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Paint Creek

 2 votes

19.9 Miles 32.1 Kilometers


75%

Singletrack

3,707' 1,130 m

Ascent

-3,707' -1,130 m

Descent

2,558' 780 m

High

1,219' 372 m

Low

7%

Avg Grade (4°)

56%

Max Grade (29°)

Unknown

Update

A true gem on the NC/TN border with steep, remote, technical singletrack and some hike-a-bike and fire road connections.

Jeremy Hedrick

Overview

This ride is steep, technical, and remote. Located on the North Carolina, Tennessee border, this is a true gem that is starting to get more recognition as a riding destination for mountain bikers from the Knoxville, TN and Asheville, NC areas looking for a more remote trail experience.

A mix of mostly steep, narrow singletrack that hangs on the side of the mountain with a more technical mix of rock strewn trail on the east side of Lone Pine Gap. This ride is highly recommended for more experienced riders who love true old style, rugged singletrack.

Need to Know

Understand this is a remote area, and the trails are extremely rugged but super fun for the experienced rider who enjoys steep, rugged trails with lots of rock and root features.

Description

This ride can be started from the NC side or the Tennessee side as described. Parked on Weavers Bend Road between the Paint Mountain Trail #7 and Chimney Rocks. Start by climbing Chimney Rocks #154, a steep rutted out trail that is fun to descend, but in doing this loop, is better as a steep climb with some hike-a-bike involved. Climb to the intersection with Paint Rock Trail and look to the right for a view of the French Broad River and on clear days the mountains beyond.

Take a right and rail down the mountain on a steep downhill track that hugs the edges of the mountain's contours with a few jumps and berms for a rip-roaring fun descent that ends too soon at Paint Mountain Road. Take a left, up the road for a steady grind all the way to Lone Pine Gap, passing and making a note of a gated doubletrack on the left about two miles up. This is a turn about 15 miles into the ride for a climb up to the top of Paint Mountain on Cummins Branch Rd #54B. As stated before, continue up Paint Mountain Road #54 to Lone Pine Gap, approximately three miles from the bottom of the Paint Rock Trail and a mile past the gated doubletrack.

Take a right on Paint Creek Trail following the contour above the powerlines for about a mile. Zip down a fun track of singletrack and take a right as the doubletrack turns uphill and fades into the forest and a true singletrack appears to the right. This trail contours along the mountainside with a few technical root and rock moves and a few fun descents before the trail starts hugging a heavily vegetated cliff-side with a few tough moves and and a slower up and down traverse. There are views of the mountains in the fall and winter to the right but best to keep the eyes on the trail unless your stopping for a rest break.

Beyond this, the trail dives back into the forest and becomes more and more technical and steep. One or two short hike-a-bikes may exist for less experienced riders, but overall this section rips with lots of root and rock moves that will challenge the best of riders.

After a chunky bit of trail, look for a hard right turn with singletrack continuing straight. The straight section of trail starts becoming more level and has lots of rock moves, an interesting challenge that eventually ends at the Lower Paint Creek Road but you'll want to take the hard right for a fun forest descent with tank trap style jumps, a log ride/jump and whoops 'n hollers through the trees.

Take a right on Lower Paint Creek Road and ride downhill through a picnic area back to Paint Mountain Road #54. Take a right up Paint Mountain Road and pass Paint Rock Trail on your left, you came down this earlier, and continue to the gated doubletrack on your left approximately two miles up. Take a left and continue climbing the mountain until you intersect Cummins Branch Rd #54B singletrack that appears to the left approximately 1.5 miles up.

Continue on this singletrack for about a mile until you reach the top of Paint Mountain and the intersection with Paint Mountain Trail #7. Take a right and descend a steep, tight extremely narrow singletrack with a few steep, short climbs for the first half mile or so and then the trail drops all the way to the bottom.

Near the bottom, there will be an unmarked Y in the trail. Take a right for the bike legal way down to the road; straight is hiking only. Once you're back on Weaver Bend, take a left and ride to your vehicle with a smile on your face.

History & Background

Historically, this area was open for hiking only until it was opened officially to mountain biking in 2014.

Contacts

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4.5 from 2 votes


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Sep 24, 2017
Collin Wheeler
World Class Ride! Just make sure you're comfortable with your riding skills and not being easily accessible. A bit of hike a bike, but worth it! 7.8mi — 2h 45m

Trail Ratings

  4.5 from 2 votes

#1309

Overall
  4.5 from 2 votes
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Rankings

#19

in Tennessee

#1,309

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871 Since Apr 29, 2017
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Sean Wiggins
Elizabethton, TN
Sean Wiggins   Elizabethton, TN
My favorite ride in Northeast Tennessee! Technical riding with big climbs and big descents. Jul 12, 2017
Collin Wheeler
Detroit -> Marquette -> Tet…
Collin Wheeler   Detroit -> Marquette -> Tet…
One of my new top 5 favorite rides of all time. A lot of hike a bike, but totally worth it. Have a good understanding of your riding ability, mechanical skills, and comfort of being in the backcountry. 10/10 Sep 24, 2017
I love this land & trails the ride encompasses but I have mixed feelings about it as a MTB ride. It's a nice, remote adventure w/ good views. But tons of pavement, tons of double track,& I don't care for the Paint Mtn Trail east of Lone Pine Gap. Lot of potential but steep fall lines everywhere & too much hiking. For me the forest roads are best on a cross bike. Trail work will go a long way tho! Oct 25, 2017

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