“An exhausting day combining long fire road climbs and very technical singletrack descents.”
— Kristen Arendt
If you're looking for a taste of Pisgah without biting off a full day of extremely technical singletrack, this ride features the Black Mountain trail downhill in its entirety with a tough climb up Clawhammer Road
Starting at the Pisgah Ranger Station, turn right onto Highway 276 (busy highway most of the times). Turn right on Avery Creek Road
to start the climb. This section is gradual, and be sure to enjoy the warm-up on the easy stretch.
At just over 2.5 miles, turn right onto Clawhammer Road
. Clawhammer is one of the necessary evils in Pisgah. It's a long gravel road/doubletrack that climbs over 1,300 ft. Just keep going, as the descent is well worth the climb!
From Clawhammer Road
, turn onto Black Mountain Trail (#127)
. This trail is legendary for many reasons, but mostly it is known for its downhill, which loses over 1900 ft. from its highest point. Black Mountain has plenty of technical riding. There are loads of rocks, small drops, and some eroded areas. Overall, the trail gets less technical the closer you get toward the bottom.
There is a solid amount of gnar between the summit of Black Mountain. and the Turkeypen Gap trailhead. This section is steep, with ditched-out trail and waterbars that don't function anymore. The lower section near Thrift Cove is more mellow than the upper.
Eventually, the trail ends at FSR #5061
. Turn right on the road to return to the trailhead.