I'm not sure why anyone would follow this guide to the Cantrell Creek, when there are so many options to create a loop. I did this section of Trail on a 7 hour Pisgah Epic, starting at South Mills and ending at Avery Creek, but for everyone that does not like, or have 7 hours, here is a 2 hour loop.
Follow the easy and scenic Soth Mills River Trail, crossing numerous swing bridges, until you get to Cantrell Creek Trail take the Cantrell Creek trail, that starts at the old lodge ruin. The Cantrell Trail is every Mountain Bikers Nightmare, and everything we all hate, gets thrown at you, chicken heads, baby heads, slippery, wet creek crossings, swamps and more make this short trail a nightmare. At the end of this trail you hit "Squirrel Gap Trail", you can now choose to go left or right. I suggest you take a left, which gives you a really enjoyable and fun downhill run all the way down the Squirrel untill you meet up with "South Mills River" trail again, DO NOT cross the river, 'cos this will take you to "Buckhorn" but just follow the South Mills River back to where you you started.
You could also take a right on top of Cantrell, onto the Squirrel and then onto Mulinax back to Homebase, but I never did this loop, so I cannot advise.