“This trail has some old-school riding in the Grandfather District.”
— Paul Stahlschmidt
This trail is a portion of TR 279 called Thorps Creek Trail, but since the USFS doesn't refer to this segment as Thorps Creek anymore, neither will this review. The rest of TR 279 is separately reviewed as Lower Thorps Creek
You can start Schoolhouse from Upper Wilson Ridge
via the Schoolhouse Connector
or from Schoolhouse Ridge Road - FSR 4068
. The carsonite sign at the trailhead says Schoolhouse Trail. Another landmark to look for is a shelter opposite the trailhead on the connector side.
The first couple of miles of this trail are up and down with a mix of singletrack and old doubletrack. For a trail that is known for its downhill, there are plenty of grunts in the upper portion of the ridge. In the last mile, the trail completely changes.
At this point, there is open forest at an obvious high point (and immediately after a tough climb). This last mile is mostly downhill with some flat sections where pedaling is optional. There are several levels of eroded gully-riding and because of that the difficulty of this trail is a black diamond.
There are some ravines that you'll be scraping your pedals to get through. Toward the bottom, there is a connector to the Mortimer Campground called the Bill Vines Trail. Continuing straight will take you to NC 90 and Mortimer.