Hickory Mountain Loop (CCW)
Summary: A recently built trail near the top of Ridgeline that provides a loop opportunity, adding a bit of distance and elevation, but slightly more technical challenge depending on direction. We'll cover going CCW here, but CW is also viable.
Difficulty: DuPont Intermediate - The entire loop is singletrack, with some minor technical sections on the climb and descent. It's a bit of a step up from Ridgeline type trails, which form the basis for beginner trails in DuPont, but aside from a few segments, it's a good opportunity for riders to explore the next level of trails in DuPont without being too committed.
Length/Elevation Change: 1 mile, 260 ft of climbing
Notable features: The trail starts on a narrow bit of singletrack climbing with a few technical sections, mainly consisting of rocks and roots. There are a few steep climbing chutes, loose sections, and awkward rock lines on the way up, but all are easy to see coming, low commitment, and easily walked. Once you reach the peak, the descent is fast and twisty, with a few small (1-2ft) root drops and eroded sections, more common to what you'd see in a beginner Pisgah trail. Most features are low consequence, low commitment, and easy to see coming, but true beginners may find challenges on both the climb and descent, mainly with the roots and eroded segments.
The trail is a loop that exists near the top of Ridgeline, so it is accessible either via a Hooker Creek route (White Pine -> Hooker Creek -> Right on the road) or Buck Forest/Hickory Mtn Rd. The route described here begins at the old, abandoned rifle range and is CCW, finishing near the base of the final climb to Ridgeline.