Trace Ridge Trail

At A Glance


3.1 mi one-way

Difficulty Rating: 3.1 (Moderate)
Steepness: Climbs Steeply
Tread Condition: Some Obstacles
Blaze Color: Orange
Trail Number: 354

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.

This trail also crosses into these trailhead areas:


The upper portion above the Trace Ridge trailhead follows an old roadbed up the ridge all the way to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Rocky; steep. Very eroded in places. Dry pine-oak forests can be found along the nondescript ridge.

Downhill from the trailhead, this trail was formerly a steep, damaged mess due to erosion - in places, it was a waist deep, clay canyon. As of October 2015, however, the trail has been re-routed and now follows a much gentler grade on a sustainable path, adding a good bit more distance to the trail in addition to solving the erosion issues. Highly recommended!

All Photos from the Trail

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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 Gap to Blue Ridge Parkway

  • Allowed Uses: Hiking
  • Length: 0.34 mi

Trailhead Parking to Spencer Gap

  • Allowed Uses: Hiking, Mountain Biking, Horseback Riding
  • Length: 2.69 mi

Trailhead Parking to Wash Creek Trail

  • Allowed Uses:
  • Length: 0.57 mi

Wash Creek Trail to N. Mills River Trail

  • Allowed Uses:
  • Length: 0.73 mi

Total Calculated Length: 4.32 mi

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

Intersecting Trails

  • Spencer Branch
  • Spencer Gap
  • Wash Creek
  • North Mills River
  • Feedback


    Average Rating: 3.0 (rated 1 times)

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    Damon said: Just rode this trail today 11/27/16 from the Parkway down to the campground. The upper section is deeply (sometimes chest deep!) rutted out, but still rideable with some finesse. It's gets better as you go down though. Section past the parking area/trailhead is varied terrain/full of switchbacks and a lot of fun.
    Monday, November 28 2016 12:45am
    molly said: Just rode this trail in late February 2016 and it seems to have been badly eroded again since the work that was done on it last year- definitely back to a waist deep clay canyon in places.
    Tuesday, March 1 2016 3:39am
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