“South Fork Trail #243 may have more fun per mile than any other intermediate trail in the area. Now it's part of a loop.”
— Steve Jones
Be aware of hunting seasons.
This 11.0-mile loop includes some solid climbs and fun downhills. A number of sweet gully crossings make this a choice ride.
Need to Know
The start of this ride is located on Dogway Road (FSR #232)
near two metal gates. For restrooms, riders will need to visit the Cowpasture Parking Area. Water is available at the Nature Center.
From the parking area, go east on the un-gated Frosty Gap #235
to where it ends at an intersection with Kennison Mountain Trail
. Keep straight to reach the top of Kennison Mountain. Follow the fun downhill to an intersection with a grassy road and go left. This is South Fork Trail #243
and it will quickly becomes singletrack. Blast through the multitude of gully crossings on tight lines. Sometimes you'll be riding on the shoulders of the trail.
At the end of South Fork Trail #243
, exit right on to FSR #102
and continue past the gate to the Cowpasture area, then climb south to Hwy 39. On the other side, pick up the Bruffey Reserve Trail #280
, which leads to an intersection with Pocahontas Trail #263
. Make a sharp right and start climbing the four large switchbacks that lead to the top (these can be fairly steep in places). Note the entrance to the Cranberry Mountain Lodge
, which is a nice rental for groups.
Continue on Pocahontas Trail #263
to the sign for Blue Knob Trail #255
. Climb up and right and continue to find the fun downhill that intersects with the Kennison Mountain Trail
. Take it to the right (north) to Hwy 39, and then head west on the highway for 200 feet to the intersection with the Dogway Road (FSR #232)
to complete a mellow climb back to the parking area.
History & Background
There is a former prison site a short distance down Charles Creek Trail #260
that makes a nice side trip. The Charleston Gazzette-Mail has a slideshow and info about the site, here