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Lake Imaging



14.0 mile 22.6 kilometer loop
75% Singletrack


Ascent: 1,454' 443 m
Descent: -1,452' -443 m
High: 3,001' 915 m
Low: 2,314' 705 m


Avg Grade: 4% (2°)
Max Grade: 15% (8°)


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Trail shared by craig campbell

A tour of most of the trails rebuilt in 2015.

craig campbell

Electric Mountain Bikes Unknown

Features -none-


I created this featured ride to encompass most of the trails that were rebuilt in 2015 around Lake Imaging trail access area. Most of these trails are smooth and flowy at the moment, so get out and enjoy before the horses destroy it. Because it is "new," the area will be congested on the weekends with horses, bikers and hikers.

Need to Know

These trails are popular at the moment so keep your eyes pointing up the trail looking for folks descending the trails.


This ride starts off with a 1.5 mile of climb up Jim Branch. Once at the top of Jim Branch, take a right on Isaac Heath which meanders along with a couple of nice flowy sections. This trail ends at Locust trail so continue right onto Locust.

Locust starts with a moderate climb and then descends about 100 feet where speeds can reach over 25mph. Locust will end at Lake Imaging Road. Continue to the right to prepare for Hilltop trail. Hilltop's excitement level depends on your fitness as it takes some power to maintain speed through the small ascents and descents.

After exiting Hilltop loop, you'll intersect with Lake Imaging Road where you'll take a right. Take the next left onto Buck Forest Road where you can either relax or stretch your legs out on a bit of fire road up to Hickory Mountain Road intersection. Take a left on Hickory Mountain Road for a bit more of riding on a fire road, taking a left on White Pine Trail. White Pine Trail is a connector trail to your next descent: Hooker Creek Trail. This is a really fast section of trail that keeps you on your toes as you descend down to Hooker Creek.

After this descent there's a bit of climbing to get back up where you'll take a right on Ridgeline trail. Climb Ridgeline a bit watching for Hickory Mountain Loop on your left. My Featured Ride has you going clockwise with a stiff climb in the beginning. I've heard people say CW is more fun and some say CCW is more fun. If you have the time, try it both ways and judge for yourself. Either way, this trail is the most technical with mostly rock features, that IMO, destroys a lot of the flow to this trail. While this trail isn't part of the 2015 rebuild, it's only about a year old, and worth doing.

After Hickory Mountain Loop, you start a bit of backtracking back to Hooker Creek. From Hickory Mountain Loop , take a left onto Hooker Creek Trail where you descend immediately. Unfortunately, you get to ascend all the flowy goodness you experienced moments ago. After you reach the top of Hooker Creek at the intersection of White Pine Trail, take a right that will connect you back onto Buck Forest Road.

Continue to backtrack by taking a right onto Buck Forest Road where you'll make quick work of this road as it's all downhill back to Lake Imaging Road. Take a right onto Lake Imaging Road where you'll climb for a few minutes (passing the exit to Hilltop loop) until you reach Locust again. Take a right on Locust being prepared for a quick climb with a short rewarding descent back to the intersection of Isaac Heath. We're continuing to backtrack by keeping left onto Issac Heath back to the top of Jim Branch. You end the ride with a fast descent down Jim Branch back to Lake Imaging parking area. I intentionally excluded Ridgeline on this ride, but if you're up for it, climb and descend Ridgeline to finish the ride.

At various points during this ride, there are bailouts with short distances back to the car. Your first and last bailout point is on Buck Forest Road where you can opt to take Jim Branch back to the car. Your next good bailout is taking Hickory Mountain Road all the way to Ridgeline and take Ridgeline back to the car. The third bailout is at the end of Hooker Creek where you can take a left onto Ridgeline and take Ridgeline back to the car. You also have the option of descending Ridgeline after Hickory Mountain Loop.

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We need help with the following missing trail information:

Family Friendly, ADA Accessible, Features, Electic Mountain Bikes Allowed, History & Background


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Jan 16, 2020
Greg Decker
Jul 30, 2019
Dave Groleau
Fun and flowy! 10mi
Jun 15, 2019
Jeff Fischer
Nov 7, 2018
Joey Atkins
Oct 1, 2018
mary beckman
10.2mi — 2h 10m
Sep 1, 2018
Heyward Brabham
Jul 24, 2018
Andres Paez
Jun 30, 2018
Chad J. Michael

Trail Ratings

  4.2 from 5 votes


  4.2 from 5 votes
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7,100 Since Aug 27, 2015



Creek crossing on Best of DuPont Ride.
May 8, 2017 near Etowah, NC
Bottom of Jim Branch. Freezing!
May 14, 2014 near Etowah, NC
Matt launching off one of the many rocks on the trail
Mar 4, 2018 near Etowah, NC
Climbing up Jim Branch is not as attenuating as my brother is making it seem! Ridgeline and Issac Heath are worth the climb!!
Dec 13, 2018 near Etowah, NC

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