If you want to ride trail to Iron Mountain
, Beartree is a good way to do it, with more friendly grades than most of the other access points.
To get to this trailhead, take Beartree Gap Road toward the campground. As you turn in from US 58, you'll see the trail on the left. Look for the first lot on the right, outside the main gate. Roll back to the trail on pavement to start the ride.
From the campground, this trail is all up, but has several breaks in the climb. The last mile or so is the most mellow. The length of this trail partly follows a decently-aligned old road bed, but the forest has grown back to tighten the corridor. The tread has some rocky sections. The crux of this trail is about 1.25 mi where it heads up its steepest section. Here, it is ditched and very rocky. Remember this area when going down this trail as well.
An intersection with "Yancy" is about a mile in (stay left). Near the top is another trail intersection with Shaw Gap
. This approaches on the right after a short downhill. Stay left there as well and the IMT will be right there.