Trace Ridge

Asheville, North Carolina 28810

Trace Ridge

Trace Ridge Professional Review and Guide

"Trace Ridge is one of the must-do classic descents in Pisgah National Forest. It’s the kind of run that can shock you, rock you, melt your brakes, and leave you with scars to remember it by. The climb up to Spencer Gap is painful at times but well worth the payback. And the drop will simply take your breath away with scary amounts of speed over loose rocks, following tracks that twist, disappear, and skirt the edges of eroded, rocky disaster areas.

Keep your eyes glued to the line, don’t look at the nasty stuff, and just hang on. It’s great fun, if you like your riding loose and crazy. Oh, and pay proper respect to the five (used to be three, but they’ve multiplied) huge whoop-dee-doos at the end of Trace; they’re known to exact a high toll in broken bones and shattered weekends from those who take them too lightly. Tread: 4.5 miles of singletrack; 2.7 miles of gravel road."

Trace Ridge Reviews

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My brother and I ride offroad unicycles so we are always looking for point to point trails in order to avoid climbing uphill... we put in on the parkway and the trail drops quickly, with only one climb after Spencer Branch crosses Trace Ridge. This is very fun trail, technical in places. It's over too soon is the only complaint. Not as steep as we would have liked but a great trail for going fast (as fast as you can on one wheel.) Would do it again, i live in Asheville so it is relatively close.
Easy to find trail, not too far from I-26. Once you do find the trail, and leave the trailhead, the climb up the gravel road will sap you a bit, but won't kill you. After you make it to the singletrack, there are some tiring climbs, but do-able; the only thing that makes them un-doable is the fall leaves that can hide obstables. Description is right...beatiful contour running. While on the Specer Gap section, watch for a boulder on your left, as you make a sharp left turn. There's some rocks there that can endo you, if caught offguard. Enjoy the descent, and hang on. It's crazy, but a blast.
You have got to ride this downhill if you are in the area. It's as fast but not as technical as Little Pisgah so intermediate riders can enjoy it if they can make the climb. Watch out for people climbing Trace Ridge on your way down, stopping would be extremely difficult. If you enjoy the pain of climbing you can also ride back up Trace Ridge and take the Spencer Gap trail down from the top. The first section has one mean downhill. It's every bit as technical as Little Pisgah just a lot shorter. I used every mm of travel on my Psylo coming down that bad boy.

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Trail Information

Nearby City
Trail Type
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
1 to 2 hours
2,600 feet
Trailhead Elevation
3,400 feet
Top Elevation
Pisgah National Forest, Pisgah Ranger District (336) 877-3265
Local Contacts
USGS Dunsmore Mountain; USDA Forest Service Pisgah District Trail Map; National Geographic Trails Illustrated Pisgah Ranger District.
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Jul 2018