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Davidson River Trail

Updated: Oct 4, 2019

Summary: A mainly smooth gravel trail that runs high along the Davidson River, switching between singletrack and doubletrack, and connects the fish hatchery to the Cove Creek parking lot. Can be climbed or descended, either to reach the Cove Creek lot or return to the fish hatchery from the same.

Difficulty: Pisgah Beginner - All smooth except for a few small rocks with ride arounds and the risks that come along with riding gravel too quickly. There are also a few ruts that can throw you off guard if you slip into them going too fast.

Length/Elevation Change: .75 miles

Notable features: There are a few rocks in the center on the downhill route that you can pop off of, but be careful of your speed, the trail narrows in some corners and you do not want to go off the side.


There isn't really a lot worth mentioning on Davidson River aside from pointing out it's use for navigational purposes. On the downhill, it's a pretty fast descent where you can get some pretty good speed going if you pedal hard enough. On the climb, it's a mellow warmup for climbing to other trails in the area.

The trail runs from about a half mile or less from the fish hatchery to just above the Cove Creek parking lot. It's a very useful ride to avoid spending time on asphalt, but is not without hazards.

The trail is predominately gravel and can be muddy in spots, it appears to be an old access road as it transitions from singletrack to worn out doubletrack from time to time. Given the trail surface, you'll want to be mindful of your speed, as it is a lot of gravel and there are places you really do not want to slide out going too fast.

The next thing to be mindful of is the height of the trail, there is a fairly considerable dropoff down into the river on one side. I'm afraid of heights and looking down it gives me chills. You really need to mind your speed to avoid overshooting a corner or sliding out, you really do not want to go off the edge of the trail. It's not super narrow anywhere, but there are a few corners that can come up on you kindof quick.

There are sections of the trail that are doubletrack but one line is a small rut and the other is higher up. It's easy to fall into one of the ruts and skid along the edge, which can be dangerous given the speed of the trail.

Lastly, trees like to fall across the trail at head level and often at the worst places (around corners).

Most of these hazards are on the downhill side (leading from the Cove lot to the fish hatchery) and aren't as much of an issue on the climb.

Eventually, the trail will flatten out, then climb a bit and end at this gate:

The trail goes around the gate at the top, back onto the main road, where you can go right to return to the fish hatchery.

Climbing Davidson River is fairly simple, go out of the fish hatchery lot to the left and after around 1/2 mile on the road, you'll see the gate on your left. Go past the gate, continue on until the trail ends.


To return to the hatchery from the bottom of Cove Creek trail, go left on the road and look to your right as soon as you get out of the parking lot. You should see this intersection:

Take a right and you will briefly climb out, then start the descent.

There are some loose connecting trails to access campsites and the river from the beginning, but don't be tempted to ride them. They are mainly for hiking and not really meant to be ridden, they also don't lead anywhere.

To climb Davidson river to Cove Creek, ride out of the fish hatchery, continue past the entrance to Headwaters Rd on the right until you see a gate on the left after a half mile or so. That's Davidson River trail, ride around the gate and continue on until it dumps you out just before Cove Creek trail.


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