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Is there a way to ride Trace Ridge Lower and get back to the Mills River Campground without having to do the water crossing at North Mills River where Lower Trace Ridge ends? I did it a few years ago and didn't remember how deep the crossing was then last weekend I did it again to get back my car at the campground and the water was almost up to my knees. I guess I could have parked at the lot where Trace Ridge ends and then ridden Lower Trace as an out and back because I think the lower section is pretty fun. It was completely covered in leaves like no one is riding it.
 

· since 4/10/2009
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I don't believe that there is any good way to get back to the campground without the deep water crossing. I see a fair number of folks doing the gravel slog up (and the long coast down) Wash Creek Rd. for that reason. Have probably seen that more this year than in the past because it seems that area has become a bit more popular and if you're camping, it's sometimes a bit easier than trying to find a spot to park up high.

I've always done Lower Trace as an out-and-back, except for the one time I took S. Mills down and Lower Trace back up. Won't do that again, because there are just too many deep water crossings for that to be fun, even when it's HOT and I want to cool off. One little dip in the cold river is plenty for relief.
 

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You can by taking the N. Mills trail to the right at the bottom of lower Trace. Cross the bridge and Yellow Gap Trail is on your left. Its a sucky climb and puts you out on Laurel Ridge Rd (FR 5051). You can then descend to Yellow Gap Rd (FR 1206) and back to the campground.

I'd rather get wet feet than do this but its an option.
 

· since 4/10/2009
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You can by taking the N. Mills trail to the right at the bottom of lower Trace. Cross the bridge and Yellow Gap Trail is on your left. Its a sucky climb and puts you out on Laurel Ridge Rd (FR 5051). You can then descend to Yellow Gap Rd (FR 1206) and back to the campground.

I'd rather get wet feet than do this but its an option.
there's a bridge over there? how far down N. Mills trail is it? Admittedly it's been a couple years since I've been down that part of N. Mills Trail, but I don't remember a bridge crossing it. but maybe I was delusional from all the back-and-forth river crossings I took as I came down N. Mills trail.
 

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there's a bridge over there? how far down N. Mills trail is it? Admittedly it's been a couple years since I've been down that part of N. Mills Trail, but I don't remember a bridge crossing it. but maybe I was delusional from all the back-and-forth river crossings I took as I came down N. Mills trail.
Its right as you reach the edge of the large filed at the bottom of lower Trace. You'll see a really old suspension bridge similar to those on S. Mills, Squirrel, etc. Not sure if its still there since Fred took most of those out but it was this summer. Yellow Gap Trail is on the P111K course and other than that I bet no one rides or hikes it. Its a downhill from FR5051 and a climb if coming from the N. Mills Trail. Its sorta hard to see from N. Mills side.
 

· since 4/10/2009
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Pretty sure I remember seeing the signs for the yellow gap trail last time I came down that trail, but when I rode it, I came down the N. Mills trail, did all of the water crossings, and climbed lower trace. was a super hot day and I thought the water would be nice and refreshing. it was...for maybe 1 or 2 crossings. so I was probably a bit delusional by the time I got to that point and didn't care if I saw a bridge heading off to a different trail.
 
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