City: Mills River, North Carolina
The Laurel Mountain and Pilot Rock bike trail offers a thrilling yet challenging ride that combines both the beauty and ruggedness of Mills River's terrain. Spanning roughly 5 miles in the heart of North Carolina, this trail is not for the faint of heart. Yet for those who are up to the challenge, it promises an unforgettable biking experience.
The journey starts at the Laurel Mountain trailhead, urging riders to follow Yellow Gap Road down to the Pilot Rock Trailhead. Here, one of the trail's most daunting challenges emerges: a considerable climb, largely unrideable, beckoning riders to embrace the "hike-a-bike" spirit to reach the summit.Upon cresting Pilot Rock, cyclists are met with the Laurel Mountain Connector Trail, guiding riders for around 0.3 miles. But be vigilant, as an unassuming dead tree serves as a marker for an exhilarating 6.5-mile descent awaiting those who dare to venture behind it.
To access the trail, take I-26 East from Interstate 40 to SR 280 South, continuing into Pisgah Forest. Turn right onto 276 and keep a lookout for Yellow Gap Road on the right. The Laurel Mountain Trail Head is a bit further on the left. For a seamless finish that meets your vehicle, start the ride back in the direction you came, heading toward the Pilot Rock Trail.
With its extensive climbs, technical sections, and unmatched views, the Laurel Mountain & Pilot Rock Trail is a must-ride for experienced mountain bikers seeking a memorable challenge. However, for those less familiar with such technical routes, ample preparation and perhaps even a scouting trip beforehand might be advisable.Remember, as with any trail, respecting nature, staying safe, and adhering to local guidelines will ensure a rewarding experience for all. Happy biking!