Its steep, conical summit rises high above the surroundings and can be seen from many viewpoints along the Blue Ridge Parkway and in the Pisgah Ranger District. Fountainhead winds its way through a local park, so not too backwoods’ish. When everything was said and done, I traveled 16.2 miles and climbed over 3,000 vertical feet in 3 hours and 11 minutes of moving time. I would not recommend riding this one uphill! Granted, it is still pretty technical by most anyone’s standards, but the grade isn’t nearly as steep as it could be. I had ridden this trail two times. Also, based on GoldenGoose’s review, it sounded like the singletrack would be much more climb-able in this direction. If you are a climber this is the hike to the base. To break up the monotonous gravel road climb from the bottom of Pilot Rock to the beginning of Laurel Mountain, I threw in the nearby Pilot Cove-Slate Rocks trail as well. This trail worked into the loop very well, and turned a lot of the gravel road into singletrack. Funny–I’ve ridden the scariest drops at Blackjack, but there’s parts of Templeton I’m sure will confound me ’til I die. The Frederick Watershed may be tougher, but I haven’t gotten that far out, yet. Getting Started. Pilot rock, definitely has a serious pucker factor. Birch saplings line the Pilot Rock Trail in Pisgah National Forest. It’s known as a classic Pisgah ride with a big climb at the beginning and a portion of the ride on the popular Black Mountain Trail. If I have ever mountain biked a route that could be classified as “all mountain,” this is it. Posted by Jeff on Oct 28, 2012 @ 12:44 pm in Hiking, Hiking Blog, North Carolina, Pisgah National Forest, Rated Moderate Hikes, Vista Hikes | 1 comment | Last modified: July 8, 2017 . Most trails this challenging are much closer to civilization in the boundaries of a ski resort instead of miles and miles from the closest paved road in the heart of a national forest. Thanks for the recommendation! After riding Pilot Rock each time, I had a great sense of accomplishment. An official spu… All I know is that place kicked my butt! This is what Pilot Rock Trail is known for. After riding Pilot Rock each time, I had a great sense of accomplishment. When I was writing this post, Dakota Ridge came to mind as something fairly comparable–but then I realized that that’s basically located right smack in the suburbs, whereas laurel mountain (and blackjack) are way the heck out in the middle of national forests. Didn’t care for FountainHead in VA. Wow! If you start at the bottom (South) end of the trail (from Yellow Gap Road), it is pretty much uphill the entire route. This route is one massive bag of radically different conditions and disciplines–and it is excellent! Pilot Rock has a bench for you and your space. Definitely go clockwise. Photo credit Icon Media Asheville. This trail is different to to Pilot Rock trail. With a better bike and full advantage of the entire warm season in MD/VA/DC/PA, I hope to make some longer day trips to hit some more notable trails in the area. Looking Glass Rock is a famous landmark in Pisgah National Forest, offering breathtaking 180 degree views from the top! It had recently rained so it was a little muddy at the start but at you gained elevation it wasn't too bad. Question, did you ride this by yourself or with friends? Not as spectacular as it’s more famous cousin, Looking Glass Rock, Pilot still offer… Guess I didn’t really think of that. not 360 degrees - probably more like 135). Parking is on the right, but there's only enough space for maybe 3 vehicles. After consulting with GoldenGoose and doing some research in the Singletracks trail database, I decided on the Laurel Mountain trail. 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