Loop 14: South Fork Mt. • Length: 17.8 miles • Ascents: 2 (5.1 & 0.9 miles) • Gain: 980 & 300 ft. • Hwy. miles: 0.0

 

 

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This tour begins at the Schmucker Community Center near Upper Tract. To reach the starting point from Franklin, take U. S. Rt. 220 north 10.6 miles to Upper Tract and turn right onto Schmucker Rd. Travel 2.5 miles to the Schmucker Community Center grounds on the left, just after passing Poor Farm Rd. on the right.

Begin the tour by turning left onto Schmucker Rd. At 0.6 miles, continue straight at the intersection with Kiser Gap Rd., which is confusingly also the name of what should logically be a continuation of Schmucker Rd. At 1.2 miles, turn right onto Greenawalt Gap Rd., noting the ruins of a mill and water wheel just ahead on the right. Begin a long gradual ascent along appropriately named Mill Run. At 5.6 miles, turn right onto an unnamed dirt road, which continues to ascend. The road bends left at 6.1 miles and a private drive bears to the right.

The road tops out at 6.3 miles for a long, gradual mostly wooded descent below the ridgeline on the east side of South Fork Mountain. At 8.0 miles the road roughens. In late April a fine display of redbud and dogwood blooms at the 8.5 mile mark The road begins to climb again at 8.9 miles, topping out at 9.9 miles. Hunting camps appear along the road, and at 10.1 miles the road becomes paved, adopting the name Mitchell Mt. Rd., and the descent steepens at 10.5 miles.

At 11.1 miles, turn right at the stop sign onto Siple Mt. Rd. (Rt. 14) and at 11.5 miles begin a steep ascent, topping out at 12.4 miles with a spectacular view in almost all directions. At 13.5 miles, turn right onto Troublesome Valley Rd. (Rt. 12), and at 14.2 miles continue straight onto Kiser Gap Rd. (Rt. 1) At 17.2 miles, come to the junction with Schmucker Rd. and turn left for the 0.6-mile return to the starting point.

 


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