MTB Project Logo

Turkeypen Gap to Black Mountain Loop

Difficult
 3.0 (8) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

A challenging route rewarded with spectacular views and some of the best technical terrain in Pisgah.


Your Rating:      Clear Rating
Your Difficulty:
Your Favorites: Add to Favorites · Your List
Zoom in to see details
Map Key

23.3

Miles

37.5

KM

90%

Singletrack

4,185' 1,276 m

High

2,281' 695 m

Low

3,568' 1,088 m

Up

3,570' 1,088 m

Down

6%

Avg Grade (3°)

46%

Max Grade (25°)

Dogs Leashed

E-Bikes Not Allowed

Features -none-

Overview

This ride includes some of the more technically challenging terrain in the South Mills River area. It includes all of Squirrel Gap Trail (#147), the infamous hike-a-bike over Black Mountain with spectacular viewpoints, and it finishes with the high-speed technical descent down Turkeypen Gap Trail (#322).

Need to Know

Be sure to bring enough water and food. Arrive as early as possible during warmer months as the parking lot fills up quickly. Do NOT park in the area reserved for horse trailers. If the parking lot is full, you can park at the intersection of Turkeypen Gap Road and Highway 280 and ride up the road to the trailhead.

This ride is one of the more difficult loops that can be created using trails in the South Mills River area!

Description

Expect this ride to take five or more hours. While only about 25 miles, you'll total over 4,500 feet of climbing elevation. There will be a few sections where you must hike your bike up the ascents, notably on Black Mountain.

The ride begins from the Turkeypen Gap Trailhead parking lot and climbs up the short stairs at the start of the Vineyard Gap Trail (#324). Keep climbing Vineyard Gap for approximately 1.5 miles and then descend the 800 feet for the last half-mile while enjoying some classic Pisgah gnar through a tight rhododendron tunnel.

Once at the river, wade across to Riverside Trail (#115) and head right. This section of trail intersections can be confusing. While maps show only one intersection, there appear to be two with a marker missing from the first one. Just stay right each time and you'll be headed in the proper direction.

Continue on Riverside for approximately one mile and it will end at Bradley Creek Trail (#351). Follow the Bradley Creek Trail (#351) left for about 0.5 mile and it will intersect with the beginning of Squirrel Gap Trail (#147). You'll ride Squirrel Gap Trail (#147) entirely until it ends at South Mills River Trail (#133).

Continue straight/right onto South Mills River Trail (#133) and follow for about 2.5 miles. Turn left at the intersection with the Buckhorn Gap Trail (#103). Continue on Buckhorn Gap until it terminates at the intersection with Clawhammer Road and Black Mountain Trail (#127). Enter Black Mountain Trail across Clawhammer Road. This is where the hiking will begin.

You'll ascend upper Black Mountain Trail, climbing about 600 vertical feet in just under one mile. Several sections on this segment are not rideable and you'll need to carry/push your bike to the top. Your reward is some of the most spectacular viewpoints in all of Pisgah!

There are a few rocky outcrops you can rest at to take a break and take in the views. You'll cover approximately two miles of Black Mountain Trail until it intersects with Turkeypen Gap Trail (#322). Make a left and begin the hair-raising descent down Turkeypen Gap Trail. There are three steep sections that once again may require carrying/pushing your bike to the top. After the last climb, the drop back to the parking area is fast and steep.

Contacts

Shared By:

Timothy Parrish with improvements by Trevor Smela

Trail Ratings

  3.0 from 8 votes

#3016

Overall
  3.0 from 8 votes
5 Star
25%
4 Star
25%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
25%
1 Star
25%
Recommended Route Rankings

#117

in North Carolina

#3,016

Overall
107 Views Last Month
5,966 Since Jun 14, 2017
Difficult

0%
0%
0%
0%
100%
0%

Photos

Spectacular view from atop Black Mountain.
Jun 14, 2017 near Brevard, NC
A legendary downhill.
Jul 9, 2013 near Brevard, NC
Riding down Lower Black Mountain in Pisgah National Forest on a dropbar trail bike.
Jul 11, 2019 near Brevard, NC
Scenic overlook atop Black Mountain
May 9, 2015 near Brevard, NC
Walking Bridge across creek
Sep 8, 2017 near Brevard, NC
Watch out for rattlesnakes - on top of Black Mountain view point.
May 16, 2019 near Brevard, NC

0 Comments

Weather


Current Trail Conditions

Update Conditions
Minor Issues 22 days ago See History
Add Your Check-In

Check-Ins

Jul 4, 2018
Mick Clarke
Sep 8, 2017
Jason Wise
20mi