Setting out from the ranger station just off the US 276 in Brevard, North Carolina, the Clawhammer Route serves up a ride that will challenge even the most seasoned mountain bikers. The initial stretch of Clawhammer Road offers a relentless climb that extends over 7 miles. The first section is a well-packed gravel road, eventually giving way to a more technical singletrack. At mile 6.8, a crucial 5-way junction points you toward the Black Mountain Trail, a section that will inevitably require most riders to dismount and push their bikes.Notable Milestones
The pinnacle of this laborious ascent rewards riders with an awe-inspiring view from the top of Clawhammer Mountain. But the true payoff lies in the descent—a thrilling 1,900-foot drop filled with rocks, roots, and waterbars, testing both your technical skills and your nerves.
Multiple riders concur that Black Mountain is a journey made for mountain bikers who relish technical challenges. While 70% of the climbs may be unrideable for some—pushing their bikes up daunting stretches—the descent is where this trail truly shines. The feeling of successfully navigating through the rocks, roots, and steep drops is described as a "resounding yes" by riders who have dared to take on this mammoth trail.
If the technicalities start to overwhelm, riders have an option to veer right onto Maxwell Cove Road. This alternative offers a less demanding gravel descent but requires caution for potential horse traffic.
If you're seeking to relive the good old days of mountain biking, where banked corners and smooth trails hadn't yet simplified the sport, this trail offers the ideal challenge. With its relentless climb and unforgiving yet thrilling descent, Black Mountain Trail epitomizes what Pisgah riding is all about: an experience that is extremely demanding, yet equally rewarding.