Saturday, April 22, 2017
The time has come to finally unveil this bike packing route. Two routes in fact. One just under 200 miles and the other closer to 250.
I wanted to ride the entire route first, but I'm out of time this spring so I figured I would share these jewels with the general public.
I have spent several years working on this route, trying to get the most amount of gravel as a reward for the amount of pavement included.
At some point, NC decided to pass a law requiring the state to pave every single road in the state. Not many roads were left unpaved. The last 3rd of the route is an example of this (without going through sketchy backwoods, farm road, mooshine trails). But the last major climb up the gravel heavy Stoney Fork Rd to the Blue Ridge Parkway is a local classic that could not be left out.
Even the paved sections are mostly back roads and give a good flavor of life in southern Appalachia.
You will find some good gravel with the longest stretch passing through local elk habitat. I saw an adolescent elk on one of my exploration trips!
The longer route goes right below Max Patch, a local bald with 360 degree views. If you are following the Lite Route, Max Patch can be reached with a short out and back off route. Totally worth the time.
After Del Rio, on the Epic Route, you will ride a stretch of pavement before crossing the French Broad River on a bridge. You will then enter the forest again and find some steep single track, hike a bike. I could not find Chimney Rocks Trail on Ride With GPS, but the route follows FS Trail 154, to Trail 7 to Paint Rock area. ( you asked for it).
The great thing about this area is that it is considered a temperate rain forest, and there is always some sort of water to be found.
There are no re-supply stops between mile 64 and mile 188.5. Be prepared. Hot Springs is easily accessible from Paint Rock, just under 7 miles one way next to the French Broad River.
I'll add important beta as it comes to mind.
I hope you enjoy riding the route as much as I have!
Get out and ride!
Blue Ridge Mountains Epic Lite
Blue Ridge Mountains Epic
Posted by Stephen at 2:39 PM