FATMAP by Strava

Big Ivy: Staire Creek DH

An incredibly steep and technical descent in Big Ivy.

Mountain Biking Difficult

11 km
432 m
432 m
1-2 hrs
Low Point
811 m
High Point
1.2 km
Big Ivy: Staire Creek DH Map

Lesser visited than much of Pisgah National Forest, Big Ivy is home to a surprisingly extensive network of trails. While not everything is open to mountain biking, both Walker Creek and Staire Creek make this one of the top rides for locals.


Just a short drive from Barnardsville, the trailhead lies along the Big Ivy Road before the first Forest Service gate. A small gravel lot serves as the main parking area, and several pull-offs along the road make for alternatives.

Begin the ride by climbing up Big Ivy Road. Only open seasonally to vehicles, it is the only way to access the downhills by bike. In the summer months, shuttling becomes a possibility. When the gate is open, multiple campsites along the road also make for great overnight opportunities.

Despite being a gravel road, the climb is relentless. Several steep pitches line the way as the road parallels a stream before turning to hug the elevation contours on its way up. The climb passes by several picturesque waterfalls which serve as great opportunities to cool off on a hot, muggy summer day. After a brief descent along "the wall," the road continues to climb, passing the trailhead for Walker Creek. This is the other popular downhill trail at Big Ivy.

Though your legs will likely be screaming for a break, not much separates you from the Staire Creek descent. In contrast to the Walker Creek descent, Staire Creek is incredibly steep and technical. Water bars reminiscent of stairs line the way. Even experienced riders have been known to walk portions of the trail when they're not on top of their game. Know that if you dismount, there are very few opportunities to get back atop your bike and you may have to walk a ways to find a good spot.

After a bone-chattering descent, the trail merges into Walker Creek. Some maps refer to this portion as (lower) Stair Creek, but the trailhead sign officially denotes it as Walker Creek.

The lower portion of the descent is open and rocky, with one major creek crossing that will require you to dismount. Know that after a recent rain, high waters may require you to get your feet wet. After dumping out onto a gravel road, take a right to return to the trailhead.



Mostly stable trail tread with some variability featuring larger and more unavoidable obstacles that may include, but not be limited to: bigger stones, roots, steps, and narrow curves. Compared to lower intermediate, technical difficulty is more advanced and grades of slopes are steeper. Ideal for upper intermediate riders.

High Exposure

3 out of 4

Some trail sections have exposed ledges or steep ascents/descents where falling could cause serious injury.


2 out of 4

Away from help but easily accessed.

Best time to visit

all year round


  • Flow
  • Technical
  • Picturesque
  • Shuttle-run
  • Singletrack
  • In the forest
  • Road sections
  • Wet-weather friendly
  • Drops
  • Roots
  • Rock Rolls
  • Rock Slabs
  • Rock Gardens

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area