• 12-14-2014
    Duckman
    So I rode Bracken Mtn today
    Wasn't what I expected. Reminded me of the Western Carolina college trails. Buff, wide, rollers, switchbacks, and fast. Also like the college trails, its steep in places, and hits you right from the beginning. I like a good warmup if I can..which is hard to do there. Its like..bam, your going straight up right from the TH, and close to MHR(at least I was) soon after(see:warmup if at all possible for this old guy). Repeat for the next 30 minutes lol. Ended up climbing both sides to the yellow connector(blue and red routes).

    Found everything there ride-able, but I did have to focus on not blowing up sometimes, esp on some of the early blue trail sections. That plus a couple-few steep switchbacks makes for a bit of a challenge here and there. Beautiful open cove views while climbing up the red side. Nice winter views from the top of blue.

    Was also surprised to see one can ride from there all the way to the Fish Hatchery. Thats awesome.
  • 12-15-2014
    wncbiker
    So far I have ridden there twice. Both times I did a mix surface loop that started at the ranger station, pavement to the fish hatchery, gated road up to the top of Bracken, down Bracken into town, and then return by bikeway/Estoe Trail. The ride up from the hatchery is about 7 miles of rolling gated road.
  • 12-15-2014
    -Mueller-
    From what Todd (designer & builder) explained to me, the reason the trail is so steep from the trailhead is because the easement (I think from the music center) is a very narrow parcel for the first portion. It's such a narrow corridor that there was very little room to contour the trail and spread out the climbing. Once you get past the switchbacks with the crib walls, it opens up and the trail has a lot more room to breathe.

    I haven't been for a couple years but I'd like to go back and see how it's settled in.
  • 12-15-2014
    Duckman
    Makes perfect sense regarding the narrow corridor at the start. I was wondering that very thing yesterday after climbing it, that theres got to be a reason.

    I wasn't even aware of a bike path from the campground going over to town. Need to check that out next time.
  • 12-15-2014
    Woodman
    Easement is from a private land owner who lives in NY, not from the Music center. Mayor Jimmy Harris is to thank for personally dealing with the lady who owns the land the easement is on. But you are correct, the easement is very narrow and lot a lot of room for more linear distance to gain the elevation at the start.

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by -Mueller- View Post
    From what Todd (designer & builder) explained to me, the reason the trail is so steep from the trailhead is because the easement (I think from the music center) is a very narrow parcel for the first portion. It's such a narrow corridor that there was very little room to contour the trail and spread out the climbing. Once you get past the switchbacks with the crib walls, it opens up and the trail has a lot more room to breathe.

    I haven't been for a couple years but I'd like to go back and see how it's settled in.

  • 12-16-2014
    sethdem
    Although it's a tough entry climb, I think Bracken is well worth the climb. Once you are at the very top, it's a nice long fast descent. If you climb up red, then descend blue it keeps most of the climbing gradual and makes for a real fun downhill.

    I've done Bracken as a destination as well as combined it with Ranger station or fish hatchery. The gravel road down to fish hatchery is fine going down, but not a ton of fun climbing up after a long ride. (especially when the ride included the long route to Farlow in the rain).