Weekend trip to Fire Mtn - places to stay- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Weekend trip to Fire Mtn - places to stay

    My riding buddy and his 13yr old son are thinking about a weekend trip to Fire Mtn...maybe go up early on. Saturday and ride and then rent a cabin or someplace close by and do a Sunday ride before coming home.

    We just started riding last year but are really comfortable on almost all types of trails and features except gap jumps. His son is getting better and better and will just walk or bypass a feature if itís a decent sized drop or something really funky. From what we read Fire Mtn is a blast.

    Anykne know now if any places to rent in that area?

    Does this type of weekend trip sound reasonable? We would be coming up from N Ga - we live a mile from Blankets Creek trail system in GA.

    Thanks!!!

  2. #2
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    Great choice! I live just over the mountain from Cherokee in Waynesville and spend a good amount of time over there. We actually have a small guest cottage on our property that we rent out via AirBnB (link here), though it's better suited to two people than three honestly - unless you don't mind one person sleeping on an air bed... Typically we're fully booked on the weekends but it's actually open for next weekend. Feel free to shoot me a PM if you're interested/have questions.

    Alternatively, I'd recommend looking at Bryson City, there's quite a lot of properties up there and you would also be close to Tsali. The trails there are very different from Fire Mountain.

    The trails at Fire Mountain are very flowy and smooth throughout the whole system. Spearfinger is my personal favorite, it's super fast/flowy and has a bunch of really fun berms. Kessel Run is rated as a Black/expert trail, but in reality it's a piece of cake, there's some tabletops thrown in and an optional rock garden but that's it.

    There's no "good" way to the top, you're going to earn your turns whichever trail you choose. Spearfinger is the shortest/steepest climb, I prefer to climb Uktena as it's a bit longer/gentler gradient, which is also why it's my least favorite to descend.

    Tsali is one of the oldest trail systems in the area, the trails over there have more consistent up and down vs Fire Mountain's straight up, straight down. The views are cool but the riding is mediocre in comparison in my opinion. That's not to say you shouldn't do it - just expect a very different experience.

  3. #3
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    Fire Mtn is a lot of fun, and if your legs allow, is good for multiple runs from the top. I too, generally use Uktena to climb up, but it is a fun one to go down as well. If you are coming from the North Atlanta area and you decide to do something different after a session at Fire Mtn, consider Jackrabbit on Lake Chatuge. It's a very mellow, but fun system.

  4. #4
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    Smokemont Campground in Smoky Mountain National Park is a short drive from the trailhead and is pretty nice if you like camping. This time of year should be perfect for it.

  5. #5
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    We are headed up next weekend! We rented a cabin in Bryson city. Just hoping the weather holds up!!! Are there any good local eateries in Bryson City to eat and grab a cold one?

    I know you guys were talking about routes to the top of the trails....do the trails all meet at the top...meaning if we take Uktena up can we then take soearfinger or Kessel down? Any other tips for first timers??

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coyote_Lover View Post
    We are headed up next weekend! We rented a cabin in Bryson city. Just hoping the weather holds up!!! Are there any good local eateries in Bryson City to eat and grab a cold one?

    I know you guys were talking about routes to the top of the trails....do the trails all meet at the top...meaning if we take Uktena up can we then take soearfinger or Kessel down? Any other tips for first timers??

    Yes, all trails lead to the top and meet at the start of Kessel's Run. Good eat spots are Jimmy Mac's, Anthony's, Everett Street Cafe ( best breakfast ) Bistro is good from what I've heard, haven't eaten there myself, Guayabitos ( best Mexican ). There's a new brewery/restaurant over by the train track that I haven't tried yet either.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coyote_Lover View Post
    We are headed up next weekend! We rented a cabin in Bryson city. Just hoping the weather holds up!!! Are there any good local eateries in Bryson City to eat and grab a cold one?

    I know you guys were talking about routes to the top of the trails....do the trails all meet at the top...meaning if we take Uktena up can we then take soearfinger or Kessel down? Any other tips for first timers??
    Also, Nate and Nick's is a great spot for pizza, as is Anthony's. For breakfast, I thought the Iron Skillet was a great place for a traditional style breakfast. If you don't mind a bit more driving, the River's End Restaurant at the Nantahala Outdoor Center is an awesome place to eat, and you can watch the kayakers come down the river as well. Just be aware that they close much earlier than you would think. It is about 20 minutes from Bryson City, but worth the trip at least once.
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  8. #8
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    Spent quite a bit of time in Bryson City, I would definitely check out Tsali for a day if you're into more traditional trail riding than Fire Mountain (I haven't ridden there but my understanding is the trails there are machine-built flow trails). It's a beautiful spot very close to Bryson City with some really fun riding. They have two sets of loops there, and they alternate between hiker/equestrian and biker each day. I've ridden the Mouse/Thomspon loops but not the other set and they were a ton of fun, apparently the other set is better. You're basically ripping around Fontana Lake the whole time, going up and down roller-coaster ridges. Great views of the lake and not too technical on the trails I rode, though there is some punchy climbing.

    It does get pretty hot there (though living in the Bay Area now I always die of heat stroke when I come home and ride in WNC). The good news is you can jump in the river after your ride or even between loops, it's right by the parking lot (you'll probably see people heading down with kayaks etc, hard to miss).

    The new brewery in BC is Mountain Layers I think, I haven't been but I recall my friends who are local (20+ years in BC) saying they like it a lot. They don't have much praise for Nantahala Brewing, but they're also not really beer people.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by rafekett View Post
    I've ridden the Mouse/Thomspon loops but not the other set and they were a ton of fun, apparently the other set is better. You're basically ripping around Fontana Lake the whole time, going up and down roller-coaster ridges. Great views of the lake and not too technical on the trails I rode, though there is some punchy climbing.
    Funny, I've ridden the Right/Left loops more than once, but have never ridden Mouse/Thompson. I agree that Tsali is a fun system. My wife really likes it. The climbing definitely sneaks up on you out there. There aren't so many longer climbs like you get in Pisgah, and quite a bit of the climbing is done with the momentum from the downhill prior. But you still feel it at the end.

    Fire Mtn is on the list for sometime this year, for sure.

  10. #10
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    Mouse is kind of R/L-ish but Thompson is a different beast indeed. I get out there a couple times a year and always plan for the day M/T is open.

  11. #11
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    We will definitely think about checking out Tsali also! Just checked out the details about R/L and M/T.

    QQ about Fire Mtn climbs...will we be climbing up the same trails that riders come down - meaning to be aware of riders possibly heading in our direction or no?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coyote_Lover View Post
    QQ about Fire Mtn climbs...will we be climbing up the same trails that riders come down - meaning to be aware of riders possibly heading in our direction or no?
    The three main trails are Uktena, Spearfinger and Kessel Run. Kessel Run is a one way downhill only trail, you may encounter people climbing on the other two. It's not a big deal, though, there's good sight lines anywhere you can get up to high speeds coming down.

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