I talked about my overall experience of riding in Western North Carolina in another post recently, but I wanted to go into more depth of each ride. Give you the highlights and the lowlights.
I ended up breaking my ride in to 2 segments. I didn’t want my phone to die and loose everything. I also left the map at the car, so we had to go back to get it. Creating our first detour.
If you’re following along on your map, we parked at Corn Mill Shoals access point (per guy at the LBS). We started out on Longside to Pine Tree to Cascade to Sheep Mountain. This is where it got weird.
Everything was really cool until Sheep Mountain. It was all really well flowing singletrack. Long steady climb to start out with, followed by rolling hills, and fast turns. Sheep Mountain was not cool. At all. To me. It was fairly steep uphill and down. It was loose, large gravel doubletrack with other trails intersecting that weren’t marked at the intersection or on the map. We spent a lot of time stopped on this trail. Pulling the map out, opening the map up, getting out a phone with a compass, checking the direction of the sun, looking for and remembering bends in the trail to coordinate our position with the map. We took several wrong turns and a lot of back tracking. We did find our way out, but it cost us a lot of riding time.
Sheep Mountain ended across the street (almost) from the High Falls access point where we found the Triple Falls trail. We rode Triple Falls to High Falls to Covered Bridge to Conservation Rd. These trails were easy to navigate and had the coolest scenery. They were also pretty boring by themselves. They were packed gravel dust bridal trails and a gravel road. They were also fairly crowded with hikers, and we even saw 2 horseback riders (remember, this was a Thursday during normal business ours).
We wasted so much time on Sheep Mountain that we were debating on taking the shortest route back to the car (it was getting late). We ended up taking some more singletrack though. Pitch Pine trail to Three Lakes trail that brought back out to Conservation Rd. These were nice, fairly easy trails. Some parts were pretty rooty, but for the most part, it was smooth riding singtrack.
From there, we used Bridal Veil Falls Rd. to get us to Corn Mill Shoals trail which would take us back to the car. Originally, we were going to add on a few trails that cut off of Corn Mill Shoals. Due to time, we decided to skip these. Corn Mill Shoals was a very rigorous trail. It had some very steep climbs that lead to a stream crossing. Big mistake on our part. This forests’ calling card is it’s granite slabs which included this stream bed. That slab was the slickest thing I’ve ever put my feet on. That, coupled with high water level and I’m guessing 40 degree water made this crossing super dangerous. It was well over knee deep depending on where you standing, and if you fell, you were headed for a small waterfall.
Next time, I will definitely avoid Sheep Mountain trail and the stream crossing on Corn Mill Shoals trail. I will probably not hit Triple Falls or High Falls again either.