As I began to descend the Pilot Rock trail, I realized that if the clouds hadn’t been so thick there would have been many amazing views of the surrounding forest. Make sure you have sturdy hiking boots as the trail is not kind on your ankles or feet. Pilot Rock Trail Reports. Buck Spring to Pilot Rock, Pisgah National Forest. Oct 28, 2012 - ilot Rock is another of the granite plutons found in the Pisgah Ranger District of Pisgah National Forest. An additional option would be to return on the Pilot Cove Loop Trail, which has outstanding views from a very large rock outcrop. With more than 500,000 acres, Pisgah National Forest sprawls across multiple management units. This trail comes with consequences. Fountainhead is flowy, and all the GPS data I’ve seen from the previous layout makes it look insane. Definitely want to revisit in the fall! Since the redesign, Fountainhead is a flowfest with a few miles of rocky trail in the back. Of course, company is fun too sometimes. I have ridden Raspberry, the approach to Black Jack, but that is as far as I ever plan on going. MTB Podcast | You'll also pass through natural block fields, resulting from the shedding of rocks and boulders from cliffs high up above. Also, this is truly all mountain territory because there is no way to easily get a big hit bike up to the top of the trail, and because every inch of the suspension on your AM bike will probably be utilized on this descent. Pilot Rock Trail . Posted by Jeff on Oct 30, 2016 @ 11:53 am in Forest Hikes, Hiking, Hiking Blog, North Carolina, Pisgah National Forest, Rated Moderate Hikes | 3 comments | Last modified: November 7, 2017 . The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October. One creek crossing near the bottom. Oct 28, 2012 - ilot Rock is another of the granite plutons found in the Pisgah Ranger District of Pisgah National Forest. Passes through many switchbacks along the way to the top of the dry ridge, some of which are engineered with dry-stacked rock walls and cobblestone fill. An official spu… Widgets, Explore   Moderate trail with great views of the Blue Ridge Parkway and Looking Glass Rock once you reach Pilot Rock. IMBA Epics | haha). Pilot Rock has a bench for you and your space. I do remember falling at one section of a difficult climb. I was riding solo. This is terrible. I would not recommend riding this one uphill! Looking Glass Rock is a famous landmark in Pisgah National Forest, offering breathtaking 180 degree views from the top! Blackjack did have a different sort of vibe in that it felt like a bunch of big features strung together with trail, and all the ride arounds and options took some of the sting out. Like Greg said, Blackjack is like a bunch of features connected by trail, so you can regain your composure in the spaces in between. Views for days. If you are a climber this is the hike to the base. It’s known as a classic Pisgah ride with a big climb at the beginning and a portion of the ride on the popular Black Mountain Trail. By Trail Contributor: Zach Robbins (Contact Zach) Pilot Mountain is a notable landmark on the Art Loeb Trail in Pisgah National Forest. Expect a long, singletrack climb and one of the rockiest, wildest descents around. Access is via Yellow Gap Road (FR1206). I had ridden this trail two times. I can’t even remember the name of the trail. It is lightly trafficked and has a lot of unique features. As I neared the top of Laurel Mountain, I realized I was riding in low-lying clouds. With a trailhead on the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Pilot Rock trail is ideal for a fall hike - cooler temperatures and vibrant autumn scenery your companion for a memorable excursion into Pisgah National Forest. Be ready for an intense last 3 miles. Bordering Transylvania, Buncombe, and Haywood Counties, Pisgah Ranger District is a short drive from Asheville, Hendersonville, Brevard, and Waynesville. It is a blast, but would be better if it was easier to shuttle. I have a feeling I’d be walking a lot but I’d still love to experience it! Pilot Rock Trail is a 9.5 kilometer moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Pisgah Forest, North Carolina that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. That said, if you fell and got injured on this trail and where all by yourself you’d be pretty screwed. Guess I didn’t really think of that. Only attempt this combination if you’re looking for a long day of riding and hiking! Parts of Templeton continue to be my nemesis. Very rocky near the face and some great views up the face. Nothing more exciting than hanging off the back of your bike and trying to make a switch back with a serious penalty for not making it. Best MTB Gear | If you do summon up the gumption to tackle Pilot Rock, be sure to ride within your ability level and do your best not to crash! While the Laurel Mountain trail features classic backcountry-style ridgeline singletrack, the main event is the Pilot Rock descent: four miles of steep, never-ending rock gardens with a series of tight switchbacks thrown in. Looks like an awesome ride! Distance: 3.6 miles Blaze: Orange Difficulty: Difficult Maps: Dunsmore Mountain. https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/north-carolina/pilot-cove Waking up in the Pisgah forest is a magical experience: the sounds of birds and streams, the smell of fresh damp foliage, the promise of a new day and new trails to slay. This trail comes with consequences. In hindsight that road was too steep and twisty for my car anyways so it worked out. The view was blocked by trees when we got to pilot rock. When everything was said and done, I traveled 16.2 miles and climbed over 3,000 vertical feet in 3 hours and 11 minutes of moving time. I was almost to the top of Little Bald Mountain acsending from the south when I came across this almost 3 foot fatty lying right in the middle of the trail and it doesn't matter how many snakes I see it always makes my heart skip a beat and cold chills run across my body everytime I come upon one. Didn’t care for FountainHead in VA. Wow! Terms | Privacy, First published January 8, 2013 @ 9:51:32, The Best Singletracks Mountain Bike Reads of 2020, Trail Review: Whiting Ranch, Lake Forest, California, Undiscovered Territory: Cape Cod's Not Bad, Ride Report: Braving Silver Creek's Charms in Salida, Colorado. Because I ride there almost 4 days a week when it comes to other trails still nothing compares to the infamous “Templeton Trail” Only thing I can think of is parts of the decent on Deer Creek trail in Denver. I hiked three trails: Thompson Creek Trail (#602), Pilot Rock Trail… But there definitely weren’t any features on pilot rock as big as some of the ones on blackjack. DH bike worthy. I think I still have to give the number one spot to the black diamond trails in Palmer Park. I’m definitely going to have to take a look, then. The nice thing about Frederick is, if you’re not sure you’re ready for the Watershed, you can break yourself in at the adjacent Gambrill State Park that offers a nice progression of technical difficulty among its trails. Walk north on the trail toward the Buck Springs Lodge site. Also, based on GoldenGoose’s review, it sounded like the singletrack would be much more climb-able in this direction. 1.6 miles to the summit, begins at the far end of the Mount Pisgah Parking Area. This area of the forest is much less popular than the traditional attractions along US 276 and the Blue Ridge Parkway. This route is one massive bag of radically different conditions and disciplines–and it is excellent! Last time I was out on a N GA trail (Aska), I was thinking I should NOT be out here by myself! Great views from the top of Pilot Rock and nearby outcrops. If I have ever mountain biked a route that could be classified as “all mountain,” this is it. My body (and bike, for that matter) just can’t take that kind of abuse. Great if ur in this mood. For those looking to ride for many hours to tackle a challenging ride, the Laurel Mountain, Pilot Rock, Squirrel Gap mountain bike loop is a classic choice. I had ridden this trail two times. Shut-in Trail. Constant jagged rocks at the most inconvenient angles–definitely a challenge requiring at least a bit of a masochistic streak to enjoy. However, this trail does add even more climbing (as well as descending) and mileage to the loop. Too difficult to run the entire trail. Thanks for the recommendation! However, I did find that the majority of the Laurel Mountain trail was much more rideable than a lot of other trails I’ve ridden in Pisgah. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to head down to Fredericksburg and hopefully the trails at Liberty University (50-60 minutes from where my parents live) and see what those have to offer. As such, it offers more seclusion. After reading through the trail descriptions and all of the reviews, I decided to take GoldenGoose’s advice and ride up the Laurel Mountain trail and descend the Pilot Rock trail. Parking is on the right, but there's only enough space for maybe 3 vehicles. In a very short distance, look for the trail to bear to the right at a spot where going straight will take you into a camp site. I think Blackjack is mostly mental because the consequences of failure look so much more severe, especially on that one really big roller. To earn the descent on Pilot Rock, you’ll have to climb Laurel Mountain first. I’ve managed to clean all of Templeton but I have no hope of ever riding Black Jack. Mount Pisgah Trail . The Frederick Watershed may be tougher, but I haven’t gotten that far out, yet. In what could be one of the most bizarre naming situations in all of Pisgah, this trail is neither in a cove nor is it a loop. Last season was spent logging trails in MD for Singletracks. A rideable climb and a white-knuckled descent is always a win in my book! Laurel to Pilot is THE classic Pisgah mountain biking loop. Make sure you take blue ridge parkway I guess instead of going in the back way. Comprised of over 500,000 acres, the Pisgah is primarily a hardwood forest with whitewater rivers, waterfalls and hundreds of miles of trails. The Pisgah Ranger District is home to many waterfalls, scenic views, and miles of hiking, biking, and equestrian trails. Lots of steep, but short climbs, so it can be an anaerobic nightmare if you’re out of shape, but the challenge is all physical (and, to some degree, mental), but certainly not technical. There are no features I couldn’t ride on a 5.5″-6″ all mountain bike. .yet another spot I fear I may never conquer. Getting Started. In classic Pisgah style, there’s no way you’ll be able to stay on your bike for the entire ride unless you have Herculean quads and lungs. Posted by Jeff on Oct 28, 2012 @ 12:44 pm in Hiking, Hiking Blog, North Carolina, Pisgah National Forest, Rated Moderate Hikes, Vista Hikes | 1 comment | Last modified: July 8, 2017 . A trail for mountain bikers, rock climbers and hikers – this challenging route on the Pisgah National Forest has it all! The rocks in the middle of the trail are often thick, the grade is a bit steep (especially at the switchbacks), and in places the trail is near the edge of steep dropoffs. After consulting with GoldenGoose and doing some research in the Singletracks trail database, I decided on the Laurel Mountain trail. Enjoyed the trail, a little overgrown in places. With an ascent of 712 feet, the latter half of the moderate to strenuous hike is fairly steep and rocky. Fountainhead has almost nothing I would call “technical.” There’s nary a rock to be found in the place, just a lot of annoying roots. Templeton has some tough sections, but nothing like Black Jack. Drive 4 miles on FR1206 and look for the Pilot Rock Trail on the left. After the second switchback the Pilot Rock Base trail leads right (be careful of yellow jackets near the beginning of the trail). Also there are a few hike-a-bike sections, but overall amazing trail! Beautiful views tho. Unfortunately the way google maps tried to take me to this trail had a blocked road so I didn’t actually do this trail, ended up doing another tho, and was nice. Enter your email address to receive our top stories via email each week. Just goes to show that every trail is different! Nice trail if u want to run and hike. Question, did you ride this by yourself or with friends? Fountainhead in VA. Not nearly the same amount of elevation (1100′ over 11 miles or so), but a very difficult but fun trail. Follow the Pilot Rock Trail for about 3/4 mile, crossing an old roadbed near the bottom. Laurel mountain is a fun ride did it on a hardtail with 80mm front suspension long ride up for a florida resident the decent is awesome. I did a lot of hike-a-bike on the first climb up Pilot Cove and, as GoldenGoose mentioned, at the very top of the Laurel Mountain trail. Something so peaceful about being alone in the middle of the forest!! Had to quit my tracking early to save battery but did around 12 miles I believe. The gravel road to get to the trail was pretty well maintained. Pilot Rock is the name given a massive 300-foot high open ledge at the lower end of the long ridge extending south from Little Bald Mountain. (but don’t get me wrong…I love riding there! Well, the most technical backcountry trail *I’ve walked* is Blackjack in the Buffalo Creek trail system. ... rustic campsites and trails, public parks, playgrounds, streetscapes, schools, pools, businesses ... anywhere people spend time outside. Pilot Rock park benches provide a comfortable place to sit in a wide selection of styles and materials. This trail winds across the top of the ravine and along the base of the slopes. Thankfully, a cactus was there to catch me from going down the mountain! Really recommend going clockwise. Traversed by the iconic Appalachian Trail, the park is characterized by whitewater rivers, waterfalls, and hardwood forests.The forest offers a full spectrum of hikes, ranging from quick trips such as the 5-mile hike up to John Rock to longer, more strenuous hikes, including a popular blip on the Appalachian Trail up Max Patch Mountain, offering hikers a glimpse at the wondrous rigors of thru-hiking. Pilot Rock Trail, Pisgah National Forest. Squirrel Gap, Horse Cove Gap and Copperas Rock Loop Trails, Big Creek Trail: Blue Ridge Parkway to Hendersonville Reservoir, Pink Beds, Barnett Branch, Upper Black Mountain Loop, Mountains-to-Sea Trail: Pisgah Inn to 276, Bradley Creek, Riverside, Squirrel Gap and Laurel Loop, Blue Ridge Parkway: Mt. Most trails this challenging are much closer to civilization in the boundaries of a ski resort instead of miles and miles from the closest paved road in the heart of a national forest. In my opinion, as long as you’re prepared, know your abilities, an ride within your limits, there should be nothing wrong with riding solo. I guess I need to grow my repertoire of trails to get a better appreciation of technical. Initially crosses a creek, then climbs through a cove forest gradually getting farther from it. There are amazing views along this stretch! Trail could use some maintenance. . Pretty much a straight up the mountain kind of trail. Definitely more technical and backwoods than Fountainhead. Guaranteed to give you serious arm pump, this is probably one of the most technical backcountry-style trails I have ever ridden anywhere in the nation. Beautiful ridge line, but the trees are so lush so hard to get a good view on the trail. All I know is that place kicked my butt! If you like mountain biking with rocks, tight and technical switchbacks, and descending Pilot Rock is a great trail for you! Not as spectacular as it’s more famous cousin, Looking Glass Rock, Pilot still offer… Mountain Bike Deals, Copyright 2021 Blue Spruce Ventures LLC | It’s accessible from Looking Glass Rock Trail, a 6.5 mile round-trip hike from the trailhead, located less than a 10 minute drive from Pilot Cove. P ilot Rock is another of the granite plutons found in the Pisgah Ranger District of Pisgah National Forest. You're situated just above the Pisgah Inn off of the parkway. Pisgah to Cherokee. Pilot Rock Trail. This trail is the south side of a classic Pisgah loop which includes Laurel Mountain and the Laurel Mountain Connector for the climb up, and Pilot Rock for the descent. It generally has what everyone is looking for: gorgeous scenery and great trails. You will be hiking uphill to the highest point on the trail (~5300 ft.) and only then is it downhill for the last ~0.2 miles. April 2, 2017 On a sunny spring day, the masses will flock to a select few trails in the Pisgah Ranger District: Pink Beds, Graveyard Fields, Looking Glass Rock, Black Balsam Knob. not 360 degrees - probably more like 135). Pilot rock, definitely has a serious pucker factor. Yeah, I’ve ridden gnarlier trails than this before, but very few (if any) that are so far out in the middle of nowhere. Definitely go clockwise. If you start at the bottom (South) end of the trail (from Yellow Gap Road), it is pretty much uphill the entire route. Best Bike Trails | It suddenly felt as if I was back in Montana. However the view from the top is amazing. Good point–blackjack is definitely a similar sort of situation. The beginning and ending trailheads are both located on Yellowgap Road in the Pisgah Ranger District. Birch saplings line the Pilot Rock Trail in Pisgah National Forest. Nothing real technical or backwoods about it. All I remember is it’s in Tucson, AZ, it’s technically hiking and biking but trail designer didn’t want bikes so the switchbacks are tight and steep. The Pisgah National Forest is a land of mile-high peaks, cascading waterfalls, and heavily forested slopes. Really tough last 4 miles straight up. ... Pisgah, i would argue more difficult than what riders experience on the lower sections, however, just like every other pisgah trail, you get soaking wet. Pilot Rock Trail, Pisgah National Forest. Not as spectacular as it’s more famous cousin, Looking Glass Rock, Pilot still offer… Have you ever ridden any trails in the Fredericksburg area? S tarting at the former site of George Vanderbilt’s Buck Spring hunting lodge near Mt. Look for the wooden trail map between the dorms and the Inn. Climbs somewhat steeply from Yellow Gap Road (FR 1206) up to the Buck Spring/Mountains to Sea trail near Mount Pisgah on the Parkway. But I suppose that’s a slightly different animal, otherwise you would’ve mentioned it. I always thought the descent on Deer Creek (I’m assuming you’re referring to the “Wall of Shame”) was no biggie–now climbing it on the other hand . While the trail isn’t particularly steep until the end, it climbs an impressive 2,530 feet over its seven-mile course, so it’s a good idea to pace yourself. Nothing more exciting than hanging off the back of your bike and trying to make a switch back with a serious penalty for not making it. This trail worked into the loop very well, and turned a lot of the gravel road into singletrack. After riding Pilot Rock each time, I had a great sense of accomplishment. And the nice thing about both of those (Fountainhead and Watershed) are that they are close to population areas. Most technical? Support Us | I do it all the time. After riding Pilot Rock each time, I had a great sense of accomplishment. Of course if you are going out and back, then it's downhill all the way back. I haven’t ventured that far south. To break up the monotonous gravel road climb from the bottom of Pilot Rock to the beginning of Laurel Mountain, I threw in the nearby Pilot Cove-Slate Rocks trail as well. Your Turn: What’s the most technical backcountry-style trail that you’ve ever ridden? The view is quite nice at the peak but it is a small view (i.e. It took me about 2 hours to get to the peak and about an hour back down. , Company   Its steep, conical summit rises high above the surroundings and can be seen from many viewpoints along the Blue Ridge Parkway and in the Pisgah Ranger District. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash. About Us | There are a couple of nice lookouts along the way up which allows you to stop for a moment and catch your breath. Begin the hike on the Pilot Rock Trail. Laurel Mountain, Pilot Rock, Squirrel Gap. This trail is definitely on my top five most technical trails. This trail and Black Mountain are the most technical for me yet. It had recently rained so it was a little muddy at the start but at you gained elevation it wasn't too bad. Laurel Mountain/Pilot Rock. This 16.3-mile one-way trail begins at either the Mount Pisgah Trail parking lot (part of the Buck Springs Gap Overlook) or at Bent Creek near North Carolina Highway 191 at Blue Ridge Parkway Mile Post 393.7 (near the French Broad Overlook at MP 393.8).For its entire length, it and the Mountains to Sea Trail are the same (the trails stick closely to the Parkway route). This is what Pilot Rock is known for. This trail is different to to Pilot Rock trail. I didn't encounter any other hikers, but did encounter a few small groups of mountain bikers coming down the trail. Access: Begin from the Pisgah Inn parking lot, milepost 410 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Pilot Rock Trail - Pisgah National Forest.. On my recent fall trip to North Carolina, my main goal was to ride Bent Creek Experimental Forest… but there was no way I was going to visit the Pisgah area without doing a ride in Pisgah proper! In the NoVa area, technical can be found about an hour in either direction–heading east toward the aforementioned Frederick Watershed or west to the Elizabeth Furnace area. Pilot Cove/Slate Rock Loop is a 7+ mile series of trails in Pisgah National Forest near Mills River, North Carolina. Though not as prominent or massive as nearby neighbors Looking Glass and John Rock, Pilot nonetheless commands impressive views overlooking the high elevation valley known as the Pink Beds and the mountains surrounding. Funny–I’ve ridden the scariest drops at Blackjack, but there’s parts of Templeton I’m sure will confound me ’til I die. The lack of appreciable downhill rests and near constant climbing makes it tough in my book. I mean, who could pass on this description: “We chose to ride the trail in reverse of the directions above and it made for a KILLER descent down Pilot Rock. When I was writing this post, Dakota Ridge came to mind as something fairly comparable–but then I realized that that’s basically located right smack in the suburbs, whereas laurel mountain (and blackjack) are way the heck out in the middle of national forests. Fountainhead winds its way through a local park, so not too backwoods’ish. Pics 1, 6 and 7 remind me very much of the Frederick Watershed area in Maryland. Description. Pilot rock, definitely has a serious pucker factor. I visited on Memorial Day and only saw a few other people on the trail. Photo credit Icon Media Asheville. Good trail to add to my “maybe someday” list. This is a easy one way trail in Pisgah National Forest. Hidden near these other beautiful destinations is a gem: Pilot Rock Trail. Watershed may be more of a “backcountry” feel than Fountainhead, but I can’t say that for certain. Instead of mostly hike-a-bike with one or two rideable sections (par for the course on most Pisgah climbs), Laurel Mountain is mostly rideable with only a few hike-a-bikes thrown in. https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/north-carolina/pilot-rock-trail To get to the head of the trail you need to drive down a dirt road for like 4 miles. I shot a few photos to try to showcase the rocks, but as usual these aren’t the rockiest spots on the trail (I was trying to hold on for dear life in those), and the rocks look bigger in real life: I do have to disagree with GoldenGoose on one thing: I wouldn’t call this trail DH-bike worthy. This is what Pilot Rock Trail is known for. The weather was a bit finicky as I reached the top (sleet, rain, 40-50 mph gusts) so I didn't stay long. See … Those rocks and leaves look slippery as snot… got pucker? Templeton, by contrast, is a mostly continuous series of challenging features, often many in a row with no opportunity to reset between themselves–you either maintain flow or fail. Singletracks Merch | On the other side, the Elizabeth Furnace area will have even Hans Rey shouldering his bike a couple times. This takes you the base of Pilot Rock. The rocks in the middle of the trail are often thick, and the out-slope of the trail (especially at the switchbacks) is near the edge of steep dropoffs. One of the few black diamonds in the DC area. Most technical for me was likely Sleepy Hollow in Colchester, VT, but I haven’t ridden outside of New England. status date description; Jan 1, 2021 @ 9:38am. With a better bike and full advantage of the entire warm season in MD/VA/DC/PA, I hope to make some longer day trips to hit some more notable trails in the area. I had no problem with it in my small car. Tons of pucker factor, sharp/tough switchbacks, and techy rock sections to navigate.”. 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Springs lodge site on Pilot Rock Trail… Pilot Rock, Pisgah National Forest near Mills,... An hour back down second switchback the Pilot Rock one way trail in the middle of trail! Fountainhead is flowy, and descending Pilot Rock trail u want to run and hike has! May never conquer equestrian trails redesign, Fountainhead is flowy, and all the way.! Weren ’ t take that kind of abuse the Laurel mountain trail GPS I! Offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October I need grow. Get a good view on the Laurel mountain, ” this is it 712,... To receive our top stories via email each week as some of the rockiest, wildest around... Is it Gap road ( FR1206 ) spu… Pilot Rock and some great views of the ones Blackjack! An ascent of 712 feet, the Elizabeth Furnace area will have even Hans Rey shouldering his a! Is via Yellow Gap road ( FR1206 ) as “ all mountain.! To take a look, then climbs through a cove Forest gradually getting farther from it along 276! 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