Bear Creek

4.53 out of 5
View Topo Map


↑ 4,700 ft
↓ 4,200 ft
elevation (ft)

Trail Description
About this trail
Blue Ridge Mountain singletrack at its finest. This out-n-back trail weaves its way upwards through shaded valleys and semi-steep hills. The trail is an equal mix of narrow singletrack and old fireroad doubletrack. The climb to the overlook is rewarded with a wicked downhill spin that brings you back to your starting point. The lower points of this trail are nearly always a little bit damp and tacky, but the trail is rideable nearly year-round because it drains so well into Bear Creek. There are several creek crossings and switchbacks to make things fun. Stop and take a picture at the Gannet Poplar, a very old and massive tree along the trail. Numerous trailheads are in the area, but the preferred route is to park on Gates Chapel Rd and ride up FS 90 to the small parking area where the singletrack starts.

From the parking area, ride up the gravel road, bearing left at the sign for the Bear Creek trail approx. 1 1/2 miles to the trailhead (there is a small parking area at the trailhead, but we always ride the gravel road as a warm-up). There are two trails here, but take the one beside the information kiosk. The other way is not meant for humans. After crossing a small, rocky creek, stay left at the sign for the Bear Creek Loop trail. After climbing two short whoops right beside the creek, follow the hard left switchback uphill (do NOT cross the logs and continue straight). Continue up the singletrack to the forest service gate. At the grassy clearing, continue to the LEFT, uphill on the doubletrack. After crossing through a wide but shallow creek, go left downhill to the gate and onto the gravel road. Turn right on the gravel road and continue up approx. 1/2 mile to the overlook. Enjoy the view! Continue to ride up the gravel road another couple hundred yards to the sign for the upper parking lot. Turn into the lot and follow the singletrack trail downhill. There are several hard switchbacks and the trail will dump you out back at the wide shallow creek. Continue the ride back downhill the same way you climbed up!
added by RebusDoubletrack December 31, 2002
Trail Features
Trail features
  • Lift Service
  • Drinking Water
  •   Night Riding
  • Pump Track
  • Restrooms
  • Winter Fat Biking
Directions to Trailhead
Get Directions
Create a free Singletracks account to get directions to this trail.

Trail Q&A
Rider Questions
Please login or create an account to ask a question.
Recommended Trails
Recommended Trails
Blankets Creek
Local Info & Nearby Trails
Trail Check-ins
Trail Check-ins
what's this?
Recent Trail Check-ins     (22 total check-ins)
  fredsparky   5 hours ago
  SmithZ714   3 weeks ago
  GTechRacer   on Jan 17, 2015
  Fit4Life28   on Jan 17, 2015
  Michael Paul   on Sep 26, 2014
Photo & Video Gallery (122)
Trail Photos & Videos (122)
Reviews (83)

January 31, 2015
Review: Descending this trail was a blast! I rode up Pinhoti 1 then rode up the fire road to the top of Bear Creek and then descended down Bear Creek. I highly recommend that route. Or if you want to do a longer ride, ride Pinhoti 2, as well. The Pinhoti trails were also a blast to descend and had killer climbs that made this FL boy walk from time to time.

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes | No

December 14, 2014
Review: This has a hell of a climb if your up for it or take the Lift up. There is everything you could want from this trail. I will be back. This is a do not miss trail!!!!

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes | No

September 6, 2014
Review: I screwed up and crashed on my last outing here and had to go to the ER. I was at the end of a few hours of riding and quite close to the lower trailhead in the Bear Creek Loop, having already done the Bear Creek Trail going up and the Bear Creek Loop coming down. (I've ridden down the Creek Trail before.). Anyway I crashed on something fairly easy. Here is the result:

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes | No

September 4, 2014
Review: This is an awesome trail. It is a hell of an up hill but worth it when you come back down it.

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes | No

August 19, 2014
Review: The mileage is way off, I dont understand. The description says 10 miles. It's actually a 4 mile out and back. This is one of the best trails in the state? How can a 4 mile trail be one of the best? This is a great downhill run that is it.

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes | No


October 22, 2014
Review: 4 miles up, 4 miles back plus extra 2 miles near the trailhead that you probably didn't ride = 10 miles

Was this helpful? Yes | No

August 18, 2014
Review: Great loop in the Pinhoti system

Similar Trail: Pinhoti 1 and Pinhoti 1

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes | No

August 9, 2014
Review: Great trail. Hell of a climb to overlook, but awesome downhill.

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes | No

July 30, 2014
Review: I rode Bear Creek on Tuesday, 29 July 2014. Bear Creek Trail is in outstanding shape. It is very well marked with signage and there are good maps on the trail.

If you are new to this trail, just remember that there is the Bear Creek Trail and the Bear Creek Loop. Bear Creek LOOP is an additional trail generally located to the east of Bear Creek TRAIL. I only did Bear Creek Trail as an out and back / up and down.

Started at Gates Chapel Road (lower elevation) and rode up FS 241. (I also took a detour on purpose by going to the camp-ground.) There is a sign where Pinhoti I goes to the west. You cannot miss the Gennett Poplar - there are even railings / signs. I did the little loop at the top where you can check out the overlook on FS 68.

My trip odometer showed 12.6 miles, starting and finishing at Gates Chapel Road, short detour at campground, out and back on Bear Creek Trail. Since I did it that way, my odometer did not match the easily seen mile markers on the trail.

This wonderful trail is nothing to be afraid of if you know and follow your limitations on the few technical spots. Be prepared for a few rocks and small stream crossings. As far as fitness, it is about 5-6 miles uphill, but it is very doable if you stay within yourself. The warm up on FS 241 is a good idea.

I will try to add some photos on this site, and also on my flickr site shortly.

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes | No

July 6, 2014
Review: These trails are great once you find them... I choose to drive up the FSR to the small parking area at the base of the trail. It was a little muddy w/ all the rain of the past few days but my 2004 Ford Taurus Made it just fine! The initial ride is great up until I got to the FSR and took a right into some very tall grass and thorny branches that were over growing the trail. Guess I should Have gone left? So be careful and check for ticks! Once I got to the "top" there was no real "overlook" that I could see through the trees. I must have gone the wrong way? The back downhill section was amazing! Just watch out for the low laying tree about half way down, trust me there's no way riding under it. A few wet crossings to round it all out and this place is a lot of fun!!

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes | No

June 25, 2014
Review: uphill is a great workout! 5 miles of just up hill in one part. And near the upper trail head GREAT views. switch backs, fast downhill challenging maneuvers through creeks and rocky terrain AWESOME trail. also if your looking for a longer trail it hooks up with the Pinhoti trail. highly recommend it.

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes | No

Bear Creek MTB Trail 4.53 out of 5 based on 83 ratings. 83 user reviews.
Trail Conditions
Trail Conditions          < / > embed
Feature Article
Behind the Scenes of a Destination Trail: Bear Creek with the Cartecay Crew