June 16, 2014
Okay, take my review with a grain of salt. Perhaps I was having an off day or had certain expectations. The folks at Cartecay Bike Shop were great with directions and a free map, so it is worth a stop there.
I rode Bear Creek Trail and Loop, Pinhoti 2, and part of Pinhoti 1 or 3; I'm not sure. The area is stunning, and I had gone a couple days after significant rain (this past Saturday). I was surprised how dry it was.
Things were marked, but I didn't see any numbers myself. I was confused as to where I was because there were multiple spots I could've been when the sign simply said Bear Creek Loop or Pinhoti. That may just be me, and I found my way out. :)
I enjoyed the climb up Bear Creek Trail. I found it to be manageable but a nice workout. However, I was a little disappointed after that. I didn't find any single track, and I spent too much time on Forest service road. Maybe I just made a wrong turn, but I don't think so.
I took one Pinhoti Trail but wasn't sure which one. Quite pretty back there. However, it was overgrown with several downed trees too. My arms are all scratched up from riding through brush. I finally found the single track though, so I was determined to stick it out. I finally turned trounce after 2 miles. I was sick of getting off my bike to get past a fallen tree. It really seemed like very few people had been riding through there recently. Bummer, as it would've been stunning if cleared. Def not a beginner ride.
I was sort of disappointed and finally headed back to my car after less than 10 miles. I had planned to get in 20 . I took Pinhoti 2 on my way back, and I'm glad I did. Nice workout for sure. Intermediate single track. I think many would like this section. My personal preference is consistent up and down, so I'm always working. This was up, up, up, then down, down, down.
Soooo, it may have been a different experience if it were a bit more dry, and I hadn't already been sort of let down by my expectations. I say take my review with a grain of salt. I wouldn't mind returning another time. Bear a Creek Trail was a little too wide for me, and I like flowier trails. For reference, Chicopee Woods might be my favorite place to ride.
July 23, 2014
Hey bro...I am pretty sure you got turned around, albeit the signage is not always inherently clear. The way you should have done it based on what you rode was to drive/climb the FS road until the start of the Bear Creek Trail (P1), which is a long fast descent. There is no climbing there at all. Depending on recent weather, you'll cross 1-2 streams, then see a sign for the largest Poplar. After this another larger stream crossing, then a shorter rocky downhill to a sign that should have directed you to the right, which starts a long smooth singletrack climb. If you go left there, it's a short rocky ride back to the FS road. You'll spend several miles climbing and descending on this section, P2, then cross a dirt road to access P3, which has a lot more open forest and a lot of switchbacks on climbs. When you come to a highway, you can continue onto P4, or turn around and head back to that dirt road, take a left, and that will take you to Mulberry Gap after 3-4 miles. Hope this helps. It is very easy to get turned around out there. BTW...I actually climb the Bear Creek P1 section instead of taking the FS road if I don't have a shuttle...I'd rather climb singletrack than road, but then you just turn around and descend what you've ridden.