This loop opens with a four-mile road climb (most of which is gated off to cars) to reach some fun technical descents on Horse Cove Gap Trail #325
before continuing on the more gradual Squirrel Gap Trail (#147).
The loop is less difficult than other other Pisgah descents, but still works in some challenging sections without forcing riders off big drops or jumps. It's a little more secluded and has many pretty views of the Parkway, Looking Glass Rock, and South Mills River.
The area is frequently wet and doesn't dry out as quickly as other trails in Pisgah.
Park at the campsites at the end of 476/Wolf Ford Road, the entrance to South Mills River Trail is here. Backtrack on the road you drove in on for about a mile to locate the start of FSR #5018
on the right.
Take 5018 until it dead ends, keep an eye out to your right and behind you there are some great views of the Parkway and Looking Glass Rock along the way. Horse Cove Gap Trail #325
will be on your right when the road dead ends at about mile four.
Take Horse Cove Gap Trail #325
down until it dead ends at the Squirrel Gap Trail #147
intersection. Take a right on Squirrel Gap Trail #147
and follow it all the way down until you hit South Mills River where there is a suspension bridge to get across. Make a right on South Mills River Trail #133
and take it all the way back to the parking lot.