Iron Mountain Trail Professional Review and Guide
"The IMT (Iron Mountain Trail), uses closed service roads as well as singletrack to make up the thoroughly challenging- both technically and physically- eight and a half miles in between FS 90 and Damascus. It's fairly easy and inexpensive to use the shuttle service (if you choose) which is provided by the local stores in Damascus. The initial mile-long climb will give you a great return on the speedy downhill that follows, and it's worth every labored breath. Doubletrack gives way to tight singletrack; thick forest canopies break away into ski-wide overlooks. Creek crossings and narrow jumbles of stone that require careful maneuvering- it's all here. This ride lies within the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area, uses a section of the former treadway of the Appalachian Trail, and passes near Iron Mountain."
--Steve Jones, Mountain Bike! The Southern Appalachian & Smoky Mountains (Menasha Ridge Press).
Two words describe this trail: steep and rocky. First 3 miles are all uphill and then the ridgeline is completely covered in canopy. The downhills are no joke either. I burned out my back disc break at mile 12 and had to ride into damascus on my front brake. I missed a great section of downhill because I had to cut off on the FS 90. Either way, its a great day ride. You just need to bring A LOT of water b/c there's none on the trail. If you go into sundog outfitters in Damascus they will take you up to the trail head at skulls gap for 25 bucks, and they sell maps of the area. Thats the best way to go.
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