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. Views for days. 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. Walk north on the trail toward the Buck Springs Lodge site. 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. Bordering Transylvania, Buncombe, and Haywood Counties, Pisgah Ranger District is a short drive from Asheville, Hendersonville, Brevard, and Waynesville. Pilot Rock Trail - 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. Climbs somewhat steeply from Yellow Gap Road (FR 1206) up to the Buck Spring/Mountains to Sea trail near Mount Pisgah on the Parkway. The lack of appreciable downhill rests and near constant climbing makes it tough in my book. Something so peaceful about being alone in the middle of the forest!! 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. Oct 28, 2012 - ilot Rock is another of the granite plutons found in the Pisgah Ranger District of Pisgah National Forest. That said, if you fell and got injured on this trail and where all by yourself you’d be pretty screwed. 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. Oct 28, 2012 - ilot Rock is another of the granite plutons found in the Pisgah Ranger District of Pisgah National Forest. Last season was spent logging trails in MD for Singletracks. This trail comes with consequences. Only attempt this combination if you’re looking for a long day of riding and hiking! ... rustic campsites and trails, public parks, playgrounds, streetscapes, schools, pools, businesses ... anywhere people spend time outside. Didn’t care for FountainHead in VA. Wow! You'll also pass through natural block fields, resulting from the shedding of rocks and boulders from cliffs high up above. haha). 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. After riding Pilot Rock each time, I had a great sense of accomplishment. IMBA Epics | 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. Description. 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. By Trail Contributor: Zach Robbins (Contact Zach) Pilot Mountain is a notable landmark on the Art Loeb Trail in Pisgah National Forest. All I know is that place kicked my butt! Since the redesign, Fountainhead is a flowfest with a few miles of rocky trail in the back. Too difficult to run the entire trail. Pilot Cove/Slate Rock Loop is a 7+ mile series of trails in Pisgah National Forest near Mills River, North Carolina. The weather was a bit finicky as I reached the top (sleet, rain, 40-50 mph gusts) so I didn't stay long. Pilot Rock Trail . 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. Birch saplings line the Pilot Rock Trail in Pisgah National Forest. This trail is different to to Pilot Rock trail. This trail worked into the loop very well, and turned a lot of the gravel road into singletrack. I hiked three trails: Thompson Creek Trail (#602), Pilot Rock Trail… I’ve managed to clean all of Templeton but I have no hope of ever riding Black Jack. DH bike worthy. 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. About Us | The beginning and ending trailheads are both located on Yellowgap Road in the Pisgah Ranger District. In hindsight that road was too steep and twisty for my car anyways so it worked out. 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. 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. S tarting at the former site of George Vanderbilt’s Buck Spring hunting lodge near Mt. 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. After riding Pilot Rock each time, I had a great sense of accomplishment. Best MTB Gear | Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash. This is a easy one way trail in Pisgah National Forest. This area of the forest is much less popular than the traditional attractions along US 276 and the Blue Ridge Parkway. If you are a climber this is the hike to the base. 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. This trail comes with consequences. It is a blast, but would be better if it was easier to shuttle. My body (and bike, for that matter) just can’t take that kind of abuse. Question, did you ride this by yourself or with friends? Well, the most technical backcountry trail *I’ve walked* is Blackjack in the Buffalo Creek trail system. 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. 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. 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. Mountain Bike Deals, Copyright 2021 Blue Spruce Ventures LLC | Mount Pisgah Trail . 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. Pilot rock, definitely has a serious pucker factor. Fountainhead is flowy, and all the GPS data I’ve seen from the previous layout makes it look insane. I didn't encounter any other hikers, but did encounter a few small groups of mountain bikers coming down the trail. 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. Those rocks and leaves look slippery as snot… got pucker? MTB Podcast | https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/north-carolina/pilot-cove 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. I think I still have to give the number one spot to the black diamond trails in Palmer Park. 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. Fountainhead winds its way through a local park, so not too backwoods’ish. Pilot Rock park benches provide a comfortable place to sit in a wide selection of styles and materials. Pilot Rock Trail, Pisgah National Forest. Begin the hike on the Pilot Rock Trail. I had ridden this trail two times. I visited on Memorial Day and only saw a few other people on the trail. There are no features I couldn’t ride on a 5.5″-6″ all mountain bike. I can’t even remember the name of the trail. Your Turn: What’s the most technical backcountry-style trail that you’ve ever ridden? 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. 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. Parts of Templeton continue to be my nemesis. .yet another spot I fear I may never conquer. https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/north-carolina/pilot-rock-trail 1.6 miles to the summit, begins at the far end of the Mount Pisgah Parking Area. However, this trail does add even more climbing (as well as descending) and mileage to the loop. This takes you the base of Pilot Rock. 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. 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. One of the few black diamonds in the DC area. As such, it offers more seclusion. Great if ur in this mood. 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. 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! ... 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. If you start at the bottom (South) end of the trail (from Yellow Gap Road), it is pretty much uphill the entire route. Also, based on GoldenGoose’s review, it sounded like the singletrack would be much more climb-able in this direction. This is what Pilot Rock is known for. 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. Singletracks Merch | Initially crosses a creek, then climbs through a cove forest gradually getting farther from it. I was riding solo. I do remember falling at one section of a difficult climb. 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 . 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. Looks like an awesome ride! But there definitely weren’t any features on pilot rock as big as some of the ones on blackjack. To earn the descent on Pilot Rock, you’ll have to climb Laurel Mountain first. Photo credit Icon Media Asheville. Good point–blackjack is definitely a similar sort of situation. 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. Pilot rock, definitely has a serious pucker factor. I guess I need to grow my repertoire of trails to get a better appreciation of technical. Had to quit my tracking early to save battery but did around 12 miles I believe. As I neared the top of Laurel Mountain, I realized I was riding in low-lying clouds. Guess I didn’t really think of that. 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. Enjoyed the trail, a little overgrown in places. Of course if you are going out and back, then it's downhill all the way back. After the second switchback the Pilot Rock Base trail leads right (be careful of yellow jackets near the beginning of the trail). Widgets, Explore   Looking Glass Rock is a famous landmark in Pisgah National Forest, offering breathtaking 180 degree views from the top! Follow the Pilot Rock Trail for about 3/4 mile, crossing an old roadbed near the bottom. One creek crossing near the bottom. Thanks for the recommendation! 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. Pilot Rock Trail Reports. Tons of pucker factor, sharp/tough switchbacks, and techy rock sections to navigate.”. 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. I have ridden Raspberry, the approach to Black Jack, but that is as far as I ever plan on going. This trail winds across the top of the ravine and along the base of the slopes. Laurel to Pilot is THE classic Pisgah mountain biking loop. It took me about 2 hours to get to the peak and about an hour back down. not 360 degrees - probably more like 135). 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. 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. Beautiful ridge line, but the trees are so lush so hard to get a good view on the trail. On the other side, the Elizabeth Furnace area will have even Hans Rey shouldering his bike a couple times. Fountainhead in VA. Not nearly the same amount of elevation (1100′ over 11 miles or so), but a very difficult but fun trail. Of course, company is fun too sometimes. 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. Very rocky near the face and some great views up the face. Really recommend going clockwise. Pretty much a straight up the mountain kind of trail. The view was blocked by trees when we got to pilot rock. Make sure you have sturdy hiking boots as the trail is not kind on your ankles or feet. Enter your email address to receive our top stories via email each week. Drive 4 miles on FR1206 and look for the Pilot Rock Trail on the left. But I suppose that’s a slightly different animal, otherwise you would’ve mentioned it. The Frederick Watershed may be tougher, but I haven’t gotten that far out, yet. It generally has what everyone is looking for: gorgeous scenery and great trails. There are a couple of nice lookouts along the way up which allows you to stop for a moment and catch your breath. When you drop out the bottom of Pilot Rock you will either be cursing the day you were born or wishing for a teleporter back to the top to do it all over again! Great views from the top of Pilot Rock and nearby outcrops. This trail is definitely on my top five most technical trails. You're situated just above the Pisgah Inn off of the parkway. Trail could use some maintenance. 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. After consulting with GoldenGoose and doing some research in the Singletracks trail database, I decided on the Laurel Mountain trail. Definitely go clockwise. The view is quite nice at the peak but it is a small view (i.e. . I’m definitely going to have to take a look, then. Moderate trail with great views of the Blue Ridge Parkway and Looking Glass Rock once you reach Pilot Rock. There are amazing views along this stretch! 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. , Company   This is terrible. status date description; Jan 1, 2021 @ 9:38am. A trail for mountain bikers, rock climbers and hikers – this challenging route on the Pisgah National Forest has it all! Not as spectacular as it’s more famous cousin, Looking Glass Rock, Pilot still offer… An official spu… Pics 1, 6 and 7 remind me very much of the Frederick Watershed area in Maryland. I had ridden this trail two times. Just goes to show that every trail is different! 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. Definitely more technical and backwoods than Fountainhead. I would not recommend riding this one uphill! Most technical? Make sure you take blue ridge parkway I guess instead of going in the back way. 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 have a feeling I’d be walking a lot but I’d still love to experience it! Most technical for me was likely Sleepy Hollow in Colchester, VT, but I haven’t ridden outside of New England. Hidden near these other beautiful destinations is a gem: Pilot Rock Trail. Best Bike 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. Getting Started. Yeah, I’ve ridden gnarlier trails than this before, but very few (if any) that are so far out in the middle of nowhere. It is lightly trafficked and has a lot of unique features. Beautiful views tho. If you like mountain biking with rocks, tight and technical switchbacks, and descending Pilot Rock is a great trail for you! I had no problem with it in my small car. Constant jagged rocks at the most inconvenient angles–definitely a challenge requiring at least a bit of a masochistic streak to enjoy. Access: Begin from the Pisgah Inn parking lot, milepost 410 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Pilot Rock Trail. I do it all the time. P ilot Rock is another of the granite plutons found in the Pisgah Ranger District of Pisgah National Forest. Distance: 3.6 miles Blaze: Orange Difficulty: Difficult Maps: Dunsmore Mountain. 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 . I haven’t ventured that far south. To get to the head of the trail you need to drive down a dirt road for like 4 miles. The Pisgah National Forest is a land of mile-high peaks, cascading waterfalls, and heavily forested slopes. Definitely want to revisit in the fall! 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. Last time I was out on a N GA trail (Aska), I was thinking I should NOT be out here by myself! 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.

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