South Mills River

Asheville, North Carolina

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3 Reviews
4 out of 5
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.
Mountain Biking North Carolina

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Mountain Biking North Carolina

by Timm Muth (Falcon Guides)

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.

©  Timm Muth/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Mountain Biking
Nearby City: Asheville
Distance: 19.2
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Technical Difficulty: Easy to Difficult
Physical Difficulty: Difficult
Duration: 4 to 7 hours
Trailhead Elevation: 2,600 feet
Top Elevation: 3,400 feet
Local Contacts: Pisgah National Forest, Pisgah Ranger District (336) 877-3265
Local Maps: USGS Pisgah Forest; USDA Forest Service Pisgah District Trail Map; National Geographic Trails Illustrated Pisgah Ranger District.
Driving Directions: Directions to South Mills River

Recent Trail Reviews

11/5/2007
0

I love this hike!! Sure, there are a lot of river crossings after about 5 miles, but the scenery is excellent! If you're into backpacking, then you will find many wonderful spots to set up camp. I don't ofthen run into many people on this hike, especially the further I go in. It's also worth mentioning all the "off shoots" one can make along this hike. There must be at least 8 other trails that either start, cross or branch off from this trail. I almost always start at Turkey Pen Trailhead and just head on out, soon I'm going to get a couple friends and hike all the way through to the Pink Beds area near the Cradle of Forestry, make it a casual 2 night thru-hike, somewhere in there I'm told I'll run into "High Falls" a beautiful camping spot, waterfall and swimming hole. I can't wait!


7/1/2006
0

We went in on mountain bikes at Turkey Pen and rode upstream about 4 miles to Cantrell Creek Lodge site. We left our bikes there then backpacked upstream another 2 miles to set up a base camp. The first bridge is intact. The next 3 bridges are washed out from Hurricane Ivan of several years ago so you will get wet crossing the stream. We spent 2 days hiking and fishing. We only saw 2 other people and it was 4th of July weekend! If the trail had been in better shape I would have givent his trip 5 stars. It was in pretty rough shape above Cantrell Creek which is why we left the mountain bikes and went on foot. A more aggressive rider might have enjoyed the challenge but we did not want to get injured. Fishing was only fair. The scenery was gorgeous as the trail hugs the stream for the whole distance.


2/8/2002
0

One of the Best The Appalachian Trail(the whole trail) was also one of the best



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Apr 2018