is a classic trail that traverses a long ridge for five miles and then descends a massive mountain five miles before climbing out on a variety of forest roads and trails.
This trails begins on SR 1439 near the Blue Ridge Parkway at Buck Creek Gap, heading east toward Woods Mountain
, a 3635 ft. beast. This trail is also designated Mountains to Sea Trail (MST).
About a mile in, the trail climbs one other peak (with a 500 ft. climb) before getting to the big 'un. There is hike-a-bike on this trail. When arriving at the the steeper western slope of Woods Mtn. be ready to be off your bike for a while at that point.
There is reward for hiking. The grunt that takes you up to Woods Mtn. climbs a beautifuls ridge that is high above the foothills below. It drops steeply to both sides which provides some amazing views. Mountain laurel, azalea, pine, and other vegetation battles the elements and cling to the outcroppings. These provide some amazing color in spring and fall.
More Payoff. After pushing up Woods Mtn., the trail turns south and a noticeable downhill appears. From here, there is a 5-mile, 2000 foot descent that will provide you an experience you'll never forget.
When the MST forks left, stay right on the wider trail/road; you'll like it. This merges with FSR 104, and that takes you all the way to the bottom where you'll turn left past a gate on FSR 1073
The bottom of Woods Mountain
gets very confusing as the corridor follows forest roads and sections of the MST.
1073 takes you across a small branch of Toms Creek and turns off the road, RIGHT (along with the MST), less than a half mile after that. This turn is easy to miss. If you get to Harris Creek
, youve gone too far.
After crossing Toms Creek, the trail continues up and over Grassy Knob and eventually dumps out on a wider doubletrack trails that goes in both directions. Turn left here to get to Woodlawn, where the trail ends near US 221.
Worth noting: Stay on the main trail. There are forks off of this trail in many places. See the description for the Woods Mountain Loop
for other details.