Finger Rock trail begins where Athens Trail
veers off at the top of a steep climb (at which point Athens Trail
continues out the ridge to a gravel service road). Finger Rock trail features a series of fun downhills, leading to Finger Rock itself -- a lovely rock formation covered with ferns and moss.
While many mountain bikers walk their bikes down Finger Rock, some choose one of three routes to ride down:
1. As you are approaching Finger Rock, look for a short spur off to your left that leads to a smooth rock drop to the trail below (this is currently the route used by most who ride vs walk).
2. Look for a very tight, very rooty switchback on your right just before riding onto Finger Rock proper. This is an old route and is not very navigable anymore. This is the easiest route for walking a bike.
3. Some expert riders choose to ride directly off the nose of Finger Rock, but this should only be attempted by experienced riders.
Next, the trail makes a 180-degree switchback down the hill. The trail is tight, often dry and loose and is a sheer drop off to your right. A couple of bare rock patches to negotiate, then some fast downhill (sometimes with surprise mudholes and a one or two small wooden bridges) until it intersects with Trace Trail
. At this point, you can turn left and do a long steep climb back to the Athens Trail
, or turn right and intersect with Hickory Trail
near Strouds Run Road.