August 26, 2019
A long out-and-back totaling about 30 miles from Kipp Rd to Van Rd. Intermediate difficulty, only one technical feature (see below). Main trailhead is at Kipp Rd, but there is parking at several other spots along the trail (Kipp Rd, Stutsmanville Rd - south and north sections, Robinson Rd, and Van Rd). As described in other reviews, the first 2 miles is a grueling climb and very sandy in sections. It SEEMS mostly flat, but you are climbing - slowly - uphill in sand or soft dirt. There are a few small downhill sections, enough to keep it interesting. After Brutus Rd, the trail gets is much more fun, fast, and flowing. There is only one area (about 1 mile north of Brutus Rd) that is tricky, a very steep downhill with several roots, but otherwise, it is a fast XC trail.
The south section of the trail ends at Stutsmanville Rd; Head west along the road, past Pleasantview Rd to the NCT trailhead (about 1 mile) to continue to the north section of the trail.
The first 2 miles is through a mix of meadows and forest. A word of WARNING: the meadow is overgrown and several thorny bushes cross the trail. Long socks or even shin guards are recommended. You have to ride through this section twice, so be prepared.
After the meadows, you cross Robinson Rd for more XC-style single track. The trail shares some sections of two-track, look for the blue NCT markings so you don't miss the main trail. The trail ends in a pine forest at Van Rd.
The ride back is very fast. All the climbing is rewarded with a quick return trip. The last two miles returning to Kipp Rd, I feel like I only had to crank 2-3 times.
Another note of caution, many of the downhill sections bottom out into sandy areas; be ready for them!
Overall, a fun ride, but a lot of climbing. 99% of the trail is XC with almost no man-made features, aside from a bridge and couple of walkways through the meadow.
Lots of sand, roots, rocks, and sand... did I mention sand?
This is primarily a hiking trail (part of the NCT system) so watch out for hikers.
There is no water or toilets at trailheads.
Bring bug spray.
I would rate higher, but the thorns in the meadow north of Stutsmanville rd cut my legs to shreds.