline.

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