Grassy Rd Trail
Updated: Oct 4, 2019
Summary: Often climbed to reach either Upper or Lower Sycamore, Grassy has a few steep climbing chutes, but is mostly smooth aside from a few short segments.
Difficulty: Pisgah Beginner- Primarily a fitness challenge, there aren't any major features of note aside from a few loose or rooty sections on the climb.
Length/Elevation Change: Roughly 1 mile and 500ft of climbing
Notable features: There are several mildly steep chutes, along with a small eroded section that tends to be loose, but overall it's a fairly smooth climb that ends on a shot, mellow downhill and pedaly bit.
The trail starts by climbing Thrift Cove from the parking lot, where you'll go left:
Similar to the Thrift walkthrough, you'll climb a few steep chutes before a fork in the trail:
I only mention these steep sections, which are technically part of Thrift Cove, to note that they will be the steepest of the sections on the climb. It's a rough start, but don't be too intimidated if they are more than you are used to.
Shortly after these steep bits on Thrift, you'll run into a fork on the trail (disregard the right hand turn onto Starnes Branch):
If you go left, you'll go up Thrift Cove to Lower Black Mountain, but if you go right you'll continue up Grassy, which is the way we want to go.
The trail is mainly smooth, as shown above, and it undulates. You'll climb some, then get a flat pedaly bit, then climb a bit more, which works out nicely if you aren't used to climbing in the mountains.
After a brief bit of climbing, you'll come up on the steepest chute on Grassy itself, shown above. It's very short and not as steep as the first two on Thrift, but worth noting still. There is also a rock in the middle, you'll have to wander around, but both the left and right lines are roughly the same.
Eventually, you'll come up on a left hand turn with a rock in the center. You have three line choices here:
Left - A bit awkward and washed out, but the easiest line.
Center - Go up the rock - most challenging
Right - Tends to be loose and tricky, but can sometimes (depending on season) be the easiest way to go
Immediately after, you'll come to a right hand turn that tends to be a bit eroded and chunky. Sometimes it's smooth, others it's not, it just depends on the season. Don't be too hard on yourself if you get swallowed into the that is sometimes there, it happens. It's not really anything notable, but it is a place that you can get caught up especially for beginners.
After a bit more climbing, you'll come to the final longer segment of the climb, which you can pick up on with the two roots shown below:
After you reach the peak of this section, there is a minor root that you can climb on the left or take the smooth line on the right.
Grassy turns briefly downhill after the peak of this section and is fairly flowy, with a few little roots but nothing of consequence, it's a fairly mellow downhill with a brief fast section.
Finally, Grassy ends on a flat, pedaling section prior to reaching the dead end into Sycamore, where you can decide to go left or right onto either Upper Sycamore or Lower Sycamore.
Park at the first parking lot on the right after you enter the forest, then you can climb up Thrift to the intersection with Grassy, where you stay right.
It's also commonly climbed after riding Lower Black Mountain, where you'll stay straight onto Thrift and continue up to the fork with Thrift and Grassy.