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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My family will be making our annual trip to NC for the week of Thanksgiving and will be staying in Hamptonville. I plan on making a day trip to Dark Mtn. but have no experience with this riding area. I've read reviews searched the Internet and found not too much to tell me if I'd be ok with riding the trails there on a hardtail?

A little background may help...my primary ride is a 2000 Trek 4500 that has been upgraded in small increments. (stem, handlebars etc.) I also have a Walmart Next that I will NOT be bringing. We ride in one of two places here in MA. If we are not at Borderland we are at Cutler Park. Both have easy to moderately technical terrain. My point is that we have ridden these and not had any issues. As much as I'd like to purchase a nice FS bike, I can not afford it at this time but still get out and ride what I have.

My question is to anyone with experience at Dark mountain, can any or all of the trails there be ridden on my hardtail without too much difficulty? The guys that will be rinding would probably be classified as "advanced beginner".
 

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Drainage is pretty good. The last time I rode it started raining on the first lap and I went ahead and made a second. If it comes a deluge I would try to stay off the trail for at least a day though just so the local trail crew will not have a lot of ruts to fix.
 

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29er zealot
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Dark Mountain is a great trail system, the trails are like SCmtb said, fast and flowy! There is no need for suspension, esp. rear suspension. There are some pictures and elevation profiles of the trails in my blog if you look around a little. Post up when you are in town for sure, and if you'd like I guide, I'll show you around, it can be a moderately confusing network.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Understood. I fully expect not to ride the "trails" at all if it rains. I will however get a few backyard rides in letting the horse chase me around. :nono: I kid.

Thank you for your information!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
froth, thank you. I'm not as worried about the elevation as I would be of coming around a corner to have a 4 foot drop come up. I'm getting too old for that....lol.

I will definately post up when we get there. As I wrote earlier, I'm not at all familiar with this particular mtn. I'd definately be up for a guided tour!!!
 

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I'm a Wilkes local. All of the things that have been said about Dark Mtn are true, particularly what Froth said about it being a little confusing. You can always follow the signs for the BURN 24 hour race that are up, or check it out on BMCC's website:

http://www.bmcc.us/kerr_scott.htm

I might also suggest the OVT, also at the Kerr Scott Reservior. It's actually my favorite trail out there (so far); it has better lake views, it is less technical than Dark Mtn, has more gradual elevation changes, and most imporantly, it is a out and back with an optional loop, so you can't get lost!
 

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spec4life???..smh...
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I am a Wilkes local as well and Id have to say that the trails will be very confusing the first time around. However, Everything leads back to the main jeep road or "C" trail so youll be fine, you really cant get to lost.

Also, definently ride the Over Mtn Victory trail beside the rangers station. It is much more flowy than Dark mtn. It is a one way trail though so you go to the end and then come back the same way. It shouldn't take you over an hour and a half to go and come back.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
froth, excellent photo. Looks like a nice tight switchback that the rider is coming up on?? Kinda looks like some of the trails here in MA. Rocks, rocks and more rocks. Then again, I guess you could see those in just about any trail.

spec4life, I've heard and read all good things about the Over mtn trail. I'm thinking of adding a second day of riding to our agenda. I'm going to have to take TONS of pictures.

So, for all the folks in the area, how long would you say it would take to get from Hamptonville to Wilkes, ride and get back?
 

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I would probably figure 30 minutes each way from Hamptonville to the trails. How long you ride is up to you. Some folks can do a lap of Dark Mtn in 30 minutes...average lap would probably be 45-50 minutes--figure an hour to be safe. On OVT, if you do the whole thing plus the optional loop, I'd figure 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Since, it's an out and back, you can always ride out and turn around to suit your time schedule.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thank you. I'll actually be staying right off of 421 so that won't add any time to travel. Ideally, I'd like to get a full day of riding in. Not looking for mileage per'se, just looking for a nice pace with plenty of photo stops. If I can get there early enough I'd probably try to get Over mtn and Dark mtn in the same day. If not, will split it up in 2 days.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Well, trip done, back home now. I didn't have Internet access while there so I didn't get to see if anyone was riding the days we rode but.....

We did 2 full days of riding. First day was at Dark Mtn. (tues.) Weather was pretty cool in the am and we got to the parking lot at about 9 am. All the reviews I've read were right!! That first climb is a killer!!! We rode most of the trails with the exception of #3. We even did 4 and 5 twice. Conditions were slick to say the least. Not the wet muddy kind but the pile of leaves in the middle of a switchback kind. There were a couple of puddles here and there but for the most part we got out before the afternoon thaw. Great system of trails killer climbs and drop-offs to the sides of the trails!!

Second day (wed.) was at OVT. Now THIS is what I call biking! We started out at the welcome center and rode into the trees expecting the (what seemed like) mile drop offs to the sides of the trail. Boy, were we ever surprised to see such a great trail system. Again, early enough to avoid the thaw yet sunny enough to make the gleaming sun warm enough to sit and take it all in.

We did start to see some folks on our way out and made sure to say "hey" to all those that we came upon. I'm sorry we didn't get to meet any of those we saw but we had one heck of a time! I'd like to say thank you to all who are involved in trail maintenance/ building here. Two thumbs up for what I will consider a fantastic experience. :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

I did take some photos but I REALLY need to get unpacked. I will post those in this thread later today.
 

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spec4life???..smh...
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mountain flow said:
I know there were plans to open a new loop there. Anyone know when the new stuff will be ready to ride? That area will be a real destination with the existing trails plus the new stuff. Sounds good to me!
Im guessing you are talking about Warrior Creek. That is suppose to be a bit more tech than dark mountain with some more advanced climbs. Part of it is already open, but more is being added. Im not sure when it is scheduled to be completed though. :thumbsup:
 

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I'll attempt to clear some of your questions up. Start here....WARRIOR CREEK MAP

Looking at the WC Loop, on the right you have trail that obviously follows contours. This trail follows the land better but is not necessarily easy. It flows good like other trail at the lake but more effort is required. The left side of this loop has old poorly cut trail up and down fall lines. It will be re-routed in some places. Options will eventually be there for those who can't deal with the climbs (one is roughly 200 ft in less than 1/4 mile). this will be a better (more sustainable) way down for those who brake too much and skid around.

As for the progress with this loop...follow the blue line around into the green and keep going. it now ends near "sites 1-21" but has not crossed the road yet. there has been at least 7 miles of trail built or opened up in the last year and ~10 open to ride now. This rehabilitated area is tied together with new trail, old road beds, and old hiking trail. The campground is closed, but the trail is OPEN and needs bikes on it! There is one hike a bike out the West end of OVT that is awaiting a bridge. Take a map, because it will not be marked thoroughly until spring.

Not sure when the loop will be done, but it should be early in new year. Once the loop is done some of those reroutes will follow, increasing mileage leading up the the 6WC in April.

COME HELP and everything will be done faster! We have had folks from all over the state attend trail days. see the BMCC forum for announcements.

Ride on!
 
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