Asheville, NC: Laurel Mountain trail -> Pilot Rock trail 

Laurel Mountain to Pilot Rock is classic Pisgah singletrack at it's finest. Start at Bradley Creek on FS1206 to begin with a climb and finish with a descent on fireroad. Turn onto Laurel Mountain trail and have your climbing legs ready, it's not going to let up for 6 miles. During the first couple of miles you'll pass manynatural technical trail features that will bring out the trials rider in you, or stop you in your tracks. After the first gap you'll find long and winding benchcut with views deep into the valleys and rhododendron tunnels that, when in full bloom, are breathtaking. There are a number of gaps along the way that are perfect places to regroup, also. After 6 miles of climbing you'll reach a serious hike-a-bike that lets you know the climb is just about over. Vere left at the fork and continue to climb just a bit more to Pilot Rock trail. Tighten your chinstrap, check your equipment, and get ready to rock. Be ready for a descent that drops about 1500 feet in two miles, is covered in rocks and roots, and has more switchbacks than you can count. Be sure to stop at the two overlooks along the way to wait up for your buddies and to shake the tingling out of your hands. Watch out for the rock garden towards the bottom. It looks ridable but can eat both man and machine in an instant. The descent finishes with fast straightaways on wide track, don't get in over your head, the finish isn't too technical, but you can get going to fast very quickly. When you reach the fireroad it's all flats and downhills back to the car.

Laurel to Pilot can take anywhere between 2-4 hours to complete, depending on fitness and skill level.

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Author: Pisgah Productions
Date: 20 Aug 2008 5:56:02 PM
Activity: Mountain Biking
State: North Carolina (NC)
Distance: 13.45 mi  (Change units)
Calories: 1547
Average Speed: 6.9 mph - 0:08:43/mi
Duration: 1:57:19
Survey Elevation: Total Gain: 3942 ft
Total Loss: 3864 ft
Net Change: 78 ft
Difficulty: 5 / 10
Tags: Horse Shoe, North Carolina
Rating: Unrated   Rate it

TO TRAILHEAD: From I-26 take exit 40 towards the Asheville airport. Right onto North Mills River Road. Travel 5 miles to North Mills River Campground. Continue on gravel road (FS1206). Note Laurel Mountain trailhead on Right 3.1 miles after the road becomes gravel (just after the crest of the hill). Park on FS1206 1.5 miles past the trailhead (at the bottom of the hill) to start the ride with a climb and finish with a downhill.

Position Format: Datum:

Laurel/ Pilot

Distance: 13.45 mi Points: 1401 Calories: 1547
Total Time: 1:57:19 Speed: 6.9 mph Pace: 8:43 / mi
Active Time: none Speed: 6.9 mph Pace: 8:43 / mi

Points of Interest


Location: 35.392409, -82.680016
Laurel Mountain trailhead


Location: 35.383515, -82.687005
Forest Service Road 1206 at Bradley Creek Trail.

Laurel Mountain trail

Location: 35.392513, -82.680587
Turn onto Laurel Mountain trail from Forest Service Road 1206

Rich Gap

Location: 35.404303, -82.692375
Known as 'The Meeting Log', Rich Gap is a great place to stop and wait for your buddies that have fallen behind.... or if you're the one that's in the back it's great to know everyone will be waiting at Rich Gap.

Unmarked trail to the Left

Location: 35.407444, -82.720701
Do not mistake this turn as the Pilot Rock Connector Trail.

Unmarked trail to the Right

Location: 35.407348, -82.726398
This old trail was once legal but today it is not. Even if you notice blazes PLEASE stay off this trail.

LEFT TURN onto Pilot Rock Connector

Location: 35.406084, -82.736765
There is no trailsign at this intersection. Bare Left at the fork at about mile 6 on Laurel Mountain trail. If you reach a second hike-a-bike with switchbacks, you missed the turn.

LEFT TURN onto Pilot Rock Trail

Location: 35.402814, -82.736819
You better be ready to Rock&Roll!

Rock Field

Location: 35.390170, -82.730312
Experienced riders will have fun with this natural technical trail feature. Beginner riders will be walking.


Location: 35.385394, -82.731826
Cross the creek then turn left on the gravel road (FS1206). It's all flat and/or downhill on gravel from here back to the start/finish

The View

Location: 35.394228, -82.730999
The overlook on Pilot Rock

...pilot rock.jpg

Location: 35.396047, -82.733574
A tame section of Pilot Rock trail

...kris on pilot.jpg

Location: 35.399685, -82.734432
Pilot Rock trail


Location: 35.396187, -82.684307
There are a few unridable sections on Laurel Mountain trail.

....rock garden.jpg

Location: 35.391009, -82.732029
The rock garden on Pilot Rock trail


Location: 35.406541, -82.704735
Rhododendron tunnel on Laurel Mountain trail.


Location: 35.405842, -82.716751
Laurel Mountain trail can get pretty technical.

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