Ebsco property trail exploring

This past Saturday I was able to duck out (by myself unfortunately) for a couple of hours on the trails and forest roads in the Ebsco property along Double Oak Mountain.  Being one of only a handful of permit holders, I usually have the trails all to myself.  Such would be the case today.

Riding alone is nothing new to me, though when I decide to look for new trails or roads to explore like on this ride, I tend to ride a little more cautiously than I might while at Oak Mountain State Park or some other higher-trafficked trail spot.

Starting from my house in Mt Laurel, I took Hwy 41 to the Dunnavant Valley Greenway Trail.  From near the trailhead, it was straight up the mountain until I intersected with one of the dirt roads (which happens to lead down to the backside of Jones Valley Urban Farm).  Then along the ridge, ultimately picking up the paved Double Oak Way for a couple of miles.  Basically just the same ride start that I typically do when up there.

Rather than picking up the gravel road shortly before the cell phone tower, which leads to both of the ridges and ultimately past several power line crossings, I elected to take the first downhill dirt forest road on the right.  I had been on this road a few times before several years ago, but had never seen it in its entirety.  Having ridden enough of the trails and roads on this property in the past, I figured it would lead me down to Hwy 43.

It turned out to be a great downhill ride, at one point intersecting with a small creek (maybe 10 to 12 feet wide).  Actually, before I had to cross the creek, I could have taken a small doubletrack trail back uphill to the left.  See photo below of this doubletrack trail which I decided not to take….need to explore it next time.

After turning around and getting back on the main downhill road, I crossed the creek and eventually reached the end of the trail at a power line easement.  I could see Hwy 43 through the trees and simply took a right at the power lines until there was a clearing through the woods.  This put me at Ebsco Gate 2 across Hwy 43, which lead to a maze of forest service roads.  There was even some singletrack and doubletrack to be found.  I could have explored the roads for many miles, but time was limited and I figured it would also be more fun to come back with some of the guys.  On the second map below you will see several places where I took a road and turned around.  This was not due to the road ending, but rather I just decided to turn around and see what else there was to explore.  I can’t wait to come back and do some more in-depth riding in this area.

After a few miles of messing around on the roads and trails, I ended up intersecting with Hwy 43 again.  I turned right (northeast) and made my way to Ebsco Gate 5.  I’ve ridden up from Gate 5 numerous times, usually having to hop off of my bike on a couple of very steep, but short, sections.  This time however, I was able to ride the entire distance….the rainfall of the previous night made the trail just tacky enough to provide optimum grip on the uphills.  I still had to somehow lean forward for leverage while also leaning back to keep my weight on the seat.  Probably looked like some sort of time trialing rubber chicken stretched out along the top of my bike.

After a right-hand turn near the top of the Gate 5 climb, and then a left turn at the top of the final crazy steep section, I ended up at the cell tower.  From there it was a few miles of pavement as I worked my way down Double Oak Way to Hwy 41 and back home.  All told over 20 miles of fun riding.  Not exactly a great training ride due to me taking my time and exploring, but with Big Frog 65 coming up I could still find some benefit from 2+ hours in the saddle.

overall ride map

Gate 2 ride area

Gate 5 ride area

there were miles of this on the south side of Gate 2

near the top of the Gate 5 climb

muddy legs + muddy bottom bracket = fun ride

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