Spencer Branch Trail

At A Glance

Moderate

2.3 mi one-way

Steepness: Climbs Moderately
Tread Condition: Moderately Rough
Blaze Color: Yellow
Trail Number: 140

This trail is located in the Mills River area. For a list of all the trails in that area, see the Mills River trails list page.

Rides That Use This Trail: Fletcher Creek

Description

The upper end of this trail, above FS 5097 (Neverending Road), was recently rerouted onto a much more reasonably graded trail. It is now more of a flowing trail, albeit with some deliberately placed rock gardens and a few other features to spice up the ride. It's a moderate climb, but it is no longer very technical.

Before the re-route, the old trail was extremely steep, eroded, rocky, and technical as it dropped nearly straight down from the spine of Trace Ridge to the creek. This section is now closed.

Below the road down to the intersection with the Fletcher Creek trail, the trail is more subdued, with moderate climbs or great downhills, some rocky and/or rooty sections and creek crossings.

At the junction with Fletcher Creek, the trail crosses the stream. There used to be a log bridge farther downstream near the junction with Middle Fork, but that washed away in 2004 and was never replaced. You may be able to cross on stepping stones, but only when the water is fairly low. Most people just ride on through, but you're probably going to get your shoes wet.

Downstream from the Middle Fork trail junction, Spencer Branches crosses Middle Fork. That bridge is also out, making for another tricky crossing. Beyond the Middle Fork crossing, the trail enters a narrow gorge as it follows the creek downstream

The trail receives a lot less usage on this stretch. Although not steep, the precipitous trail clings to the steep sides of the cove in places, only a foot (or less) wide with nearly vertical slopes on either side. It threads through corridors of mountain laurel and rhododendrons in some stretches and follows an old logging railroad grade in others. There are some nice sliding cascades on the stream.

There is one more creek crossing which should be easy to rock-hop (unless the water is high) before the junction with the Big Creek trail at the Hendersonville Reservoir. Keep left to finish the Spencer Branch trail on Hendersonville Reservoir Road just below the dam.

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Trail Segments

Trails are often made up of several connecting paths which may have different characteristics, allowed uses, and seasons. This trail is divided into multiple segments as follows:

Spencer Branch - Spencer Gap to Neverending Rd.

  • Allowed Uses:
  • Length: 1.16 mi

Spencer Branch - Neverending Road to Fletcher Ck. Tr.

  • Allowed Uses:
  • Length: 0.88 mi

Spencer Branch - Fletcher Creek to Middle Fork Tr.

  • Allowed Uses:
  • Length: 433 ft

Spencer Branch - Middle Fork Tr. to Big Creek Conn.

  • Allowed Uses:
  • Length: 0.86 mi

Spencer Branch - Big Creek Conn. to Hendersonville Reservoir Road

  • Allowed Uses:
  • Length: 287 ft

Total Calculated Length: 3.04 mi

This value is derived from our underlying map data, so it may not match officially published information.

Intersecting Trails

  • Trace Ridge
  • Fletcher Creek
  • Big Creek
  • Middle Fork
  • Spencer Gap
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