DSRF's Burnt Mountain Trail Turns Eighteen!
Happy Birthday, Burnt Mountain Trail!
When riding DSRF's Burnt Mountain Trail the next few days, remember to whistle "Happy Birthday" as you approach the steep west side of the loop--that segment turns eighteen Thursday, August 18th!
Before there was a Dupont State Recreational Forest, the property was part of the 14,000+ acres owned by E I Dupont & Co and surrounding their X-Ray film production plant. The entire corporate property was open to company employees, our families and friends for hunting, fishing, camping, and other recreation. Old logging roads, etc, on the property were used by MTBs, horses, ATVs, 4x4s, hikers, and motorcycles. What is now the east side of the Burnt Mountain Trail loop was an old logging road that paralleled Little River, then climbed to the top of Burnt Mountain and ended there. A group of E I Dupont employees often made the climb (then called "Sweat Hog Ridge") on our MTBs, then turned around and cruised back down the hill.
During a Sunday, 15 Aug '93, MTB ride, the group found an overgrown logging skidder path that dropped to the north from the top of Burnt Mountain. We bushwhacked it and discovered that it connected with another property road and would make a great loop if cleared. We got permission to clear the route from E I Dupont & Co's local property manager, and a crew of seven returned Wednesday, 18 August '93, with saws, etc, to open the old corridor... When we finished clearing the route, we had just enough daylight left to ride the loop that is now called Burnt Mountain Trail...
Burnt Mountain Trail (nee Sweat Hog Ridge) has changed a lot in its eighteen years of use. Most of us were riding rigid bikes (with 7-speed clusters and BioPace chainrings!) when we cleared the route, and the new descent was a smooth but fast drop. Soon employees were riding the loop on horses, ATVs, and motorcycles, and the west side of the loop began to change through erosion. In recent years the east side of the loop has seen great improvement in the form of a 'road-to-trail' conversion done by Trail Dynamics, and the west side of the loop has been stabilized via reroutes and 'Appalachian armoring' installed by Pisgah Area SORBA and other volunteers.
The trail is now fun in both directions--if you're after the big drops, ride it clockwise. If you're going to walk the armored section anyway, consider climbing it and treating yourself to a flowing descent that rivals Ridgeline and Jim Branch Trails. Regardless of how you ride Burnt Mountain Trail, take time to wish it Happy Birthday (and many happy returns of the day) this week!