“Six miles of tough, rocky climbs reward you with a seven miles of blazing fast downhill.”
— Vinnie Connors on Jul 14, 2013
Overview1:55 average ride time for 13.8 miles. Details
The ride starts with a fun, speedy downhill jump line on Deer Lake Lodge as a nice warm-up for the 1000+ foot, rocky, four mile ascent up Wolf Branch and Ingles Field Gap. After another mile, climb up Northern Boundary you'll reach the top (3300ft) at the start of Green's Lick. Two mile descent down Green's Lick leads to a short climb up Sidehill and Little Hickory Top. A five mile descent down Ingles Field Gap, Wolf Branch, and Hard Times Connector leads you back to the parking lot to end the ride.
Need To KnowBidirectional multi-use trail system. Downhill speeds can be 30+ mph in some sections so be aware of your surroundings if you're climbing. It's a popular trail for hikers and dogs.
DescriptionThe trail starts at the Wesley Branch Trailhead parking lot heading northeast on Deer Lake Lodge, a mile long warm-up run with a few small tables to get some air on. Take the left fork where Deer Lake Lodge intersects with Wolf Branch to start the 4.5 mile ascent to the top.
Wolf Branch is a 1.2 mile long rocky climb that covers 300 feet in elevation and ends at Ledford Branch Road. Take a right at this intersection and continue north on Ledford Branch for 1/3 of a mile until the intersection of Ingles Field Gap on the left.
Ingles Field Gap is roughly two miles of the steepest and most technical climb of the ride that covers almost 500 feet of elevation. Ingles Field Gap ends at "Five Points," a great resting/regroup point where it intersects with four other trails.
Take the fire road to the right of Little Hickory Top and continue the 1.1 mile climb up Northern Boundary to highest point of the ride (3300 feet above sea level). Northern Boundary is a very rocky, overgrown fire road that covers 400 feet of elevation and leads to Green's Lick, the start of the best part of the ride, the DOWNHILL! (You've earned it!) Make sure your brakes and safety gear are in full working order at this point because you're going to need them!
Green's Lick is a two mile descent and by far the best part of the ride. Speeds can get close to 30 mph in the later sections and your brakes will get a good workout here. Green's Lick is not overly technical, just super rocky with a great high speed jumps. Take a left where Green's Lick ends at the intersection with Sidehill and Laurel Branch Road.
Sidehill starts with a tough 10% grade, 0.6 mile, 300 foot climb and finishes with a fast 0.3 mile downhill section. This trail has a few spring crossings and intersects with Sidehill Road and Little Hickory Top at the end. Take the left option and continue back up to Five Points on Little Hickory Top.
Little Hickory Top is the last major ascent of the ride and climbs up 200 feet over a mile and rewards you with a speedy 0.1 mile downhill that leads back to Five Points. Easily the tamest climb of the ride, very rocky but not that steep or technical.
At the Five Points intersection, take the first trail on the right to start the Ingles Field Gap decent. This part of the ride is not the fastest (25mph+) but by far the most technical. Tons of rocks, roots and high speed jumps will have you choosing your lines wisely and giving yet another decent workout to your brakes. Take a right on Ledford Branch Road at the end of Ingles Field Gap and take a left onto Wolf Branch after 1/3 of a mile.
Wolf Branch is a 1.2 mile, 300 foot rocky ascent and that has two faster downhill sections where speeds can reach 25 mph but it's not as technical as Ingles Field Gap. Take the left option where Wolf Branch intersects with Deer Lake Lodge and continue 0.2 mile until the trail intersects with Hard Times Connector.
Hard Times Connector ends the ride and is a short climb followed by a short speedy downhill that connects you out to the parking area. The least technical part of the ride and downhill speeds slightly over 20 mph. Take a right where Hard Times Connector ends and take a left on Wesley Branch Road. The parking lot and trailhead are 1/2 mile ahead on the right.
ContactsLand Manager: USFS - North Carolina National Forests Office
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