Get away from the crowds and experience the remote wilderness of Western North Carolina. This is probably the most frequently done loop in Panthertown. It can be ridden either way. Many prefer clockwise because it offers more downhill trail riding and more uphill fire roads.
This loop gives you a little bit of everything Panthertown has to offer. Steeps, roots, rocks, ruts, flow, and creeks. A bit like Pisgah but not quite as hard and there are fewer people to contend with.
Park at either Salt Rock Gap at the end of Breedlove Road (mapped as start for this Featured Ride) or Cold Mountain Gap at the end of Cold M Rd.
CLOCKWISE DIRECTIONS - From Salt Rock Gap
Take Blackrock Trail #447
up for 2mi. The beginning is fairly rooty and leads to a few very steep sections. After long downhill turn right on Powerline Road Trail #451
If doing just a half loop, turn right on North Road Trail #453
, otherwise stay on Powerline Road Trail #451
until Panthertown Valley Trail #474 - East
. (This is mostly an uphill fire road and probably the least interesting section.)
After passing through the Parking lot at Cold Mountain Gap, turn right onto Mac's Gap Trail #482
for a fun 3.3 mile ride until turning left on Panthertown Valley Trail #474 - West
to return to Salt Rock Gap parking area. (0.9 Mile uphill fire road)
COUNTER CLOCKWISE DIRECTIONS - From Salt Rock Gap
Take the Panthertown Valley Trail #474 - West
down into the valley. After it flattens out, take a right on Mac's Gap Trail #482
. Follow the singletrack through a potentially deep creek crossing that often requires a dismount.
Turn left at Cold Mountain Gap to follow the road through the parking lot where the end of Panthertown Valley Trail #474 - East
starts. Take this back into the valley. Turn right on the Powerline Road Trail #451
and follow it until the ridgeline. Turn left to stay on the Powerline Road Trail #451
and follow this until a four-way intersection.
Head left on the Blackrock Trail #447
for a fun climb and then descent that's all singletrack. You'll be reminded of Pisgah riding on this somewhat challenging trail (it's not too difficult, but by this point in the ride it will feel more demanding). The singletrack will take you all the way back down to the Salt Rock Gap parking area.
Note: If you want to go directly between Salt Rock Gap and Cold Mountain Gap, the center of the Panthertown Valley Trail is hiking-only. Divert to the North Road Trail #453