Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Coontree Gap Mountain Bike Trail (Trail #144), Pisgah National Forest, Brevard, North Carolina

Coontree Gap Map (Click for larger view.)

Listed on the Pisgah Ranger District map as #144, the 3.7 mile (one-way, 7.4 out-and-back) Coontree Gap mountain bike trail is a butt kicker!  Heading uphill, it is a steep, gnarly hike-a-bike with only a few short, rideable sections (for me at least). Coming down the other direction, this is a sick downhill that will challenge your handling skills with all of the large water bars and stair-step construction. Get your butt behind the saddle and caress those brakes! 

Pisgah National Forest is no joke.  Its reputation for being steep, technical, and not-very-much-fun is well deserved. 

At least, it's not very much fun if you don't appreciate getting chewed up and spit out by the forest.  But if that kind of thing gets you off: travel to Brevard and check this place out!

Miscellaneous Information
"It should also be noted that this is a seasonal trail that is closed April 15-October 15," due to this being the peak hiking season. Mountain bikes are welcome from October 15 - April 15. Not all of the trails in the area are seasonal though, so check the map listed below for additional information!

Navigational Resources

Timm Muth has written an awesome guidebook with detailed statistics and directions.  It includes almost all of the worth-while trails in North Carolina, and features a big section on the Tsali trails.  If you're planning on spending a lot of time in NC, this is a great investment!

The Coontree Gap Trail is included in this book as a part of the Big Avery loop.

The maps that I have come to live by are all a part of the National Geographic Trails Illustrated series.  Easy to read, almost always up to date, tear resistant and water proof, these maps are designed to ride in your Camelback for months on end! #780 contains all of the Brevard-area Pisgah National Forest:

Getting There
From Brevard, head north on Highway 64, and then take a left on US. Hwy. 276 which leads into the heart of Pisgah National Forest. Go a couple of miles, and park at the Coontree Picnic area on your left. The trail starts on the opposite side of the highway.


Timm Muth,  October 6, 2010 at 10:33 AM  

Ahh, Coontree Gap ... I remember waterbar-laden climbs that went on forever. And on the way back down, seemed like a dirt-coated rollercoaster. tough ride, but well worth it.


Davis October 6, 2010 at 10:55 PM  

It should also be noted that this is a seasonal trail that is closed April 15-October 15

Greg Heil October 7, 2010 at 7:52 AM  

Hey Davis, Thanks for the info, I'll be sure to add that.

Does anyone know what is up with the sketchy looking stickers on the trail signs for this trail claiming that it is illegal for bicycles? If they weren't made of peel off labels and Sharpie I might have wondered more if they were official... but as it is I just assumed it was either disgruntled horse people or hikers. (Also the map and guide book listed above have this labeled as a legal trail.)

Anyone have more info?

Greg Heil October 7, 2010 at 7:53 AM  

Wait, you meant closed October 15-April 15 and open April 15-October 15, correct?

Davis October 13, 2010 at 10:32 PM  

@Greg, No they are closed April 15 - Oct 15 during the busy hiking summer season. If you look carefully on the Nat Geo map in the trail list it has a half white and half brown bike sign indicating that it is a seasonal trail.

Next time you are in town stop on by The Hub at Backcountry Outdoors, I'm the Manager, and would love to talk to you about the trails and what all we are trying to do in the forest.

Greg Heil October 14, 2010 at 3:43 PM  

Hey Davis, I checked the map out and see what you're talking about. I'll make sure to note that in the review above... thanks for sharing the info!

Next time I'm in Brevard I'll definitely stop in and say hey. Loved the trails that you guys have, I wish I was able to spend more time there when I passed through. Hopefully it won't be too long until I'm back!

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Greg Heil is the Editor in Chief for He's been writing and publishing online since before blogging existed.

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