Ride out of the picnic area parking lot, cross the concrete bridge, and turn right on FR 74. This starts out as a gentle climb but quickly becomes quite steep. The road passes through a beautiful cove hardwood forest along Corner Rock Creek--some of the trees growing here are enormous. Several trickling tributaries join the creek from the left. After nearly two miles of relentless climbing, the road will curve right and level out (::ahhh::), cross Corner Rock Creek, and resume the climb up the opposite valley wall (::groan::) through more lush second growth forest. In the fall, this forest becomes a tunnel of color. The road will round the ridge and pass into a cove to cross Little Andy Creek. The climb moderates some here, allowing you to catch your breath and enjoy the moist woods that surround you. After rounding Big Andy Ridge, the road will begin a fast downhill section. At the bottom of this is a huge cliff face on the left that is a very popular rock climbing spot. A good view opens up to the right here. Resuming a moderate climb, you will begin to hear Walker Branch roaring in the cove below. Appearing to the left as you catch up with the stream is cascading Walker Falls. The road goes right past the base of the falls, which are most impressive after wet weather but attractive anytime. 0.1 mile further is another small falls on the left. Climbing gently, the road will next round Walker Ridge. An easy ride from here will take you to the signed intersection with the Staire Creek trail. Turn right onto it, riding through the grassy clearing and onto the trail leading into the woods.
Check your brakes (seriously!), because this trail will drop 1,200' in a little over a mile--it is very steep and technical. You'll cross a small tributary, then the trail will pass by a huge rock cave on the right. It will then switchback down onto an old roadbed and follow the scenic, cascading Staire Creek itself which appears to your left. The trail's steepness moderates some, but it gets quite rocky as it follows the stream downhill. At one point, the rushing water on the left can be heard in stereo as it bounces off a rock face to the right. After the intersection with the Walker Creek Trail, the ride gets much less steep, but much muddier also. Next you'll cross Walker Creek--it may be difficult to keep your feet dry here during wet weather. You will then reach the end of the Walker Creek trail. Turn right, and follow this gravel road back to the picnic area and ride finish.
# Difficulty: More Difficult
# Total Length: 7.3 mi
# Trail Tread Condition: Moderately Rough
# Climb: Climbs Moderately
# Total Elevation Gain: 1500 ft
# Trails/Roads Used: FR 74; Staire Creek Tr.; Walker Creek Tr.; Gravel Road.
# Ride Configuration: Loop on gravel roads and singletrack
# Starting point: Corner Rock picnic area on FR 74 near Barnardsville
Trail description provided by: WNCOutdoors.info network
From Asheville, take US 19-23 north (4-lane) for about 11 miles. Take the Jupiter/Barnardsville (NC 197) exit. Turn right toward Barnardsville and follow NC 197 (2-lane highway) about 6 miles to the town of Barnardsville. Turn right onto Dillingham Road just past the fire station. It's about 6 miles to the National Forest--stay on Dillingham Road. You will cross a one-lane bridge and the road will turn into gravel FR 74. Park at the picnic area, about .4 mi up this road, on the right, across a concrete bridge.
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