Quick loop routing advice for Pisgah & Bent Creek- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Quick loop routing advice for Pisgah & Bent Creek

    Hey all:

    Coupla West Coast based, all-mountain Evil riders coming your way this weekend. Been there once before and had to come back for more WNC goodness! Desiring combos of gnarly technical descents or rippingly fast/flowy ones, with whatever climbing we need to make it happen. Last trip there, rode a big Turkey Pen/Squirrel Gap loop, and a shorter Cove Creek/Daniel's Ridge loop. Both were sweet! Have read the suggested routes on Pisgah Sorba website, have the maps and are adventurous, but need some quick advice:

    1) Best 2-3 hr Bent Creek loop for post arrival, Sat late afternoon with as many good descents as possible. Considering: Park at Rice Pinnacle, then up Wolf Branch=>Ingles Field=>North Boundary=>Down Green's Lick=>up Sidehill=>up Little Hickory Top=>down Ingles Field=>down Wolf Branch. Concerned w a 4p start, that this may take longer than we'd like. Typical expected duration? Anything better but shorter in Bent Creek with maybe less climbing but still some good descents?

    2) Planning on a Long Branch/Farlow/Daniels Ridge loop Sunday. All good here.

    3) Need a lighter ~4 hour loop before flights out of AVL around 2p. Wanted to ride Black Mountain, but not sure of best loop?

    4) Fav restaurant and pub in Brevard and in Asheville.

    Thanks all very much for any thoughts. Anybody wanna ride with us, please PM. Stoked to get out your way again!

  2. #2
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    Your first day looks good for a 2-3 hr ride and you should have plenty of light. Second day looks good just be aware that most of the stuff on the South side of the Davidson river is seasonal. As for your final day you will get a lot of opinions. The easiest way would be to park at the Ranger station on 276 and head to 477 then up Clawhammer at the stables. You can branch off to Maxwell and do Middle black or head to upper black/ buckhorn Gap and do either upper black Southeast or head Northwest. Northwest would open up Avery Creek or Buckwheat/Bennet Gap. My personal opinion would be to climb Avery Creek and Buckhorn instead of Clawhammer to avoid easy mind numbing gravel but that's just me. Welcome back and have a great trip.

  3. #3
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    PS can't help you on the pub but Nine Mile is our favorite restaurant in AVL. You will get lots of opinions on that too. If you are in need of a bike shop I recommend Sycamore, the Hub, Squatch Bikes and Motion Makers. I know staff at the shops listed and they will take good care of you. There are other good shops in the area and some not so good ones to say the least. Again you will get different opinions so it's all good.

  4. #4
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    Thanks SugarBrad! Super helpful

  5. #5
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    Hub is a good place for beers coming out of Pisgah after Daniels/Farlow...a lot of people having post ride beers

    Sent from my XT1585 using Tapatalk

  6. #6
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    Also, an alternative to Bent Creek would be Mills River. The time of day you are trying to ride is probably the busiest. Parking will most likely be full at Rice Pinnacle.

    Here is our go to pre work 1.5-2hr ride:
    From 191 South go past Bent Creek to the next light. Head South on the parkway for roughly 7 miles. After the second tunnel take the first left which is Bent Creek Gap. It is just after the Bad Fork Overlook. Park at the top near the gate for 5000 without blocking it. Ride down 5000 for roughly 1 mile and take the second right onto 5000B. Climb that for about a mile and take a right on Spencer Gap. Climb that for 1.7 miles until the Trace/Spencer intersection. Go left and stay Straight for Trace Ridge or immediately right for Spencer Gap. We usually take Spencer then Fletcher all the way to never ending road. Climb never ending road to the upper parking lot for Trace. For bonus trail take Lower Trace to Wash Creek. Make sure you make the left at the junction of lower trace and Wash Creek or you will get wet and run out of daylight most likely. Take Wash Creek to never ending Rd and immediately left back onto 5000. Take 5000 back to Bent Creek Gap. To cut about 30 min you can take Trace Ridge instead of Spencer Branch.

  7. #7
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    Awesome! Thanks a lot.

  8. #8
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    Ecusta Brewing has better beers than the Hub and is right across the street...

    Farlow/Daniels is a must do! so Is Laurel Mtn./Pilot Rock.. that could be your 4 hr ride before leaving. North Mills (Trace Ridge, Spencer Branch) area is a little mellower than Pisgah proper but is also super fun and closer to AVL and could be your 4 hour ride as well if you take your time. Your Bent Creek ride is a solid one so thats good.

    There arent too many bad restaurants in AVL. 9 Mile, Universal Joint, Sunny Pointe, many many awesome food trucks... it really depends on what you want and what your close too.
    On your left!

  9. #9
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    So many choices, not enough time. You guys have it good out there! Thank, Banjo.

  10. #10
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    Quick loop routing advice for Pisgah & Bent Creek

    For Farlow, is Cat Gap Loop seasonally closed on April 15 so no access to Long Branch now? Any wiggle room? Do you guys just typically ride up roads 475 and Pilot Mtn Rd (229) to get to Farlow after the seasonal closure?

  11. #11
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    Yep Cat is closed...

    You can still ride Long Branch but have to either turn around at Cat, or halfway down LB you take a left on the gravel road and back out to 475.

    And there are many ways to do Farlow but if you have not done it yet Pilot Mtn road is the only way...

    Have fun!
    On your left!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nsteele View Post
    For Farlow, is Cat Gap Loop seasonally closed on April 15 so no access to Long Branch now? Any wiggle room? Do you guys just typically ride up roads 475 and Pilot Mtn Rd (229) to get to Farlow after the seasonal closure?
    Yes, as mentioned by banjo it is closed and no, I don't think there is wiggle room. Too bad as both Cat gap and long branch are fun!
    It is the Right of the People to Alter or to Abolish It.

  13. #13
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    Worth parking at bottom of 137 at 475 where Daniel ends, then riding that gravel rd 5095 to ride half of Long Branch before hitting rd 475 and continuing on up to Farlow?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nsteele View Post
    1) Best 2-3 hr Bent Creek loop for post arrival, Sat late afternoon with as many good descents as possible. Considering: Park at Rice Pinnacle, then up Wolf Branch=>Ingles Field=>North Boundary=>Down Green's Lick=>up Sidehill=>up Little Hickory Top=>down Ingles Field=>down Wolf Branch. Concerned w a 4p start, that this may take longer than we'd like. Typical expected duration? Anything better but shorter in Bent Creek with maybe less climbing but still some good descents?
    As other's have said, Saturday afternoon is going to be quite busy at Bent Creek. Expect limited to no parking a Rice Pinnacle parking lot at that time on Saturday. You will most certainly encounter lots of hikers, canines and other riders on your way out/in on Wolf Branch. There will be a moderate amount of traffic on Ingles Field, with considerably less traffic on the other trails (green's lick, sidehill and little hickory).

    Another consideration to make is that we just got a bunch of rain here. While it's supposed to be mostly sunny through Sunday, there will be the usual standing water / mud holes in the higher traffic, poorly draining spots on Wolf Branch.

    To eliminate some of the traffic and mud, you can park at Ledford Branch trail head, and take the alternate way up to 5-points and Green's Lick. Directions are...from Ledford Branch parking, take Ledford Branch Rd -> 479F -> Ingles Field Connector -> Ingles Field Gap and then continue on your planned route. On the return trip, just take Ingles Field Gap all the way to the bottom so you get to hit rowdier section you skipped on the way up. When you hit gravel at the bottom of Ingles Field Gap, take a right and head back to the car on 479E / Ledford Branch Rd.

    Honestly, Wolf Branch is nothing special and unless you're really trying to hit as much single track as possible while getting up to Green's Lick, I would just skip it. If you do skip Wolf Branch and want more single track time, do another lap up to top of Ingles Field Gap and back down. Minimal pain, maximum pleasure.

    Either route you choose, you'll be plenty content and warmed up for the bigger and better stuff you're planning to hit later in the weekend.

    In terms of duration, you should plan on it taking 90 minutes +/- 20 depending on your pace and stops. If you start at 4, you can do this ride twice before dark

    Enjoy!

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Banjopickin View Post
    Ecusta Brewing has better beers than the Hub and is right across the street...
    I couldn't agree more.

    If you're a MTB rider with a drinking problem, go to Ecusta. Their beer is top notch and properly served in a pint glass!

    If you're a drinker with a MTB problem, go to the Hub. Their gear/beer selection is more than adequate, but your beer will likely be served in a plastic cup or a can.

    For what it's worth, I usually end up going to both places

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nsteele View Post
    Worth parking at bottom of 137 at 475 where Daniel ends, then riding that gravel rd 5095 to ride half of Long Branch before hitting rd 475 and continuing on up to Farlow?
    That would be backwards since the top of LB is off of 475.

    The best way to do Farlow....

    Park at the Hatchery and go up 475b and ride Cove Creek to the big creek crossing. Before the creek, bust a right up the obvious trail and that connects you to 225. Left on 225 and ride that until it dead ends. Take the obvious trail on the left to connect to Daniels and go right (or left if you want, its less technical) and ride down Daniels. bust a right up 475 to Gloucester Gap and take a right up 229 (Pilot Mtn. Rd) to Farlow. Down Farlow, right onto Daniels again and then right back up to Long Branch. Left halfway down LB onto 5095 then right on 475 then right on Davidson River Tr. back to Fish Hatchery...

    Thats my way to do it. I like doing Daniels twice but you dont have to. You can skip the Cove Creek/Daniels bit and just go straight up to Farlow.

    Doing that loop including Daniels twice is around 30 miles or so...
    On your left!

  17. #17
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    Lol. That's a great distinction.

    It's awesome to get such useful local knowledge from everyone. Thanks a lot guys for all the help. Super stoked to get out there! Gonna hit Knoxville too- Devil's Racetrack and other fun in Urban Wilderness/Baker Creek - before heading your way.

  18. #18
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    That's a great loop idea for Farlow. Thanks. Did Cove Creek/Daniels once and it was fun. We'll see if we have the legs for 30 that day.

  19. #19
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    That's the way I prefer Farlow as well.

  20. #20
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    Where are you planning on staying? If you're in Brevard area you could always ride the front of the forest instead of Bent Creek, Thrift/Lower Black mtn, Upper and Lower Sycamore, Grassy. Really in whatever order, they are all good both ways. You won't have to deal with much trail traffic that way and the trails are really good, all about 20 minute up/down loops so you can go as long or short as you like.

  21. #21
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    Cool. Thanks for the idea. That could work too.

  22. #22
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    Followed this route yesterday... was super easy to follow it using Avenza and Trailforks as backup. Thanks for the route advice Banjo; got a great 40 mile (4.3K ft) ride in!

    Farlow was definitely the highlight... the beginning DH was so gnarly/fun and the flowy section on the second half was fast AF!

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