“Lookout Mountain, ridden from Stokesville Campground, avoids some of the road riding on the main Lookout loop.
— Alistair Hastings
The loop is a reasonable length and difficulty for teens and adults looking for a challenge. The trail is not suitable for groms.
This loop starts at Stokesville Campground and heads up the back of Hanky Mountain. This cuts out the road section past Todd Lake in the other Lookout Mountain Loop
The climb out of the campground starts as fire-road, then switches to steep, loose, singletrack. It's manageable by some, but many riders will do at least a bit of hike-a-bike due to the grade.
The portion of Wild Oak N.R.T. (716)
that you'll be riding is a mix of fun, flow-y singletrack, with a smattering of rock gardens to keep you on your toes. All of the rocky sections are rideable, and none are too long, if you do have to hike-a-bike.
The lookout is about 3/4 of the way down the ridge and worth a stop. If you time it right, this loop makes a great evening ride - you can catch the sunset and still make it back to pavement before it's too dark to ride.
Need to Know
Food/beverage supplies are available at Stokesville Market, maybe one mile from the campground, on North River Rd. You'll pass it at the end of the loop and can grab a cold drink or snacks.
Stokesville Campground is a great base for a weekend of riding. Hot showers are available. As is a pavilion if you get rain.
Start at Stokesville Campground and ride straight up the road (there are some singletrack loops at the camp - fun stuff, but not part of this loop). It's gravel road until you get to the property boundary, then there's a quick, loose gravel scramble to fire road FS Road 535. The next ~two miles are a steady climb on fire road.
At roughly mile two, you'll see Shaffer Hollow Trail
to your right. Turn here and begin climbing. It's steep and loose. Many will have to dismount for short stretches due to the grade. This continues for about 0.5 miles, where you'll dead-end into Wild Oak N.R.T. (716)
Take a right onto Wild Oak
. The ride keeps going up, but the grade is more reasonable. You'll pass over a few rock gardens, but nothing sketchy. At mile three, the climbing is mostly over and the trail gets fun. The descent is a mix of fast, flow trail with enough technical rock gardens to keep you on your toes.
At mile ~5.4, there is a short trail on the left that leads to a lookout over the valley. If you time the ride well, you can arrive here at sunset, relax for a bit, and wrap up the last bit of trail before dark. As you approach mile 5.6, there's a bridge. Just before that is a tricky set of large rocks. It's the end of the trail - if you have the energy, session the rocks and see who can get through/over without dabbing.
Cross the bridge and continue on the trail for a bit. Bear left at the trail split, which then drops you on North River Rd. Turn right to head back towards the start.Just after mile seven, North River Rd splits to the left. There is a market there if you need to grab a snack. Otherwise, keep straight, cross the old railroad bridge, and turn right back into Stokesville Campground.