Analysing terrain data
The exposure grade describes the potential consequences of falling or slipping off the path.
Low Exposure: The path is on completely flat land and potential injury is limited to falling over.
Medium Exposure: The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.
High Exposure: Some trail sections have exposed ledges or steep ascents/descents where falling could cause serious injury.
Extreme Exposure: Some trail sections are extremely exposed where falling will almost certainly result in serious injury or death.
The Laurel Mountain Trail runs through a remote section of the Pisgah National Forest that is far enough off the beaten path that seemingly few mountain bikers make the effort to ride it.
Their loss is your gain! Consider yourself informed that Laurel Mountain is one of the very best mountain bike rides in Pisgah, if you can handle brutal climbs and an endless sea of boulders during a double black diamond descent. The route shown here also incorporates Pilot Cove and Slate Rock early on.
While you can choose to bypass this add-on for an easier ride, Pilot Cove and Slate Rock create a top-notch short little loop in and of themselves.
Not only that, Slate Rock offers up one of the best views in Pisgah National Forest from a bike legal trail.
If you have the legs, I highly recommend working it into your Laurel Mountain loop. Once the dirt road climb is finished, the Laurel Mountain trail continues to climb along the ridgeline, with some sections of hike-a-bike.
Once to the top of Pilot Rock, it's all gravy! Pilot Rock drops fast and furious through a sea of rock gardens, babyheads, boulders, and boulder-filled switchbacks.
Pilot Rock is one of the gnarliest trails you'll find outside of a dedicated downhill mountain bike park.
If you enjoy that sort of thing, the endless chunder and technical challenge will keep you engaged all the way down this ripping descent! Do take a moment to pause every once and a while, because the views from some sections of this trail are camera-worthy in their own right.