"Overgrown DoubleTrack" is how I would describe the majority of this ride. Watch out for the black bears during mating season and the timber rattlers during cool evenings, but there is enough good riding to take the beginner to the next level, while keeping the veteran entertained.
The ride begins with an initial 4-mile climb. Some opt to drive the 4 miles in a vehicle and then retrieve it after the end of the ride. There is lots of singletrack that cuts off of this ride. I will update after I am more familiar with the trails. There are a couple of private residences on this route. Please be courteous.
Take Hwy. 181 N. to Fish Hatchery Road on the left. After a few miles on Fish Hatchery, the road will make a very sharp left at an intersection with Rose Creek Road. Stay on Fish Hatchery and you'll see Mountain Grove Methodist Church about 1/4 mile on the left. This is your parking spot.
Take a left out of the church parking lot and take Sisk Farm Road, the first paved road on your right. The initial hill on Sisk Farm is more than enough to get your lungs warmed up for the climb ahead. After you glide down the paved hill, bear left onto Old Table Rock Road. This is a gravel road marked with a "State Maintenance Ends" sign. You'll climb, and climb, and climb some more on this packed gravel road. Be on the lookout for some dogs at one of the private residences. They have a loud bark, but they are harmless. There are roads that cut to the right and left, but stay on the main road. At the only intersection marked with a road sign around the 3 mile mark, stay left.
At exactly the 4-mile mark, you'll see a brown gate in front of you and a brown gate to your left which is Back Irish Creek Trail
. Congratulations, the 4-mile climb is behind you and a descent of rolling hills await. Go around the gate on your left. This begins the overgrown doubletrack which is essentially an old logging road. You'll see an obvious bike trail the entire way.
You'll encounter two more gates throughout this ride. Go around all to the left. After the third and final gate, you'll be back on a gravel road that has some fun straightaways where you can easily hit 25-30 mph without fear of a root or rock coming at you from nowhere.
The gravel road will eventually intersect back with Fish Hatchery Road. Take a left on Fish Hatchery and ride a final paved mile back to Mountain Grove Church.