This is one of the most popular rides at Harbison. It combines Firebreak Trail
, Stewardship Trail
and Midlands Mountain trails to form a 9 mile loop. It is almost entirely singletrack except for a fire road climb towards the end.
It's a complete loop from the main parking lot and doesn't ever repeat sections.
The Outer Loop starts from the main parking lot at Harbison heading clockwise from the end of the gravel lot.
The first part of the loop is on the Firebreak Trail
and is relatively flowy singletrack. It is mostly smooth hardpack with occasional roots and loose gravel.
At roughly 1 mile, Firebreak intersects with a fire road and turns right. To continue on the Outer Loop, go straight across the intersection and onto the singletrack. This portion is the Firebreak connector and leads to the Stewardship Trail
. It includes a fun downhill section that crosses a bridge before starting to climb.
Once you reach the end of the connector trail, you'll be at the Stewardship Trail
. Take a left to continue on the loop. It will climb shortly and cross two gravel roads.
Shortly after the second crossing is one of the fastest downhill sections in Harbison. It is bermed, but the soil is sandy and can be rutted, so care is needed. At the bottom of the hill there is a bridge crossing and the start of a short section with a lot of roots.
After a second bridge crossing there is an optional side trail that is very tight and technical. Turn left to follow the main loop or right to add the technical loop. The tech loop rejoins the main trial a few dozen yards down the trail.
After this section is a fairly fast, flat section on very sandy soil. There will be another road crossing and the trail stays relatively flat. The trail will then make a right turn over a bridge and continue on. Shortly after the bridge the trail splits. Stay to the left to follow the loop. Going right will lead you off the trail to a secondary parking lot.
You'll then come to a split in the trail that allows you to cross a bridge or continue straight through a creek bed. Depending on recent rain, the creek may be dry or not.
The trail will intersect with another trail shortly after the bridge, and you'll turn left to follow the Outer Loop. You'll now be on the Midlands Mountain trail.
As soon as you turn left, you'll see another bridge and the start of a climb. This is a moderately steep climb with a couple of switchbacks. As you near the top, there is a loose gravel section and the climb starts to level out.
At the top of the climb you'll pass the entrance to Spider Woman II
on your left and shortly after is a fire road to the right. Stay left on the singletrack to continue the Outer Loop. Turning right will take you back towards the Firebreak Trail
After working hard on the climb, you'll be rewarded with a relatively fast and flowy section of singletrack. You'll pass the other end of Spider Woman II
on your left. Shortly after there is another trail that heads left. This is a portion of trail for foot traffic only, so keep right.
This section of trail was rerouted in early 2013. It's relatively flat, but with lots of turns.
Eventually you'll encounter another trail coming in from the left. This is the end of the foot traffic only section, so again, keep to the right. After a short flat section, the trail turns up. This is one of the more difficult climbs on the loop.
As you near the top you'll see a small trail come in from the left. This is the end of the Bluff Trail. Continue straight on the Outer Loop.
At the top of the climb you'll intersect with a fire road. Turn right to continue the loop. Heading left will take you to the Bluff Trail and overlook.
After turning right you'll begin a relatively long fire road climb. You'll see several trails heading to the right, but stay to the left.
At the very end of the climb, the trail will turn right onto singletrack. You'll be back on the Firebreak Trail
- follow it to the parking lot.