The search for the worst trail in NC is over. I found it.- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    The search for the worst trail in NC is over. I found it.

    So yesterday, an Asheville buddy of mine (who shall remain nameless to protect the guilty) took me to ride the Big Ivy area north of Asheville for the first time. He told me there were some good downhills. So we drove up and did the 8 1/2 mile gravel climb to the end of the road and then hiked in a little ways on a short trail to look at a waterfall. So far so good. Then on the way back, we decided to take a trail called Laurel Gap. The map said it would connect up with one of the good downhill trails. Laurel Gap is essentially an old double track road. Well, within a short time, it started getting overgrown. Instead of doing the logical thing and turning around, we kept on plowing through the jungle of 4 foot high weeds, complete with stinging nettles, for about 2 miles. Every time we talked about turning around, we couldn't decide whether it would be worse to keep going or to go back through the crap we had already ridden, so we kept going. After 39 minutes of this (I checked my Strava), finally got to the left turn onto Bear Pen trail, which did turn out to be a really fun downhill, but definitely not worth 40 minutes of getting attacked by weeds. Maybe in January when all the undergrowth dies back, this would be fun, but not in the summertime.

    So Laurel Gap gets my nomination for worst trail in NC. What's yours?
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  2. #2
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    I enjoy doing things that while I'm doing them I'm thinking "No one in their right mind would be doing this."

    p.s. You should prolly also avoid the Rough Creek area.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamatt View Post
    I enjoy doing things that while I'm doing them I'm thinking "No one in their right mind would be doing this."

    p.s. You should prolly also avoid the Rough Creek area.
    As I have no idea where that is, that should be easy.
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  4. #4
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    Based on this description, I'm not sure it would fit my definition of the "worst trail" anywhere. My wife would probably hate it, but it's fun doing a little "adventure" every now and again.

    Brings to mind an exploration ride I did in the Angelina NF in TX once. Saw some trails on an old topo, got confirmation from the FS district that bikes were permitted, and I set off to explore them. Got several miles in, and encountered a couple miles of trail that looked like Paul Bunyan abandoned a game of Pick up Sticks (hurricane damage). Lots of hike-a-bike (someone had started flagging a route around all the trees, but so few had used it that it was easily lost in lots of places), and my shoes fell apart that day. It was an awesome, memorable ride.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikeridesabike View Post
    As I have no idea where that is, that should be easy.
    It's the old watershed for Canton, NC around the Beaverdam community. It's a good choice Spring and Fall if you work in Waynesville and malfunction junction is gridlocked so BC isn't an option.

    Well, maybe just option sans good. I enjoy it tho'.

  6. #6
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    In Pisgah it's definitely Bradley Creek that comes to my mind as being worst, YMMV.
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  7. #7
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    I went out there in 2015. I agree with your assessment. Laurel Gap is the worst. Worse even, is back in 2015, Bear Pen and a few other trails were actually quite awesome. There were kickers and waterbars you could launch off, and washed out trails with loose rock. The USFS bulldozed them in an attempt to fix the drainage culverts and make them more singletrack (we were on Bear Pen the day they were working on it, so we decided to ask what was going on). They basically removed all the fun stuff worth making the trip for. But yeah, we took Laurel Gap and kept riding it hoping it would get better. It didn't.

    Aside from that, this area makes a nice fall ride to look at the foliage when changing color.

  8. #8
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    It was the fracking stinging nettles that made it so bad. The only saving grace was that there were not any briars in all those weeds to flatten your tire.


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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by upstateSC-rider View Post
    In Pisgah it's definitely Bradley Creek that comes to my mind as being worst, YMMV.
    +1. A yellowjacket nest every ten feet.

  10. #10
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    One does not simply ride on Bradley Creek Trail

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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    One does not simply ride on Bradley Creek Trail

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    I rode it once. It is basically an excuse to go wading in the creek with your mountain bike.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikeridesabike View Post
    I rode it once. It is basically an excuse to go wading in the creek with your mountain bike.
    Exactly what I've been told about it. Plus, I am watching LOTR lately.

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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    Exactly what I've been told about it. Plus, I am watching LOTR lately.

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    So you think the elves might conjure up a giant horse shaped flood while you are in the creek?
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikeridesabike View Post
    So you think the elves might conjure up a giant horse shaped flood while you are in the creek?
    It might happen.

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  15. #15
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    Ok. I had time to rethink this. I may switch my choice to Bridal Veil Overlook trail in DuPont.

  16. #16
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    Yeah, that one sucks too. That's why I think I only did it once.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Timothy G. Parrish View Post
    Ok. I had time to rethink this. I may switch my choice to Bridal Veil Overlook trail in DuPont.
    But at least that one has a nice view, also short enough not to get too miserable.

    Last time I was there Plantation was pretty wretched. Since they started logging so many downed trees and tree detritus.

  18. #18
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    Come on guys you ride Laurel Gap at Big Ivy in the winter only. Done. Been that way for years now.

    Last time on it I kicked up a bobcat! Rad!

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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by RDO View Post
    But at least that one has a nice view, also short enough not to get too miserable.

    Last time I was there Plantation was pretty wretched. Since they started logging so many downed trees and tree detritus.
    What view? There isn't one any more. At least not one I could find through the overgrown brush. That's half the reason it sucked.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Timothy G. Parrish View Post
    What view? There isn't one any more. At least not one I could find through the overgrown brush. That's half the reason it sucked.
    Yeah, I dragged the wife up there a couple years ago, hoping for a namesake view of Bridal Veil Falls. Nope. There was still a little bit of a view left, but it was closing in fast. No falls in that view. Lots of work for too little payoff.

    So steep that the downhill coming back is too short for all the work, too.

    But still, I must have ridden some truly awful trails in my life if this stuff just doesn't rate for me.

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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Timothy G. Parrish View Post
    What view? There isn't one any more. At least not one I could find through the overgrown brush. That's half the reason it sucked.
    I haven't done it in a couple of years, but I remember a nice mountain vista. I believe the falls were more of a sound effect.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamatt View Post
    It's the old watershed for Canton, NC around the Beaverdam community. It's a good choice Spring and Fall if you work in Waynesville and malfunction junction is gridlocked so BC isn't an option.

    Well, maybe just option sans good. I enjoy it tho'.
    Ha. I tried that, but in summer, doh! Did the climb then dropped in and bushwhacked for about 1.5hrs. At some point I climbed back out and over a fence, then fled across some guys grazing field that abutted that god forsaken watershed. It was like the nettles just took me and wouldnt let go. Im surprised I didnt bleed out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lithified View Post
    Come on guys you ride Laurel Gap at Big Ivy in the winter only. Done. Been that way for years now.

    Last time on it I kicked up a bobcat! Rad!

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    Tried that area once, fortunately, in the winter. Unfortunately, soon after climbing up from the picnic area, I took one of the first sketchy trails coming off the ridge (Fin Little Andy?), supermanned over a down tree, and landed on a rock pile. I staggered over to see Douglas Falls, but a while later found myself at an Asheville urgent care getting stitches in my elbow and a chest X-ray.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lithified View Post
    Come on guys you ride Laurel Gap at Big Ivy in the winter only. Done. Been that way for years now.

    Last time on it I kicked up a bobcat! Rad!

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    Well I know that now. Must have missed the memo before.
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  25. #25
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    Makes more sense to spin the gravel and do Bear Pen as an out-and-back then hop on Staire Creek. I have only done Laurel Gap twice and it did suck, even though it was March and not overgrown yet. Just a lousy slog and stays wet a lot.
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  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    Based on this description, I'm not sure it would fit my definition of the "worst trail" anywhere. My wife would probably hate it, but it's fun doing a little "adventure" every now and again.

    Brings to mind an exploration ride I did in the Angelina NF in TX once. Saw some trails on an old topo, got confirmation from the FS district that bikes were permitted, and I set off to explore them. Got several miles in, and encountered a couple miles of trail that looked like Paul Bunyan abandoned a game of Pick up Sticks (hurricane damage). Lots of hike-a-bike (someone had started flagging a route around all the trees, but so few had used it that it was easily lost in lots of places), and my shoes fell apart that day. It was an awesome, memorable ride.
    Are you still riding your fattie all over WNC? I'm deciding between getting a fatbike or FS. Recently sold my HT.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by AshevilleMTB View Post
    Are you still riding your fattie all over WNC? I'm deciding between getting a fatbike or FS. Recently sold my HT.
    Yep. Going to be adding an AM hardtail this fall/winter

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  28. #28
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    Signal hill in Statesville, while obviously not in the mountains, still sucks.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ashy Larry View Post
    Signal hill in Statesville, while obviously not in the mountains, still sucks.
    There's actually a trail there? I had boring work training there and I actually could have brought my bike to ride? Even if it is the worst trail in the state, it would have been a relief after listening to rambling about pesticides and insects and fungi all day.

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  30. #30
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    Bradley Creek. Definitely. Barely qualifies as a trail.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    There's actually a trail there? I had boring work training there and I actually could have brought my bike to ride? Even if it is the worst trail in the state, it would have been a relief after listening to rambling about pesticides and insects and fungi all day.

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    Might as well hop over to LKN at that point.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ashy Larry View Post
    Might as well hop over to LKN at that point.
    I don't know what that is, but I only spent one night in Statesville and didn't have much time, anyway.

  33. #33
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    All this talk about Bradley... Am I the only one who has ridden S. Mills from Squirrel to Turkey Pen?... the "no mans land" section? I'd do Bradley out and back 3 times before doing that bit of S. Mills again haha.

    Big Ivy is rad though... I go there alot in the winter when most of the Ranger district is mucky mud and wet. Its so steep and rocky there it usually handles rain/freeze-thaw better IMO.
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  34. #34
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    I vote the no man's land section of S Mills as well. Coleman/Big Ivy is rad in the winter. How about "most overrated trail in NC"? My votes are Green's Lick, Lower Black, and Headley Ridge.

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    Lake Norman State Park. There's around 30 miles or so of purpose built MTB trails there. It is the 1st MTB trail system built within a N.C. State Park.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sugar_Brad View Post
    I vote the no man's land section of S Mills as well. Coleman/Big Ivy is rad in the winter. How about "most overrated trail in NC"? My votes are Green's Lick, Lower Black, and Headley Ridge.
    What's wrong with Lower Black? (FWIW I didn't know it was so highly rated) I like it quite a bit, but I'm old, fragile and not the Farlow type.

  37. #37
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    What about Ridge Line as most overrated?
    Last edited by avlfj40; 09-05-2018 at 01:59 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Banjopickin View Post
    All this talk about Bradley... Am I the only one who has ridden S. Mills from Squirrel to Turkey Pen?... the "no mans land" section? I'd do Bradley out and back 3 times before doing that bit of S. Mills again haha.
    It's got my vote. I did it November once, and got so sick of taking my shoes off. I finally decided to just blast through one crossing and sunk myself.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sugar_Brad View Post
    I vote the no man's land section of S Mills as well. Coleman/Big Ivy is rad in the winter. How about "most overrated trail in NC"? My votes are Green's Lick, Lower Black, and Headley Ridge.
    Definitely greens lick. And Ill add Tsali and Ridgeline.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Banjopickin View Post
    All this talk about Bradley... Am I the only one who has ridden S. Mills from Squirrel to Turkey Pen?... the "no mans land" section? I'd do Bradley out and back 3 times before doing that bit of S. Mills again haha.
    Turkey to Cantrell is not too bad and I use it as part of a route for all of Squirrel East to West as well as the complete gnartrack of Horse Cove.

    I've done the section of South Mills River Cantrell to Squirrel more than once. I think it used to be better maintained because the last time I did it it seemed particularly grown over. It's kind of miserable but you get that same feeling like Laurel Gap where it's kind of hardcore to push through and do it. And that gives it points. Bradley is just misery.
    Last edited by jamatt; 09-05-2018 at 05:26 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mbmb65 View Post
    Definitely greens lick. And Ill add Tsali and Ridgeline.


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    Good call, couldn't agree more.

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    Quote Originally Posted by b-roken View Post
    What about Ridge Line as most overrated?
    It's up there for sure.

  43. #43
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    All of this begs the question: what are the truly great trails in the area, and why?

    Seriously. What is everyone's frame of reference they are using for these assessments?

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  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sugar_Brad View Post
    Good call, couldn't agree more.
    And all of Pisgah and Dupont. And France. Way over-rated.
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  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    All of this begs the question: what are the truly great trails in the area, and why?

    Seriously. What is everyone's frame of reference they are using for these assessments?

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    One of my favorites is Fletcher Creek going from the NER to the climb out to the TR lot. I love that trail. You start off with a nice flowy downhill, then have that tight trail next to the creek, then the fairly easy climb up the the last killer downhill. All good fun.

    And I like Squirrel Gap - not so much for the riding, as I have to get off every 2 minutes for another section of roots, but just for the feeling of really being out there in Pisgah. Once you commit to Squirrel, you know you are going to do a long ride that day.

    And FWIW, I like Ridgeline and Greens Lick.
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  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    All of this begs the question: what are the truly great trails in the area, and why?

    Seriously. What is everyone's frame of reference they are using for these assessments?

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    Laurel Mountain, because its got everything I like: technical climbs, technical downhill, rocks, views, the absence of lots of people, tight switchbacks, its remote-ish. Its truly a classic.


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    Fair enough. That one is one of my faves, too. Truly amazing up there if you camp at sassafras gap and ride down on a cool late spring morning.
    Quote Originally Posted by mbmb65 View Post
    Laurel Mountain, because its got everything I like: technical climbs, technical downhill, rocks, views, the absence of lots of people, tight switchbacks, its remote-ish. Its truly a classic.


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    Picking the "best" trail is subjective since we all ride for different reasons. Personally I love steep blown out tech. The steeper, faster, and rowdier the better. Upper Black, Buckwheat, Farlow... all day everyday please.

    However... If I could pick one trail to be #1 it would definitely be Turkey Pen Gap.

    1. Hard... IMO mountain biking should be a challenge (physically and mentally). TP is hard to get to and hard to ride.
    2. Remote... You aint gonna see no body on TP and its out there.
    3. Variety.... Tough climbs, hike-a-bike, techy DH, flowy DH,
    4. Reputation... everyone seems scared of that trail for some reason so when you ride it your automatically a badass
    5. Makes no sense... unless you are doing a big loop it makes no sense to ride it. If you're on TP you are midway through a big ride no matter what.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    All of this begs the question: what are the truly great trails in the area, and why?

    Seriously. What is everyone's frame of reference they are using for these assessments?

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    Flow state.

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Banjopickin View Post
    Picking the "best" trail is subjective since we all ride for different reasons.
    Of course, but then so are discussions about the "worst" trail or the "most overrated" trail. If we're talking about those things, it's also worth bracketing things by talking about what people like best, too.

    Most of the trails people are talking about here (at least, the ones I'm familiar with) don't rate at all on my "worst trail" or "overrated trail" lists. For that matter, I don't really even have an "overrated trail" list.

    So far, nothing I've ridden in NC makes my "worst trail" list at all. For me, those trails are elsewhere in the country. All time worst was a supposed mtb-specific trail built in western Louisiana on a golf resort. Terrain had some potential. Decent elevation gain and some space for several miles. But whoever built the trail didn't know wtf they were doing. Routed the trail up the steepest part of the biggest hill out there with the goal of forcing xc racers to get off their bikes and run cx-style. No bench cuts, no "finishing" any tread, nada. Trail was 100% rake 'n ride in the worst way. Any small trees that were removed were cut flush to the ground, so that as the trail compacted, the stumps poked up through the trail. The trail tread was such trash that you had to pedal to go "downhill" and there were no rocks impeding you. Just the forest duff layer and the irregularities of the soil underneath.

    The place is such crap that nobody rides there. Ever. I got 3 KOMs in 2010 out there on Strava, and I STILL have them. The last person to log that place on Strava rode it in 2015. Before that, 2012. Only 12 people have logged the place on Strava since the segment was created. A little more background - In 2009, I was diagnosed with leukemia. It got into my brain and I spent 3wks in a coma. I had to learn how to feed myself again. I was able to start riding again in 2010 after a long physical recovery. I was never really fast - midpack at best. But in 2010, I was ESPECIALLY SLOW. Even now, there's no way I'd ever get a KOM on anything. So the fact that I still have 3 KOM's at that place that I got when I was as slow as I've ever been in my life says a LOT.

    Me, I like lots of different trails, and it's gotta be truly bad for me to dislike it. And if other people say they like a trail, there's a good chance I will like it, too. As such, the overrated concept just doesn't register for me.

    Quote Originally Posted by jamatt View Post
    Flow state.
    aaaaaannnnnndddd where is that?

  51. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    Of course, but then so are discussions about the "worst" trail or the "most overrated" trail. If we're talking about those things, it's also worth bracketing things by talking about what people like best, too.

    Most of the trails people are talking about here (at least, the ones I'm familiar with) don't rate at all on my "worst trail" or "overrated trail" lists. For that matter, I don't really even have an "overrated trail" list.

    So far, nothing I've ridden in NC makes my "worst trail" list at all. For me, those trails are elsewhere in the country. All time worst was a supposed mtb-specific trail built in western Louisiana on a golf resort. Terrain had some potential. Decent elevation gain and some space for several miles. But whoever built the trail didn't know wtf they were doing. Routed the trail up the steepest part of the biggest hill out there with the goal of forcing xc racers to get off their bikes and run cx-style. No bench cuts, no "finishing" any tread, nada. Trail was 100% rake 'n ride in the worst way. Any small trees that were removed were cut flush to the ground, so that as the trail compacted, the stumps poked up through the trail. The trail tread was such trash that you had to pedal to go "downhill" and there were no rocks impeding you. Just the forest duff layer and the irregularities of the soil underneath.

    The place is such crap that nobody rides there. Ever. I got 3 KOMs in 2010 out there on Strava, and I STILL have them. The last person to log that place on Strava rode it in 2015. Before that, 2012. Only 12 people have logged the place on Strava since the segment was created. A little more background - In 2009, I was diagnosed with leukemia. It got into my brain and I spent 3wks in a coma. I had to learn how to feed myself again. I was able to start riding again in 2010 after a long physical recovery. I was never really fast - midpack at best. But in 2010, I was ESPECIALLY SLOW. Even now, there's no way I'd ever get a KOM on anything. So the fact that I still have 3 KOM's at that place that I got when I was as slow as I've ever been in my life says a LOT.

    Me, I like lots of different trails, and it's gotta be truly bad for me to dislike it. And if other people say they like a trail, there's a good chance I will like it, too. As such, the overrated concept just doesn't register for me.



    aaaaaannnnnndddd where is that?
    This is a decent write-up.

    https://www.bicycling.com/training/a...ce-of-wheeeee/

    Nothing beats the book tho'. It's thrown in with the self help genre but it's really much different.

    https://www.amazon.com/Flow-Psycholo.../dp/0061339202
    Last edited by jamatt; 09-06-2018 at 11:47 AM.

  52. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikeridesabike View Post
    One of my favorites is Fletcher Creek going from the NER to the climb out to the TR lot. I love that trail. You start off with a nice flowy downhill, then have that tight trail next to the creek, then the fairly easy climb up the the last killer downhill. All good fun.

    And I like Squirrel Gap - not so much for the riding, as I have to get off every 2 minutes for another section of roots, but just for the feeling of really being out there in Pisgah. Once you commit to Squirrel, you know you are going to do a long ride that day.

    And FWIW, I like Ridgeline and Greens Lick.
    Fletcher is rad. Had a few close calls with horses though... And I like Ridgeline and Green's lick...just don't think Green's lick deserves the "I survived Green's lick" t shirt lol. I wouldn't want to shuttle Ridgeline all day either.

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    My favorite single trail is Sinkhole. Lots of bang for the buck and variety. It was the first trail I rode back in the early 2000's. It's a good day when you can clean it top to bottom.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Banjopickin View Post
    All this talk about Bradley... Am I the only one who has ridden S. Mills from Squirrel to Turkey Pen?... the "no mans land" section? I'd do Bradley out and back 3 times before doing that bit of S. Mills again haha.
    Is S. Mills Squirrel to Turkey Pen any better than Turkey Pen to Squirrel?

  55. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by VegasSingleSpeed View Post
    Is S. Mills Squirrel to Turkey Pen any better than Turkey Pen to Squirrel?
    No. Its easier going from TP to Squirrel on S. Mills.
    On your left!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Banjopickin View Post
    No. Its easier going from TP to Squirrel on S. Mills.
    Thanks. I was wondering 'how could this trail get any worse?', and you answered it: ride it the other direction

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    Quote Originally Posted by b-roken View Post
    What about Ridge Line as most overrated?
    Ill agree, im not a native. But vist twice a year. Id rather take Jim branch down than Ridgeline. Granted its my wife's first "downhill" a few years ago, now she's board with it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cerberus75 View Post
    Ill agree, im not a native. But vist twice a year. Id rather take Jim branch down than Ridgeline. Granted its my wife's first "downhill" a few years ago, now she's board with it.

    Honestly, Jim Branch is kinda flat as an uphill, but I guess it could be nice going down. Ridgeline is fun if you can speed. So forgot about it on the weekend and on packed days. Is it the greatest downhill in the area? My opinion would be no. I personally love Daniel Ridge in Pisgah and the down from Burnt Mountain but it is still fun.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vespasianus View Post
    Honestly, Jim Branch is kinda flat as an uphill, but I guess it could be nice going down. Ridgeline is fun if you can speed. So forgot about it on the weekend and on packed days. Is it the greatest downhill in the area? My opinion would be no. I personally love Daniel Ridge in Pisgah and the down from Burnt Mountain but it is still fun.
    My wife and I mainly night ride Lake Imaging area, i woulnt call any of it a good downhill but our parks close at sunset. So its a nice treat.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cerberus75 View Post
    My wife and I mainly night ride Lake Imaging area, i woulnt call any of it a good downhill but our parks close at sunset. So its a nice treat.

    Yeah, at night, with the trees and turns, Jim Branch could be really challenging!
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  61. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    All of this begs the question: what are the truly great trails in the area, and why?

    Seriously. What is everyone's frame of reference they are using for these assessments?
    My "frame of reference" for my new found Tennessee and western NC trails Is rather simple.

    1) Are the thorns cut back enough so my arms and legs don't bleed without having to cover up from ankle to wrists. I have no body armor,

    2) Can I make It up at least half of the climbs without doing the hike a bike thing. I don't mind doing a little hiking and bike pushing but I came up the hard way out of Boyds Gap In the Ocoee Gorge and just pushing the bike out of the gap without stopping was more than I could accomplish.

    3) Is the trail a challenge without risking death or extreme Injury ?

    Brush Creek and Jack Rabbit are both fun to me as I do not need the thrill of possible death on some black diamond trail with a name thats suppose to frighten people.
    https://www.singletracks.com/bike-tr...ush-creek.html
    https://www.singletracks.com/bike-trails/boyds-gap.html

    Jack rabbit Is a nice set of loops, most all green trails with a few Blue ones.
    https://www.singletracks.com/bike-tr...it-trails.html
    "Jackrabbit is a very beginner-friendly trail network and features gentle ups and downs, and is very twisty and very fast! There are very few obstacles, and essentially no technical riding, and very little climbing. However, the flow of this place totally makes up for it!"
    I found some good climbing workout sections at Jack Rabbit. The place stood out for me as a great place to do Intervals, just the right amount of up hill leg burn and down hill rest mixed with level spin time.
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    I think Ridgeline is so highly rated because everyone can ride it, it's easy to get to, and it's fast. For most folks that come from out of town, it's one of their first experiences riding in the mountains. For locals, though, it gets old really fast. I know I loved it when I rode it the first time, now, meh, I'd rather climb it. I much prefer coming down Jim Branch, I think it's a lot more fun, not nearly as beat up, and there are some more interesting alternate lines, although it does suck when it's a busy day and everyone is climbing up it.

    I think anything in Bent Creek deserves the overrated category. I have friends that come from out of town and ONLY ride Bent Creek for a week. I don't get it, such a waste. Personally, I feel like it's a lot of effort for little reward, it's over crowded, and frankly there is a level of sketch there that I just find not fun. It's not that it's a technical sketchiness, it's more like you can get going so fast that you are either going to run into someone or hit some section of the trail that just seems out of place (that lower section of Ingles Field and that gap on Wolf Branch, for example, seems like that's just trouble waiting to happen).

    Personally, I really like Trace and Squirrel. I think Trace has a lot of variety, which makes it interesting, I feel like you get a little bit of everything and it handles water well. For Squirrel, I like how remote it is, the terrain is fairly different compared to the rest of Pisgah, and you have a handful of forks you can take that are interesting too (I like Laurel, also).

    During the winter, I ride the hatchery a fair bit. I really like Butter Gap and Cat Gap, but Butter kindof sucks when you have to climb back out at the end. I also feel like Cove Creek is underrated despite being fairly easy/approachable, it's a nice intro for folks that haven't ridden in Pisgah before.

  63. #63
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    ya'll are gonna have all new worst trails


    as soon as hurricane dickface gets done....mid week

    good luck with it, be safe.
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    Climbing Ridgeline, at least on a weekend, is a bad idea. That is one trail that I think should be designated as one way for sure.

    And even worse than climbing Ridgeline are people that go hiking on these fast flow trails on weekends with fracking earbuds so that they can't hear someone coming up behind them. Anybody that dumb deserves to be run over.

    I started this thread as a light-hearted attempt to bitch about one particular ride. I had no idea that anyone would ride a reason to complain about Ridgeline or Jim Branch or Bent Creek, etc. I would say that if you are whining about those trails, then you really don't appreciate what we have in this area. There are people that would kill to live within 200 miles of some of these trails that you are dissing.
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  65. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by 127.0.0.1 View Post
    ya'll are gonna have all new worst trails


    as soon as hurricane dickface gets done....mid week

    good luck with it, be safe.
    Ugh. No joke. Better get out and ride now.

    Quote Originally Posted by mikeridesabike View Post
    Climbing Ridgeline, at least on a weekend, is a bad idea. That is one trail that I think should be designated as one way for sure.

    And even worse than climbing Ridgeline are people that go hiking on these fast flow trails on weekends with fracking earbuds so that they can't hear someone coming up behind them. Anybody that dumb deserves to be run over.

    I started this thread as a light-hearted attempt to bitch about one particular ride. I had no idea that anyone would ride a reason to complain about Ridgeline or Jim Branch or Bent Creek, etc. I would say that if you are whining about those trails, then you really don't appreciate what we have in this area. There are people that would kill to live within 200 miles of some of these trails that you are dissing.
    I like Ridgeline, but it's a good case study in poor implementation. The redesign definitely increased speeds on it, and I think that's a poor idea right at the trailhead, without adjusting the management of said trail. A trail so close to a busy trailhead with speeds as can be so easily achieved on Ridgeline should be one-way bike-only. Put Ridgeline a couple miles away from a major TH, and the lower traffic alone would improve safety. But being so close to the TH, and permitting 2-way multiple use traffic, the redesign should have incorporated aspects to slow down descending riders. Management bears some responsibility there for permitting the redesign to occur as it did.

  66. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adodero View Post
    , it's over crowded, and frankly there is a level of sketch there that I just find not fun. It's not that it's a technical sketchiness, it's more like you can get going so fast that you are either going to run into someone or hit some section of the trail that just seems out of place (that lower section of Ingles Field and that gap on Wolf Branch, for example, seems like that's just trouble waiting to happen).
    Yeah you aint kidding!

    I hardly ever ride BC but did last Tuesday for a change and coming over that one roller into that last bit of Ingles I nearly ate shit... That first roller is crazy lippy and your blind into a rock garden. If you didnt know the trail well you could get really hurt. Someone oughta take a shovel to that lip and mellow it out. I could totally see a beginner or someone new to the trail going too fast and OTB into a world of hurt on that. That section is too fast for such a feature...

    And whats with folks standing in the trail hanging out? Happened 3 times that ride... I was moving at a good pace and came around a corner to find Joey Bronsonrider and his pals having a meeting dead center of the trail on Wolf Branch. I had to lock it down to not hit them and one dude had the nerve to be like "Awesome man... Send it!" or some nonsense.

    Ok... complaint-fest is over haha.

    Stay safe out there folks and please keep your head up...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Banjopickin View Post
    Yeah you aint kidding!

    I hardly ever ride BC but did last Tuesday for a change and coming over that one roller into that last bit of Ingles I nearly ate shit... That first roller is crazy lippy and your blind into a rock garden. If you didnt know the trail well you could get really hurt. Someone oughta take a shovel to that lip and mellow it out. I could totally see a beginner or someone new to the trail going too fast and OTB into a world of hurt on that. That section is too fast for such a feature...
    The incompetence demonstrated on that section of trail borders negligence. I have no idea what the Joiners at SORBA were thinking other than "cool someone gave us a bulldozer, let's **** something up." That section had been the same for the 15 plus years I've been riding BC and it had organically evolved really nicely with clear climbing and descending lines. Now, with the rock "armoring" which is awful work (are you supposed to ride the rocks?) they've directed the climbing line to cross the descending line if even such things exist any more and that lip at the top is awful as well. I know SORBA has a consumptive sanitizing approach to trails where everything needs to be ride-able FIRST TIME EVERY TIME but that's just a mess. Plus the way people are actually riding it to avoid the cluster**** of how they're supposed to ride it is causing even worse linear track erosion and subsequent sedimentation which I'm assuming was the driver behind the work to begin with.

    And they left a huge trash pile at the top of Wolf Branch to boot.

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    I totally agree about the work at the bottom on Ingles Field, it's tragic. I completely understand the need to re-work unsustainable sections of trail, but WTF? That section used to be one of my favorite things in BC, now I actively avoid it is as it just doesn't make any sense from a riding perspective.

  69. #69
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    My current favorite trail (subject to change) is Avery by way of Clawhammer/Black. Lots of tech, but all rideable and fun. And the climb back up to add Bennet isn't too bad.

    Other honorable mentions go out to all of Black thanks to the recent work on the upper section, Butter Gap with Cat Gap (in season) for the scenery, and Heartbreak just because it's such a nice, long run with a little bit of everything. And if you shuttle, a Kitsuma loop isn't too tough to add on.
    "Get busy living, or get busy dying"

  70. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikeridesabike View Post
    Climbing Ridgeline, at least on a weekend, is a bad idea. That is one trail that I think should be designated as one way for sure.

    ...

    I started this thread as a light-hearted attempt to bitch about one particular ride. I had no idea that anyone would ride a reason to complain about Ridgeline or Jim Branch or Bent Creek, etc. I would say that if you are whining about those trails, then you really don't appreciate what we have in this area. There are people that would kill to live within 200 miles of some of these trails that you are dissing.
    Yea, I don't make a habit of climbing Ridgeline especially this time of year or when it's busy. I was just pointing out that there are other downhills that take you back to the same area that I enjoy doing more and I've found Ridgeline to get old somewhat fast.

    You are right that we're lucky to live here, for sure, and have the variety we do, but that doesn't mean we can't have a discussion on which trails are overrated. In fact, I'd rather we do so, because it helps people coming to visit choose where to ride. I hate talking to people that came up here to ride and didn't get the most out of it because they were given poor advice on where to go and rode something they felt was kindof 'meh'. I feel like a lot of people that go to ride Bent Creek, then do DuPont or Pisgah wish they had spent the time/effort doing more of DuPont or Pisgah than BC.

    I'd much rather tell someone planning a trip up here that Bent Creek is overrated, send them somewhere with less climbing, more reward, less occupied, and closer to what they are looking for. I've heard a lot of folks trip planning here talk about wanting to do Green's Lick because of videos they saw online, mtbproject, etc, but not really pay much attention to what is around the rest of the area.

    I don't think it's unreasonable for us to say or judge it as overrated given that we've probably ridden the majority of the trails in the area. Doesn't mean we aren't grateful for what we have nearby, but that the hype surrounding the trails there just doesn't live up to what the rest of this area has to offer IMO.

    Quote Originally Posted by Banjopickin View Post
    I hardly ever ride BC but did last Tuesday for a change and coming over that one roller into that last bit of Ingles I nearly ate shit... That first roller is crazy lippy and your blind into a rock garden. If you didnt know the trail well you could get really hurt. Someone oughta take a shovel to that lip and mellow it out. I could totally see a beginner or someone new to the trail going too fast and OTB into a world of hurt on that. That section is too fast for such a feature...
    Yea, I'm pretty sure that's the section a new-ish rider was seriously hurt on a week or two ago.

    It's always been kindof sketchy, though, mainly because of the speed you can carry through it. I think it was a bit less sketchy before the work was done, though.

  71. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adodero View Post
    During the winter, I ride the hatchery a fair bit. I really like Butter Gap and Cat Gap, but Butter kindof sucks when you have to climb back out at the end. I also feel like Cove Creek is underrated despite being fairly easy/approachable, it's a nice intro for folks that haven't ridden in Pisgah before.
    I agree with cove creek being underrated. One of my favorite rides in Pisgah is to park at the hatchery - ride over to the cove creak trail and ride up. Take that over to Daniel ridge and do the down up down loop of Daniel and ride back to the hatchery lot. Not a huge ride nor overtly technical in any way but hell of a lot of fun!
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    Speaking of Ingles Field, it looks like SORBA came back to that spot and made some changes to it. Looks like they smoothed out the rock armoring and buried most if not all of it with soil. They put some photos up on Facebook on the 8th showing the work done. Haven't ridden it yet. All bets are off with Florence this weekend, I think.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikeridesabike View Post
    Maybe in January when all the undergrowth dies back, this would be fun, but not in the summertime.

    So Laurel Gap gets my nomination for worst trail in NC. What's yours?
    lol, yeah. That one is definitely a winter-only trail. And not only is it overgrown, but the surface is pure energy-sucking moss in places, making it like riding on a 6 in thick wet sponge. Fun times.

    It is much better after things die back - worth the slog to get to Bear Pen last time I went, imho. But not from about June - September!

    If upper Cantrell Creek hasn't been re-worked it might get my vote.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbwnc View Post
    If upper Cantrell Creek hasn't been re-worked it might get my vote.
    Was talking to a guy at the top of Cedar Mtn in Dupont yesterday, and he said his so-far only trip to Pisgah, he tried riding up Cantrell and was not pleased with his selection.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vespasianus View Post
    I agree with cove creek being underrated. One of my favorite rides in Pisgah is to park at the hatchery - ride over to the cove creak trail and ride up. Take that over to Daniel ridge and do the down up down loop of Daniel and ride back to the hatchery lot. Not a huge ride nor overtly technical in any way but hell of a lot of fun!
    This is my wife an I's favorite quick morning ride before breakfast. Interesting enough to make the climb fun, coming back down is fun if you stay off the brakes.

  76. #76
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    Excellent thread folks !!!

    Tuned in.

    I'm tuning in as I just got back from Pisgah area and was blown away by how great your trails are. Farlow, Bennett, Black, Laural, etc - all classics.

    Planning a trip back and want to map out some good runs. Looking to piece together a few 4 to 5 hour rides for my next visit. I'm totally cool with hitting stuff more than once.

  77. #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miker J View Post
    Excellent thread folks !!!

    Tuned in.

    I'm tuning in as I just got back from Pisgah area and was blown away by how great your trails are. Farlow, Bennett, Black, Laural, etc - all classics.

    Planning a trip back and want to map out some good runs. Looking to piece together a few 4 to 5 hour rides for my next visit. I'm totally cool with hitting stuff more than once.

    4-5 hour rides for the strong rider:

    1) Laurel-Pilot-Slate Rock. This is my favorite Pisgah Ride.
    2) Up Black the whole way Buckwheat Bennet. "The Big Nasty."
    3) IN SEASON ONLY: Old Toll Road>Heartbreak. This ride can be a challenge logistically when Ridgecrest isn't letting riders through and can't ride during bear hunting season.
    4) Squirkey. AKA South Mills > Mullinax > Squirrel> SMR> Buckhorn> Black>Turkey.
    5) The Fast Day. Start in Bent Creek. I'm not going to name every trail in this ride too many. Climb to Five Points down Hickory or Green's Lick. Gravel over the Gap . Spencer>Spencer>Fletcher>Reservoir>5000 back over the Gap. Lower sidehill and then Explorer>Pine Tree>Small Creek>Homestead back to your car.

    Off the top of my head those are some good ones.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Miker J View Post
    Excellent thread folks !!!

    Tuned in.

    I'm tuning in as I just got back from Pisgah area and was blown away by how great your trails are. Farlow, Bennett, Black, Laural, etc - all classics.

    Planning a trip back and want to map out some good runs. Looking to piece together a few 4 to 5 hour rides for my next visit. I'm totally cool with hitting stuff more than once.
    I put up a ride on MTB Project called "The Great Eight." It's in the Squirrel Gap/South Mills River area. It's definitely a 4-5 hour ride and hits some really unique stuff.

  79. #79
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamatt View Post
    I put up a ride on MTB Project called "The Great Eight." It's in the Squirrel Gap/South Mills River area. It's definitely a 4-5 hour ride and hits some really unique stuff.
    Speaking of MTBProject, I finally got around to submitting some edits for the Avery Creek/Buckhorn Gap area. Avery Creek Trail was submitted incorrectly, and that section of Buckhorn Gap Trail between Avery Creek Rd. and Clawhammer Rd. had never been submitted. No idea how long it'll take them to apply the edits to the GPS data for Avery Creek Trail, since I had to e-mail the .gpx file over. That area has been correct on Trailforks for some time, of course.

  80. #80
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikeridesabike View Post
    So Laurel Gap gets my nomination for worst trail in NC. What's yours?
    So, I'm floating this back to the top because I'd like to change my vote to agree with you Mike.

    Typically, I only visit Big Ivy in Fall and/or Spring. Well, since we've had this odd spell of fall temperatures this week, I decided to grab a friend and head on over. The typical route I take traverses the first third of Laurel, and the last third of Laurel. The middle section gets skipped, well, because there's only so much suck I can endure on that trail in one day. With summer here, ALL of this trail is COVERED in stinging nettles. Not some sections, not one section, but ALL of it. Shoulder high in most places. My knuckles, hands, and shins were on FIRE on most of this segment of our ride. I have never seen any other place in our region with so many of these plants. :-\

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    Don't say I didn't warn you!
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikeridesabike View Post
    Don't say I didn't warn you!
    I'm in the process of adding it to MTB Project. I gave it one star because zero wasn't an option.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Timothy G. Parrish View Post
    I'm in the process of adding it to MTB Project. I gave it one star because zero wasn't an option.
    Looks lovely

  84. #84
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    Quote Originally Posted by Timothy G. Parrish View Post
    My knuckles, hands, and shins were on FIRE on most of this segment of our ride.
    Back almost 20yrs ago (prob 18-19), I was doing some field work in college and had to pass through a field of nettles. shoulder height. I was well covered in long pants/long sleeves. My hands were not. The nettles got me so bad that my hands were numb/tingly for probably 8hrs afterwards. You prob have that or similar to look forward to.

    Quote Originally Posted by Timothy G. Parrish View Post
    I'm in the process of adding it to MTB Project. I gave it one star because zero wasn't an option.
    I think I see nature's nettles remedy in there! Get you some of that jewelweed and get some relief!

  85. #85
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    Fun fact: Jewel Weed deactivates the stinging. Usually it grows next to or with Stinging Nettles.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sugar_Brad View Post
    Fun fact: Jewel Weed deactivates the stinging. Usually it grows next to or with Stinging Nettles.
    Non-fun fact: There's nothing fun about rummaging through a bunch of stinging nettles to find Jewel weed.

  87. #87
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    Meh, that place is covered in jewel weed. Why don't you guys go through the proper channels and organize a work day for the trails you complain about. Just sayin.

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