Mills River Loop
ElevationAscent: 315' 96 m
Descent: -332' -101 m
High: 2,556' 779 m
Low: 2,257' 688 m
GradeAvg Grade: 3% (2°)
Max Grade: 17% (10°)
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“An easy(ish) 3.5 run with plenty of water crossings.”— Jason Doedderlein
There are three distinct sections. First, dropping from the TH down to the river along a descending singletrack trail. Then, you'll follow and criss-cross the river for a while (don't expect to make good time on this run).This is followed by a gentle climb back to the trailhead along a gravel forest road.
Multiple connecting trails if you want to turn this into a longer day.
This trailhead gets very busy on weekends, particularly in the summer. It is worth getting there early.
I love trail dogs. However, be warned that these crossings are legit. Not hazardous but long and deep enough your pooch will likely be swimming. If you, or they, are not comfortable with that you may want to consider another trail. I would image if you tried to carry they dog you might booth end up in the drink.
The trail starts a bit bland but improves dramatically as it changes to singletrack and starts to descend toward the North Fork of Mills River. The Wash Creek #606 connects about a mile in and then the trail begins to descend more steeply. Continue to follow the trail until you reach the river.
At that point, Trace Ridge Trail ends and the trail will swing to the right, upstream, and becomes North Mills River Trail #353. Continue to follow North Mills River Trail #353 upstream, crossing it about a dozen (no kidding!) times. This trail ends at Hendersonville Reservoir Rd. (FR 142).
At that point, turn right onto this road and follow it back to the parking area. This makes for a varied, easy, scenic, and fun run.
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Land Manager: USFS - Pisgah National Forest, Pisgah Ranger District