Dragon’s Back

North Mountain/Dragon’s Back – 30 miles of Advanced level single track.  You have a number of route options that you will have to connect with jeep roads.  This is where you can go to fulfill all of your climbing needs.

Location:  About 25 minutes North of Salem off Route 311.  This is the big mountain across the street from the Dragon’s Tooth parking lot.  You can also access North Mountain from forest service road; Wildlife Road and Broad Run Road.

I like the National Geographic Trails Illustrated map #788 for these trails.  This mountain is loaded with lots of advanced level single track.  There are 6 choices for Steep climbs to the ridge, up to a 13 miles of ridge top trail (depending on where you start, and steep descents. Options to the ridge are 1.  across 311 from the Dragon’s Tooth parking lot, 2-4.  the deer, grouse, or turkey trail from Wildlife road, 5.  Catawba Valley Trail across 779 from the Andy Lane trail, and 6. the end of North Mountain at Stone Coal Gap.

Over the years, Wildlife Road has open and closed due to weather and repair.  Currently it is closed at the Grouse Trailhead.

Here are some loop options and out and back options;

  • There used to be an annual mountain bike race called The Dragon’s Back
    Race Course:
      MAP – Up the Grouse (middle trail), right at the ridge for 1 mile to the Deer,  down to the fire road and back to the Grouse, up the Grouse, left at the ridge and then 3 miles to the Turkey trail, down to the fire road and back to the car.
  • I also like to park at the gate at Wilderness Road.  From here it is a nice warm up on 311 to the steep climb across 311 from the parking lot for Dragon’s Tooth.  This climb is steep and has a tight switchbacks, but once on the  ridge you’ll follow North Mtn trail up and down to the Turkey Trail.  Once down the Turkey trail it is a long up and down on the fire road back to the car – MAP
  • Routes from the Dragon’s Tooth Parking Lot;
    • North Mtn, down Deer, up Deer and back – MAP
      • 6.9 miles and 2645ft of climbing
    • North Mtn, down Grouse, up Grouse and back – MAP
      • 10.9 miles and 3400ft of climbing
    • North Mtn, down Grouse, up Grouse, down Deer, up Deer and back – MAP
      • 13.5 miles and 4745ft of climbing
    • North Mtn, down Turkey, up Turkey and back – MAP
      • 16.6 miles and 4450ft of climbing
    • North Mtn, down Turkey, up Turkey, down Grouse, up Grouse and back – MAP
      • 20.05 miles and 5900ft of climging
    • North Mtn, down Turkey, up Turkey, down Grouse, up Grouse, down Deer, up Deer and back – MAP
      • 19.26 miles and 7350ft of climging
    • North Mtn, down Turkey, up Grouse and back – MAP
      • 17.5 miles and 4530ft of climbing
    • North Mtn, down Grouse, up Deer and back – MAP
      • 10.7 miles and 3345ft of climing
  •  Loops from the Grouse Trailhead;
    • Up Grouse, down Deer and back – MAP
    • Up Grouse, down Turkey and back – MAP
    • Up Grouse, down Deer, up Grouse, down Turkey and back – MAP
  • Routes from 779/Andy Layne/Catawba Valley Trail
    • And, another route that will have you on some fire roads and pavement is the climb up Catawba Valley Trail to the ridge (Park at the Andy Lane Parking lot).  From here take a right for a tough up and down on the ridge that will have you wondering if it will ever end.  You will finally drop down for a great downhill to Stone Coal Gap. from here you will take a right down to route 606.  This will take you to 779 where you will take a right back to your car – MAP
      • 11.6 miles and 3062ft of climbing
    • Catawba Valley Trail, right on North Mtn Trail to Stone Coal Road and back – MAP
    • Catawba Valley Trail, left on North Mtn Trail, down Turkey, left on Wildlife Road, up Grouse, left on North Mtn Trail and then down Catawba Valley Trail – MAP
      • 17.75 miles  and 5360ft of Climbing

Comments are closed