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A nice, mid-length, XC-ish route that links together most trails in the North Mills River area.

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3,335' 1,016 m


2,399' 731 m


1,903' 580 m


1,908' 582 m



Avg Grade (2°)


Max Grade (17°)

Dogs Off-leash

E-Bikes Unknown

Wash Creek Road can be closed in winter.


A nice evening or off-day ride. Nothing too hard but still challenging and beautiful.

This hits all trails in the North Mills River area except for Upper Trace Ridge Trail #354, Big Creek, and a short section of Spencer Branch Trail #140.

It includes the rocky goodness of the newer section of Spencer Branch Trail #140, the way-too-short-but oh-so-sweet descent of Fletcher Creek Trail #350, and a quiet section through lower Spencer Branch Trail #140 past the old beaver ponds linking to a climb up an old rail bed with small waterfalls on Middle Fork Trail #352.

Need to Know

1. A couple of spots require a modicum of trail sense to keep on script.
2. There's lots of bears, especially in the late afternoon/evening. They want nothing to do with you. Help them with this. If you have a bear sighting, just keep moving. Do not ever put yourself between a mother bear and her cubs.
3. It's Pisgah. Bear Branch Trail #328, Lower Spencer Branch Trail #140, and Middle Fork Trail #352 always have muddy sections. There are some downed trees on Middle Fork.


Park on the road in the limited spots by the entrance to Wash Creek Horse Camp. Ride up the road towards the parkway. Look for FS Road 5001 on the right. Climb FS Road 5001 through the recently logged section. There's a couple of spurs that go off this road, if you stay straight and climbing you'll be on track.

At just under two miles, look for Bear Branch Trail #328 off to the right. It is not signed but has some blue blazes on the trees. It's just after a small opening with an old fire circle with a square rock the size of a small cooler. Descend Bear Branch. It will abruptly T into a forest road, go right and look for the trail off to the left just after a small wooden bridge.

Continue descending back to the car. Start climbing again back up the road but continue until you hit Spencer Gap Trail #600 off to the left. Climb the steep gravel until it goes into some steep singletrack. You'll briefly hit a field and then continue back into the forest. The grade lets up and you've got a fun climb with some small rock and root gardens. Spencer Gap Trail #600 T's into Trace Ridge Trail #354. Take a left and go about 20 feet until you see Spencer Branch Trail #140 to your right.

Turn your suspension on and get ready to rock. This is a purpose-built trail with constructed rock features all of which are totally flowable. Cross Fletcher Creek Rd. (FR 5097) and continue straight on Spencer Branch Trail #140. When you hit the intersection with Fletcher Creek Trail #350, take a sharp right and cross the large creek. Just after the creek crossing, look for Middle Fork Trail #352 off to your left. Ride this up until you reach Fletcher Creek Rd. (FR 5097). Take a right on Fletcher Creek Rd. (FR 5097) and ride until you hit the top of Fletcher Creek Trail #350.

Descend the flowy goodness of upper Fletcher Creek Trail #350 until you hit the creek you crossed on the way up. Continue through the creek and straight on lower Fletcher Creek Trail #350. You've got a short, steep climb and then all-out-speed. Fletcher Creek Trail #350 merges into Hendersonville Reservoir Rd. (FR 142). Continue on the gravel road up a climb until you hit the Trace Ridge Trailhead parking lot. Take a right and on the backside of the parking lot and hit lower Trace Ridge Trail #354.

After a switchback and a short, steep eroded section, continue on to Wash Creek #606. Spin out your legs until it T's into a gravel road, take a right and in 100 feet you're back at the car.

History & Background

There's still some railroad ties on parts of Middle Fork from way back when. If you take a sharp right where Fletcher Creek Trail #350 merges into Hendersonville Reservoir Rd. (FR 142) you hit the old reservoir. Don't try to swim. It's silted out and people and horses have gotten stuck.


Shared By:

J. Matt

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 9 votes


in Trace Ridge


  4.0 from 9 votes
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26 Views Last Month
5,301 Since Jul 28, 2018
Intermediate/Difficult Intermediate/Difficult



Starting to get nice and techy!
Mar 15, 2019 near Avery C…, NC
Follow the signs for Spencer Gap when you reach this spot.
Apr 6, 2017 near Avery C…, NC
Ripping the top before it starts getting really tight...
Mar 15, 2019 near Avery C…, NC
Falling water on the gravel trail out
Jul 14, 2020 near Avery C…, NC
The Falls at the bottom of Fletcher Creek.
Mar 27, 2021 near Avery C…, NC
Fun trail to ride with an intermediate rider!
Sep 18, 2019 near Avery C…, NC


Current Trail Conditions

Add Your Check-In


Jul 15, 2023
mtndoc Bell
Bent Creek Gap mod. Saw black bear on dirt road to Bear Creek. Blasted the ride today, rode super strong! 21 miles, 2330 ft climbing — 2h 35m
Jul 9, 2023
mtndoc Bell
Amazing ride starting from Bent Creek Gap. Great climbs and nothing beats riding through miles of rhododendron tunnel singletrack! 20mi — 3h 20m
Mar 9, 2023
Liz L
17.8mi — 3h 25m
Jun 10, 2022
Keith Brooks
Sep 19, 2021
Mike Nosal
1999' lol. 1' shy of 2000 for our first day back in PNF. 90% clear, 100% fun. Few dabs but no hiking! 17mi — 3h 36m
Sep 29, 2020
Greg Tempel
Some additions to the route and visit to the reservoir falls at the end. 21.1mi — 3h 25m
Jul 3, 2020
Jeremy K
Sep 28, 2019
Scott Ellington

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