Potts Mountain – 30+ miles of advanced double track, fire road, and single track.
Location – North of Salem on Route 311 to New Castle. Go past New Castle a couple of miles until you find Route 611 and head right/east. Take a left on Route 617 to the Pines Campground on your left.
This is Craig County’s big mountain. It used to be home of a a mountain bike race. I went out here to do the course a few years ago and didn’t know what I was getting into. This place has one of the steepest climbs I’ve been on. The ride starts and ends at the Pines Campground. To start you continue west on route 617 for 2.8 miles and then you head left down a hill, cross a creek, and start a vicious climb up to the ridge. This part of the ride is on a jeep road that is used for jeep trials. It has some very technical sections for being a road. This will be a great place to see what you are made of or a great place to hone your hike a bike technique. If you come out here to ride I’d love to know how it goes. You will take the ridge to FS 176. If you are tired now, I’d recommend bailing on the rest of the course (and I hate bailing early, but you were warned).
From here the course requires a bit of orienteering. I’d take the Trails Illustrated map that corresponds with this area for a reference.
When I was out here all of the trails were in pretty good shape but I could see that this wasn’t a place that gets a lot of traffic. I’d say this area sees more hunting than any other type of recreation, and hunters aren’t known for their trail maintenance work.
OK, cross FS 176 and and continue on the road until you find the cove trail to your left. If I remember this correctly, this trail had some pretty steep downhill sections. At the point where you catch the New Pott’s Arm Connector trail you will be in for some more climbing. When you come to the Pott’s Arm trail will have a mostly downhill ride to FS 804.1. This section has some wheel eating rock gardens (I endo’d a couple times. Style points were awarded). You might even knock a couple teeth off of your big chain ring.
At FS 804.1 I headed left to route 176 and headed back to the Pines. The map references the Cove Branch Farm. This was part of the former race but I know nothing about this private property or the owners. I’d suggest staying away from that part of the map/course.