This is a ridge ride that has more downhill than up as it encompasses the western 13 miles of cleared Fork Mountain Trail. It was once an old road that has constricted into a great singletrack. It's still possible to see the stones that were hand laid during the CCC days.
As it follows the ridge, the trail travels through several rhododendron tunnels, so June and the Fall are some of the best times to ride. The remote area has a quality of solitude and adventure. There's essentially no cell phone service or easy ways off the trail, so come prepared.
You can escape down Big Run or North Bend trails. Big Run is 6 miles in from Bear Run Road
and can make a loop. Big Run is a technical downhill (in the drainage ditch) and has a blue variation that bounces back and forth around the drainage ditch called "Pin Ball Wizard". North Bend trail is 13 miles in. North Bend is a fun and fast downhill.
Continuing past North Bend, there is a nice series of smooth waterbars in a downhill section before Desert Branch (gravel) road. Can exit left there to Richwood or cross the gravel road and continue down to the Gauley Ranger Station area on Hwy 39.
As you pedal you may have the honor of seeing bear, wild turkey, deer and other species. Climbs are relatively short but can be punchy. The trail also features about six rock gardens for a nice rugged and technical feel.
To access the top of this section of the Fork Mountain Trail, riders can pedal or shuttle Highway 39 and then take Bear Run Road
to reach a convenient starting area. The Richwood Visitor Center makes a good place to park or leave a recovery vehicle. Currently, the section of trail beyond FSR #946
(called Fork Mtn trail - Desert Branch section) has 2 new bridges. This version is rideable now with a reroute around the beaver pond. Alternatively, at the road, simply follow it left to descend back toward Richwood.