“This loop is called 4×4 because it has four good climbs and four great downhills.”
— Lost Justpastnowhere
This route samples some great singletrack in the Aska Trail system. It doesn't surmount the highest climb on Stanley Gap Trail #165
, but it will still give your legs and your lungs a great workout nonetheless.
Flat Creek Loop #165B
is the highlight but this loop also covers the Long Branch Loop #165G
and part of Green Mountain Trail #165D
The whole loop is heavily forested, so you won't have any sweeping views, but on the other hand, you've got some protection from the sun.
From the Shady Falls parking area take the Long Branch Connector #165F
to the north. This begins the first climb to top of Green Mountain, the longest and steepest of the four climbs. The first climb continues onto Long Branch Connector #165F
and then right onto Green Mountain Trail #165D
proper. Long Branch Connector #165F
is the most difficult part of this ride because of the overall steepness and the presence of roots and such.
Once you reach the top of Green Mountain, the Green Mountain Trail #165D
takes you down to Deep Gap parking area. At Deep Gap parking area, you begin the Flat Creek Loop #165B
. I'd recommend riding Flat Creek Loop in the shown counter-clockwise direction. The climb up to the highest point then is mostly a fairly wide, smooth singletrack and the grade is not as steep if climbing the other direction.
In the counter-clockwise direction then you've got the narrow singletrack with the roots and rocks to play on on the way down. It's a two mile trip with 800 ft of nearly continuous descent and you'll encounter a half dozen or so unnamed creek crossings along the way. An intermediate rider should be able to ride all the way down. The only downside Flat Creek Loop #165B
is that once you reach the bottom, you've got about 400 ft of climbing to get out of Flat Creek Valley before a short descent back to Deep Gap.
Once you reach Deep Gap, begin the final climb back up to Green Mountain following you tracks on the Green Mountain Trail #165D
and enjoy the fun descent on Long Branch Connector #165F
. When you reach the Flat Creek Loop #165B
, turn right to take the other branch of this trail back to your car at the Shady Falls parking area.