We affectionately call this loop the Bataan Death Ride; it’s not especially fun, but it will test your mettle. Once fooled into believing it was a 3-hour cruise (yeah, I know, us and Gilligan), a crew of us spent the next 7 hours trying to escape from the forest’s clutches.
This is the kind of trail that can crush your will to live, so bring plenty of water and food, and most important, a good attitude. Smooth sections running along the river can lull you into an easy cruising frame of mind, then slap you down with some nasty rock/mudhole combinations. Then, after you’re already worn down, you get a brutally steep climb and a descent that’s just plain hateful. Plan to get very wet, as you’ve got to ford, ride, wade, or swim across the South Mills River no fewer than 14 times. Start the ride early or take a chance on spending a cold, wet night in the woods. Tread: 9.8 miles of singletrack; 9.4 miles of doubletrack.
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