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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello- moved out this way couple months ago and could use some advice. I promise I checked the FAQ but hoping for some more relevant advice.

I’ve ridden DuPont/ ridgeline, Spencer gap in mills river, and most often Ledford-ingles field-wolfbranch-hardtimes loops. What’s next on the Asheville progression list?

I enjoyed Spencer very much and have fun going down ingles field.
 

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Trails slightly more challenging than Spencer and Ingles include the lower part of Black Mountain, Bracken Mountain, Kitzuma, Cove Creek, and some DuPont loops that include Airstrip, Turkey Knob, Cedar Rock, and Hickory. I'd recommend Butter and Cat Gap in the fall, since Cat Gap is seasonal.
 

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I'd add Squirrel and Laurel Mtn (out-and-back, not including Pilot Rock descent) into the progression of blues. Largely less technical, IMO, than Spencer is right now, but classic Pisgah rhodo tunnel bliss. They'll get you some practice with wet, off-camber roots.

Greenslick should be in there, too. Again, not too hard, but it's blisteringly fast and chattery and it's something to start working on getting comfortable with because some of the bigger Pisgah descents are fast but with bigger hits that more or less become chatter at speed.

in the progression of blacks, I'd put Big Rock as easier on that list than Burnt. My wife is in that progression right now and has very little trouble with Big Rock, but the chunky descent on Burnt is a bit hard for her. She's still walking the steepest parts of it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Sick. Thanks guys!

I’ll work on this list :)

Rode greens lick today- pretty fun. Not much of a jumper but aspiring to be. Rolled everything. I def dragged my brakes a bit but let it loose as well. I came up via little hickory top/Boyd brand road and next time I’ll just access via ingles. Seems like it’d be faster. My thoughts this am were heavy on the this trail would be waaaay sweeter going down.


If anyone has suggestions for trails that’s are similar to Spencer/ingles/greenslick. I’d take those too. Stoked to get a trail hit list going.
 

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I'm glad this topic came up. I've been riding for several years and never really started working on advancing my skills. Instead, I just rode the trails I was comfortable with. I'm on the list of those who walk down a good bit of Burnt Mountain. I've searched this forum for routes in Pisgah as well. I started with Cove Creek, then added some of Daniels Ridge (ridden both sides now), Spencer and Fletcher.

For some reason I struggled at Spencer. Maybe it was a bad day but after reading this I'll plan on going back there soon. I'll have to give Bent Creek a shot too with Greens Lick.
 

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Trace is a mess right now, that upper section is very washed out and eroded. It's still fun, but the top is a bit rougher than it was in previous years. I've known some folks that went up there recently and had more trouble than in previous years.

Here is the progression I usually recommend (from easiest to hardest):

Cove Creek - watch for the two sections at the top, one is at a 3 way intersection and the next isn't much further beyond the creek crossing. After those, it opens up a fair bit and is great for getting used to riding in Pisgah.

Sycamore Cove - two techie bits, both are after switchbacks, Lower is more technical after the 3 way intersection than upper is. Helps with riding narrower, rooty stuff without being super high consequence or awkward.

Lower Black Mountain - most folks seem to have trouble with the rock garden in the middle, but fairly easy, it is fairly easy doesn't represent the rest of Pisgah. I mainly put it after Sycamores because it's usually pretty high traffic, the rock garden in the middle, and because some of the rock sections and bridges can be slippery when wet.

Spencer Branch / Fletcher Creek - you've ridden this one already

Daniel's Ridge (Descending CW) - Has a few awkward spots after you cross Lanning Bridge Rd, slower technical stuff, but nothing really high consequence. It's pretty chunky, but fast before the road crossing.

Butter Gap - Mainly just during the season you can ride Cat Gap, but it's a good experience in off camber roots and wet technical sections, the top is really rooty and fairly fast, there are a few awkward creek crossings, then it opens up a fair bit. Once the Cat Gap season opens (Oct15-Apr15), you get some stairs and slow technical stuff, just watch for hikers.

Trace Ridge - Good experience riding eroded stuff and rocky stuff, the top third is really eroded, followed by a short climb that drops you down into some loose, rocky bits with a lot of babyheads, followed by a flowier, but chunkier downhill back to the parking lot.

Daniel's Ridge (descending CCW) - Lots of chunky rooty bits, I mainly find it difficult due to a few really off camber root sections and an awkward switchback. There are some very narrow sections. After the Farlow intersection, it turns pretty rocky. It's a good exercise is riding narrow technical stuff, but be careful when it's wet or leafy esp. near the bottom where it narrows.

Middle Black Mountain - Starts to combine the erodedness of Trace with narrower, tighter lines and rootiness of other trails. Nothing really big in terms of features, just a few awkward lines and eroded sections.

Bennett Gap - Steeper than the others, more rooted, and with a few awkward rock sections at the top (mainly the steep rolldown very near the peak and the staircase -> big-ish drop a little further down than that. It eases up a lot the further down you get. It's hard to place this one, because I think it's mostly easier than Middle Black, aside from a few sections, but those few section are pretty difficult.

Pilot - I actually don't think Pilot is that difficult outside of the switchbacks, I can see where the rock garden may not be for everyone, but it's not as bad as I thought it was hyped up to be, either. More rideable than Bennett is for me, just harder to get to and chunkier

Farlow - I haven't ridden Farlow yet (soon...)

The new Avery will sit somewhere in there. I usually don't include Squirrel, because it's so different from the rest of Pisgah and mainly either ridden as a bigger day to the stables stuff or as an out/back. It is great, though, especially if you want to get some technical climbing in. The difficulty of Squirrel depends how far up you go, I find it pretty approachable until you reach the saddle, then it starts to get more difficult. The main issue is it's narrow and Mullinax, if you do the out/back, changes a lot when it rains and is pretty eroded.
 

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Trails slightly more challenging than Spencer and Ingles include the lower part of Black Mountain, Bracken Mountain, Kitzuma, Cove Creek, and some DuPont loops that include Airstrip, Turkey Knob, Cedar Rock, and Hickory. I'd recommend Butter and Cat Gap in the fall, since Cat Gap is seasonal.
How does Cedar Rock compare to Big Rock? My wife and I go up the back of Cedar rock and then down Big Rock whenever we're in Dupont, but haven't risked taking her down Cedar Rock since I haven't had a chance to do it on my own first.
 

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Is there anything people would recommend avoiding for a person riding solo on the trails for the first time? I'm going to be down in NC next week and was thinking about riding down Black, but I'm still trying to decide what I want to do. The only riding I've done in NC that I would think would even compare is the top of Rocky Knob, which wasn't bad. I don't think I'll want to be hucking any big drops or hitting gaps.
 

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Is there anything people would recommend avoiding for a person riding solo on the trails for the first time? I'm going to be down in NC next week and was thinking about riding down Black, but I'm still trying to decide what I want to do. The only riding I've done in NC that I would think would even compare is the top of Rocky Knob, which wasn't bad. I don't think I'll want to be hucking any big drops or hitting gaps.
The good thing about all the new work, and the Pisgah trails in general is you can walk any and all of the tough spots. Nothing out here is mandatory as long as you look before you leap...which you should always be doing anyway.

I guess if I were solo I would probably avoid the more remote trails like Farlow, Squirrel Gap, Pilot Rock but even those see good traffic on nice weekend days.

I would ride whatever trails you want and just make sure you ride heads up and smart.
 

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Is there anything people would recommend avoiding for a person riding solo on the trails for the first time? I'm going to be down in NC next week and was thinking about riding down Black, but I'm still trying to decide what I want to do. The only riding I've done in NC that I would think would even compare is the top of Rocky Knob, which wasn't bad. I don't think I'll want to be hucking any big drops or hitting gaps.
Like Banjo says, there's not really anything out here that I'd hard avoid for my first time riding in this area due to technicality.

If it was my first time out here (and solo), I'd probably avoid the more remote stuff, too. Not because of any issues related to the trails being particularly difficult or anything. More to do with general backcountry safety. Even though the area is well mapped, there are still some areas that can be a touch confusing to someone new to the area (especially if you venture onto one of the unsigned social trails that's NOT mapped), and you can still go long stretches without seeing anyone, even on a nice day.
 

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Cool. I can't always tell from forum posts and Youtube vids what trails are really like. I'm pretty aware of my abilities and limits. I don't think I'll have any issues, but I'll take it easy my first time out.

Harold, you lived in IN. If Schooner were somehow in Pisgah, where would you rate it in the list of trails above as far as technical challenge?
 

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Lower black, Bennet and Avery are my recommendations for a weekend trip for someone who isn't familiar. All easily accessed close to the hub and all frequently traveled. Also try and get over to kitsuma if you can, I honestly think it's one of the best and easiest to loop/solo

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Cool. I can't always tell from forum posts and Youtube vids what trails are really like. I'm pretty aware of my abilities and limits. I don't think I'll have any issues, but I'll take it easy my first time out.

Harold, you lived in IN. If Schooner were somehow in Pisgah, where would you rate it in the list of trails above as far as technical challenge?
I think it would fit in well here, among some of the "classic backcountry" Pisgah rides. It's a little different in some ways. That smooth Indiana limestone is just damn treacherous and offers worse traction than wet roots, IMO. There are a couple more or less mandatory HAB sections on Schooner that are really short when compared to some of the HAB sections in Pisgah (the HAB section at the very top of Black, and the one at the top of Laurel Mtn before you connect to Pilot, in particular). Schooner definitely lacks when it comes to high speed downhill stuff, though. Especially the more burly downhill stuff. When I've ridden it, it's always been exhausting in a full body sense and I honestly don't remember the downhill sections much. For as technical as Schooner can get in spots, it still has stretches of smooth hardpack clay where you can relax a little. There's precious little of that kind of thing in Pisgah.
 

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Lower black, Bennet and Avery are my recommendations for a weekend trip for someone who isn't familiar. All easily accessed close to the hub and all frequently traveled. Also try and get over to kitsuma if you can, I honestly think it's one of the best and easiest to loop/solo
I was going to ride Kitsuma last year, but it was too wet while I was down there, so I never got to it. I'd definitely like to hit it eventually.

I think it would fit in well here, among some of the "classic backcountry" Pisgah rides. It's a little different in some ways. That smooth Indiana limestone is just damn treacherous and offers worse traction than wet roots, IMO. There are a couple more or less mandatory HAB sections on Schooner that are really short when compared to some of the HAB sections in Pisgah (the HAB section at the very top of Black, and the one at the top of Laurel Mtn before you connect to Pilot, in particular). Schooner definitely lacks when it comes to high speed downhill stuff, though. Especially the more burly downhill stuff. When I've ridden it, it's always been exhausting in a full body sense and I honestly don't remember the downhill sections much. For as technical as Schooner can get in spots, it still has stretches of smooth hardpack clay where you can relax a little. There's precious little of that kind of thing in Pisgah.
Yeah, Schooner ranges from yawn-inspiring-easy to super hard. No elevation though. The stuff at O'Bannon Woods is fun. More of a backcountry feel, especially on the Adventure Trail where there's a decent amount of hike-a-bike uphill and some fast rockier descents.
 
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