Dupont State Forest For Mountain Biking
The 23rd most popular mountain bike trail in North Carolina.
Saturday 30 July 2016 05:56 GMT
Southeast of Brevard and north of Cedar Mountain, the Dupont State Forest has 80 miles of routes open to mountain bikers that range from forest roads to singletrack.
To reach the trailhead from Brevard, follow US276 south for 9 miles to Cedar Mountain. Turn left onto Cascade Lake Road for 2 miles and look for parking area on left.
Here are description of the Dupont State Forest mountain bike trails divided into East Side, South Side and West Side.
EAST SIDE TRAILS
The east side of Dupont State Forest has a great mix of MTB trails, from beginner to advanced. Look for the Guion Farm Access Area on Sky Valley Road. Good beginner trails and roads there include Tarkiln Trail, Buck Forest Road, Thomas Cemetery Road, White Pine Trail, Poplar Hill Loop, Rifle Trail, and Shoal Creek Trail. Technical riders would probably like Rocky Ridge (run south to north) and Hickory Mountain Roads, and Ridge Line, and Jim Branch Trails. Please keep in mind that all these trails are open to all users--watch for equestrian and hiker traffic.
The best trailhead parking is at the Guion Farm Access Area. From the parking area, head northwest to pick up Hickory Mountain Road, which you'll follow for a couple miles--it starts as a jeep road, then becomes a logging road climbing to the top of Hickory Mountain, then is single track dropping to the old rifle range. Follow the new section of trail cut around the end of the rifle range (the trail has been relocated, but one sign still points people down into the woods just before the old rifle range--go across the end of the range, instead).
This loops you back into Hickory Mountain Road; turn right onto Range Trail, then left onto Ridgeline Trail for a steep and technical drop. Turn left onto Lake Imaging Trail for a couple hundred yards, then left onto Jim Branch Trail, then left onto Buck Forest Road. After about a mile, turn left onto White Pine Trail, then left onto Hooker Creek Road, then right onto Range Trail (whoa, déjà vu!), right onto Hickory Mountain Road for roughly 0.2 miles, left onto Boundary Trail for roughly 0.2 miles, right onto Guion Road for roughly 0.1 miles, left onto Rifle Trail to Sky Valley Road. Cross the gravel road diagonally to your right to pick up Shoal Creek Trail, which you'll gradually climb about 1.3 miles to Sky Valley Road. Here you can turn right to hit the Guion Farm Access Area, or left to climb Sky Valley Road roughly 1.4 miles to turn left onto Rocky Ridge Road for a fun descent to CCC Road. Go left onto CCC Road, then straight onto Sky Valley and back to your cars. Guaranteed fun time and you will NOT be part of the crowd spreading the rumor that there is no single-track on Dupont State Forests east side.
SOUTH SIDE TRAILS
The south side can be accessed from the Fawn Lake Access Area on Reasonover Road. Some of the suggested single-track trails are, Laurel Ridge Trail, the new extension to the Airstrip Trail, and Reasonover Creek Trail. It is also easy to use Corn Mill Shoals Trail to access the Burnt Mountain Trail and other trails across the river. Please be careful at this wet foot ford as it is very slick and several accidents have occurred at this crossing (not recommended during the winter months). Easy roads are Fawn Lake Loop, Conservation Road, Camp Summit Road, Lake Julia Road and Bridal Veil Falls Road.
A nice loop to Bridal Veil Falls is to go left on Fawn Lake Loop, right on Airstrip Trail, left on airstrip, left on new Airstrip Trail extension, left on Barn Trail and right on Corn Mill Shoals Trail to Bridal Veil Falls. After a visit to the falls (see 16.18 below) return by backtracking on Corn Mill Shoals Trails with a left on Laurel Ridge Trail, left on Mine Mountain Trail, left on Airstrip Trail and straight on Fawn Lake Loop.
WEST SIDE TRAILS
The west side of the Dupont State Forest seems to get more MTB and less equestrian use. Good technical trails off the Corn Mill Shoals Access Area on Cascade Lake Road include Big Rock, Cedar Rock, and Burnt Mountain. Easy trails are Little River and Corn Mill Shoals. A good west side loop starts from the Corn Mill Shoals Access Area, go directly across the paved road and turn left onto Longside Trail. Go right at the next junction (staying on Longside) and this will carry you up some nice armored sections of trail before a fun and technical drop. This will put you at a junction and go left onto Pine Tree Trail, take this out to Cascade Lake Road and go left to Quarry Road. Here, go right and up to a left turn onto Michajah Trail and then left on Wilkie Trail. This will drop you back into the parking lot and this makes for a nice “warm-up” loop. Now get ready for the real climbs. Cross over the road again and this time take your second left (passing by the Longside Trail you took earlier) which is the Big Rock Trail. This is a good stout climb with some technical rock sections but there are some breaks and a chance to catch your breath every so often. Follow the cairns (small piles of rock) and stay off the moss. This will put you on top of the granite domes known as Big Rock and Cedar Rock. Great views are had off to the left, then back into the woods and when you emerge you have a great view of the expanse of Dupont. This is located at the juncture of the Cedar Rock Trail and after catching your breath from the climb, a right hand turn will drop you down a slickrock descent that is so much fun that it too will take your breath away. This is a technical descent so pay attention and watch your speed. At the bottom, go right on Little River Trail, a sandy road that meanders along the lazy slow waters of the Little River. You next junction will be Corn Mill Shoals trail and go left here. After a very short distance, Corn Mill Shoals Trail turns left down to the river and the actual shoals (a popular swimming hole in summer months). Go visit if you like (and then backtrack a bit), but the trail straight ahead is your route onto the Burnt Mountain Trail. This has a gradual but steady climb that takes you to the top of one of the best technical drops in Dupont. This trail features some good short drop offs and other fun and challenging stuff and has been armored for sustainability in many places by the local mountain bike club (Blue Ridge Bike Club). A left at the bottom onto Corn Mill Shoals Trail takes you back to your car.
Overall, Dupont State Forest is the 23rd most popular mountain bike trail of all 24 mountain biking rides in North Carolina. Several of the better mountain bike trails are nearby Dupont State Forest including Black Mountain Trail, Buckhorn Gap / Avery Creek, Laurel Mountain and Burnt Mountain.