Patterson Mountain Solo Trail Ride-
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2007

    Patterson Mountain Solo Trail Ride

    I did a solo ride last Saturday on Patterson Mountain. This is one of my favorite areas to ride. Patterson Creek Road divides this huge area, approximately 14000 acres of roadless area according to our “friends” at the Sierra Club. 4,863 acres of roadless area on the Patterson Mountain side and 9,121 acres on the Price Mountain side with Patterson Creek road (a jeep trail) dividing the two. There is probably around 25 miles of old CCC era trail in this valley.

    I usually access these trails from the North end of Patterson Creek Valley on the O & I (FS 5020) road by way of the Elmore Trail. The Elmore Trail was split in two when the O & I road was extended to connect with the Patterson Creek Road. Some maps don’t show this. The upper Elmore trailhead is about 1/8 mile North of lower Elmore Trailhead.
    This was the loop, minus a small stretch the software wouldn’t let me draw in.

    My route started on the lower Elmore Trail to the Loop Trail to FS# 5015 to the push up Tucker Trail. From Tucker, I road across the top of Patterson Mountain and then down the Upper Elmore Trail back to my truck.

    Lower Elmore Trail

    Upper and lower Elmore Trails start on opposite sides of MP 7 sign. Both have posts with yellow blazes, no trail signs.

    Some of this along the way

    Taking a right onto Loop Trail. A left takes you down to Patterson Creek and Patterson Creek Road. Fording the creek is required in that direction.
    Onto the Loop Trail

    The Loop Trail is a combination of singletrack and old doubletrack. Much of the singletrack is poorly designed in that it runs along the bottom of a couple of hollows. Every spring the trail needs cleaning from high water floods. Still, the trail is usable.

    Onto the doubletrack section (which also is part of FS 5016)

    From the FS 5016 beyond the Loop Trail, I hooked up with an unofficial trail that all but hooks into FS 5015.

    FS 5015 is a pretty cool doubletrack ride

    Then onto Tucker Trail. Only a mile, but it packs a lot into a mile. The bottom half is smooth and swoopy, almost like an IMBA designed trail.

    The upper half mile or so is quite a trip. The lower 3-4 of switchbacks are presently covered with blow-downs. There is a min-dozer trail that parallels Tucker Trail that you can use to bypass that part of the trail– but it is very steep. I counted 9 switchbacks in this half mile stretch of Tucker Trail. They are all un-rideable by me.

    The top.

    Patterson Mountain is pretty tough. You are never really on top, as soon as you decend off of one knoll you start climbing another.

    Still pretty fun stuff, nothing very technical except for some isolated stretches.

    Pass the top of Helms Trail

    Site of my first black bear encounter a couple of years ago.

    The trail passes through someone’s old deer hunting camp. Note buried freezer on the left. They must have used horses to get that up here.

    Elmore Trail bears off to the right. Barely a trace of the trail sign left.

    Elmore is a fun downhill.

    Price and Switzer Mountain to the East

    Some narrow dicey stuff at the top.

    Some fun open stuff in the middle.

    These trails are pretty rough. Lots of huckleberry bushes to extract a blood donation as the trail toll. Still, riding in shorts and a T-shirt in February – Priceless.

    This trail system is an under-utilized resource. I am afraid if mountain bikers don’t start using them, the Sierra Club or other wilderness group will go for a land grab since most of it is designated Roadless area. This area has been logged some on the lower slopes 20-30 years ago, but I am not sure if that is a wilderness no – go. Lots of hunters here in season, so I stay away during the major hunting seasons (except Sunday). Anyone want to ride out there PM me. It’s a Diamond – in the rough. Log hopping, lack of good signs, steepness, make this a destination for those that don’t mind a lot of adventure (and some pain) with their singletrack.

  2. #2
    Reputation: tic tac's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    I have to take a trip down to salem virginia at the end of april and I see that is very close to those trails.Maybe I can bring the bike and check them out.
    All work and no play makes "and all no work play"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Sounds good Tic Tac. Be glad to take you back there. Maybe I can get some of the blowdowns sawed out by then.

    Salem is also right next to Carvins Cove - a very good "civilized trail system" with signs and a parking lot; and Dragons Back - a rocky back country ride. Lots of stuff around here to ride depending on your time schedule.

    Let me know your schedule when it gets closer.

  4. #4
    Because I am !
    Reputation: outdoornut's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Thanks CCR for the visual tour of the trails. Sure looks good as I sit here behind the
    computer desk. I'm, oh so, hoping to get out for the group ride tomorrow evening. I'm
    gonna be a big slug on the trail cause I haven't been out. Checked the headlight and
    it's ready. Now if the weather does what they say it's supposed to just maybe I'll get
    out tomorrow evening or Thursday at the latest. Nice maps by the way.

    Caffeine ! "Do stupid things faster and with more energy" ! !

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Hermosa's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Nice pictorial. I bet that place is gorgeous come spring.

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation: BikerJen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Hey - that looks like a great place to do try. I'd like to go there if you do that again. =) Where did you get those topo maps and do you use a GPS?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Hermosa - should be nice in Spring. That is just barely starting here now. Serviceberry, then dogwoods and redbuds, mountain laurel, then rhododendron,etc. Good time in VA, when its not raining. Trails around here have a lot shale and dry off quick.

    ODN - I hope you got out. I rode Mill Mountain tonight (60's today), but rain this weekend - Murphys Law.

    Biker Jen - I use the Southern Appalachian National Geographic software package. Got it at the Outdoor Store in Daleville for about $50. It has pretty good trail routes and descriptions and lets you trace your route - as long as it is on an official trail or road. Gives you profiles and miles too, but I'm still learning that. Cool toy. Bought a Garmin GPS, but haven't figured out how to use the new fangled thing yet.

  8. #8
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    This is great information, Craig. Have any of you done this trail system recently? I'm going to be in the New Castle area soon and would like to do some trails out there. But i"m not sure my family van can handle the back roads to get there. Any thoughts/recommendations?

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