Mountain Biking Unaka
This is a hard ride, no matter how you do it. There were no maps for the trails when I rode this- ever.
Riders should allow four our and more for this is you stop long at the pretty "view".
Overlooking The Nolichucky
This is why a lot of folks mountain-bike. The views can very often look similar to this. The mountains, anywhere, can have spectacular views such as what we see here. Western, North Carolina is "chock full" of them.
My guests on this day wanted a hard mountain-biking adventure. So I immediately thought Unaka Mountain and "The Basin". From Bakersville. NC we took 226 to 197. These roads take you through "Loafers Glory", Red Hill Green Mountain, Relief, Poplar and on to Indian Grave Gap which is also Unaka Mountain. There is a "pull-over" right here. It's good to park right here. "Beauty Spot" is another adventure and is to the right as you approach from NC.
From elsewhere, you could take I-26 to Erwin TN, 107 to 395 (Rock Creek Road) . Once on Rock Creek Road you will have 6.6 miles to Indian Grave Gap. Pull over to the parking on the left.
This point is the North Carolina/Tennessee States line.
From the parking area cross the road and begin there.
If you start going downhill- you've just missed it!
The Climb Before the Decent
There is a hard way to get down toward the "Basin" and I don't recommend it to most novice mountain bikers. You can take gravel roads all the way down. If you take a road to the right, and don't take a trail off of that road to the left- you can miss the Basin completely and go all the way down to Erwin, TN. Today we took the hard way. To go down to the Basin, first you climb up. It's a very hard climb. This way will take you through the "bald" above but then soon you will descend on rocks that can be dangerous.
Do not cycle out here alone.
The old "logging road" is washed out quite a bit and the rocks are big enough to make you crash. I, personally have embedded my glasses into my forehead and broken a hand here. I was showing some guys "how to do it".
It's a very long descent. At times you can hear the train down below.
Once you get "down" you're on top of the world.
Often you will see the train. You will also see small yellow rafts taking tourists on a rafting adventure. One dangerous stretch is right below.
Uh oh! Looks like we've lost one! You lose some and then- you lose some! Not to worry though. He left his lunch up top with us. We, of course, split it up evenly.
Across the Nolichucky River is the "Lost Cove". I've not been over there but I have friends who have. You have to cross the trestle to get there. That's dangerous. The Lost Cove was a nice little community at one time and is a "ghost community" now.
Very often, more than hikers or bikers, there will be horse riders out here at this very spot.
It certainly is a great spot for having a break and snack.
The pictures don't "do it justice".
This club was from the Coast of North Carolina and though "flat-landers", they did very well.
You can be with the Eagles and Hawks up here.
The Brunswick Pedalers did very well.
Al and Margaret!
My buddy Rike!
After leaving this trail/logging road, a couple roads were freshly graveled and one was completely new. This threw me off. As long as you're going up you get out -right? Actually I did a little "re-con" and came back to the group because after you went up on this road, it took you back down. So, there was no mutiny. No one was tossed over the mountain.
This mountain bike ride looks like this -before you're done!
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