Butter Gap Trail (Upper)
Summary: A fast, fun, and varied trail that starts with an eroded, rooty section, following into several wet, awkward segments, and ending on a fast flowy section of trail.
Difficulty: Pisgah Intermediate - The trail starts with some awkward rooted sections that have a few rollable, but notable drops, some of these root sections are off camber and Butter's tendency to stay wet makes them a bit awkward. Comfort with off camber roots, wet segments, and riding low laying rocks will be required, but there are no huge drops or high consequence sections.
Length/Elevation Change: 3 miles, ~300ft of climbing
Notable features: Starting at the top, there is an eroded gully that is short, but leads into a few awkward rooty turns, followed by a long straightaway section that is very rooty and a bit off camber. Immediately following is a left hand turn into a recently armored creek crossing, followed by a muddy segment (the "mud pit") that has several small drops and an off camber rock slab. There are 4-5 stream crossings throughout consisting of low laying rocks and minor water levels (you won't get wet). The trail is also typically muddy in several sections.
You can start at the fish hatchery, bottom of Cove Creek, Daniel's Ridge, or any of the Long Branch exits, the climb is mostly the same.
If we start at the Daniel's Ridge lot, climb Davidson River Rd until you reach a 4 way intersection, this is Gloucester Gap. Go left here and continue climbing briefly, the road will turn downhill for several minutes. Be very careful not to miss the turn off, you are looking for a parking area on the left that has a gate behind it. You will pass one of these before reaching Butter's turnoff, the first one (Note: I'll add photos when I record this one) is small and also on the left hand side, but lacks a gate, once you see this one you are close. The next one is the Butter turnoff, it's on the left with an alcove for parking and a gate to the left of the parking area.
Climb around the gate, once the road peaks you'll be at a large intersection with Art Loeb and should see the sign for Butter. Go straight down Butter, to the next 5-6 way intersection with Art Loeb, the final turnoff to Butter is immediately on the left.
It is important to not miss the turnoff on the road, as you will be going downhill on gravel and if you miss it, you'll have to climb back up. If you start seeing street signs, then you've gone too far and need to turn around.