The view—oh-my-god, the view! Slate Rock perches 500 feet or so above the cove floor, with a breathtaking 180-degree view of the cove and an incredible profile of Pilot Rock across the way. Certainly one of the top three views in Pisgah Forest, with a hawk drifting on the thermals 100 yards out in front of you if you’re as lucky as me.
About 80 percent of this trail runs through rhododendron thickets and tunnels, with brutal, heartbreaking climbs up a number of false tops, a descent down through Pilot Cove that screams for the first mile, and several challenging technical moves tossed in throughout the return leg. Tread: 100 percent Carolina singletrack.
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