This route combines two of the best descents in Pisgah, accessed by two lengthy gravel climbs. Avery Creek Trail #327
is definitely a black, but isn't insanely technical, Bennett Gap
is worthy of its double-black rating with some spicy sections that will trouble all but truly advanced riders.
There are other options to add sections of Black Mountain Trail (#127)
or Club Gap
to make this a bigger, longer ride.
Starting from 'National Forest Road' off 276 West of Brevard, you can start this ride at either the 'Pisgah Forest Riding Stables' parking lot, or anywhere along the road leading up to it - there are various parking spots, turn-offs, and campsites along the way.
Regardless, you'll start on Clawhammer Road
after turning right off the Forest Road through the Riding Stables parking area. The climb takes you four miles and 1,200 feet or so up to the intersection of Clawhammer Road
and Black Mountain Trail (#127)
. It's never too steep or loose and is shaded for the majority of the way.
Stay straight/left through the first and only real intersection with Turkey Creek Road (Maxwell Cove Road)
, and avoid turning left onto Buckhorn Gap Trail #103
- it's pretty straightforward.
At the intersection with Black Mountain Trail (#127)
, you'll take a left. Clean the stairs upward if you're a demigod, and begin a technical, steep, and punchy climb. You'll top out after a bit, and descend part of Black Mountain Trail (#127)
until the intersection with Avery Creek Trail #327
, Club Gap
, and Buckwheat Knob (#24)
Turn left onto Avery Creek Trail #327
and let it rip - enjoy miles of chunk, jumps, drops, and alternate lines. It's never terribly steep, and there's pretty much always a ride-around. Towards the end of Avery Creek Trail #327
, it does flatten out a bit with a few creek crossings and likely mud spots.
Avery Creek Trail #327
and Buckhorn Gap Trail #103
weave together a bit, you can really take either as both will spit you out onto Avery Creek Road
Once on the road, you'll turn right and begin another gravel grind up 1,200 feet or so for a little over three miles to reach the Bennett Gap
trail access. Bennett Gap
is definitely steeper, chunkier, and overall spicier than Avery Creek Trail #327
, so if you were in over your head on Avery, keep this in mind.
Everything is very rideable with only a handful of truly advanced features. Note that there are some sudden, steep uphills in the first portion of Bennett Gap
, so stay on your toes. Enjoy the fast, open descent on Bennett Gap
that will have you grinning from ear to ear. You'll then pop back out onto Avery Creek Road
to get back to your car and finish out the ride.