“A full loop with an epic ridgeline with a killer descent.”
— Joseph Rowe III
Enjoy an all day outing on one of the epic ridgeline rides in the Blue Ridge Mountains. You'll start with several miles of climbing along roads before reaching the Whetstone Ridge Trail #523
. Once the singletrack starts there are no bailouts and the ridgeline is very remote. Be prepared for serious ups and downs and some very technical sections. There's also a lot of rolling smooth fast stuff along the descent back to the start.
Need to Know
- There are no services available anywhere along the route so come prepared with ample supplies.As mapped the ride starts along Irish Creek Road before taking Nettle Creek Road to reach the Blue Ridge Parkway. Alternatively riders can stick to Irish Creek Road almost to the start of the trail.
Start the ride with a mellow ascent on Irish Creek Road. At 2.6 miles either take a right on Nettle Creek Road (as mapped) or keep straight. After a few miles on Nettle Creek Road it connects to the Blue Ridge Parkway. There are a few more miles of climbing before a nice long descent continues all the way to the start of the singletrack.
The Whetstone Ridge Trail #523
is a great backcountry trail that's generally easy to follow. The ridgeline has many views in all directions. Expect numerous techy sections, hard climbs, great singletrack, and an awesome descent at the end that heads back to the road.
No maps are totally accurate of this area as a lot of the trails are old hunting paths. The turn down the switchbacks is marked but finding it on maps is tough. There are other ways down and they pretty much take you back to the bottom road but this trail is the best way down.
Part of the appeal of this trail and the surrounding area is that this ain’t Disneyland. In the backcountry, the element of 'figure it out yourself' always exists. This ridgeline is, however, a gem to be shared!
The end of the singletrack conveniently deposits riders back at where you left your car.