Friday, March 21, 2014
Today I’m out on my mountain bike for a trail ride around Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve with our friend Ron. He tells me I can do this moderate ride, so here I am. We begin at the Black Diamond Trail head in Clayton off Clayton Rd, south of Oakhurst Golf Course. There is parking with no fees and no facilities.
The trail begins on flat packed fine gravel for the first 3/4 mile and becomes a packed dirt fire road on the climb up to the ridge. It’s a steep 1.2 mile climb up to the ridge with an average grade of 9.75%. Views from the top of the ridge has beautiful grass-covered hills with grazing cattle.
The trail levels out for a short bit to the Cumberland Trail gate into Black Mines Regional Preserve. The trail begins on fairly flat terrain and quickly tilts up for 0.3 mile with an average grade of 12%. The short descent leads us to the next climb.
The next section of the Cumberland Trail changes from packed dirt to a paved road. The climb is 0.4 mile with very steep grades of 17-22%!
At the top of the ridge, the pavement ends and becomes a packed dirt trail again. The views are spectacular!
From the ridge top, the dirt road becomes Black Diamond Trail and continues on for the next two miles on roller coaster down hills. I descend very cautiously down the canyon floor-I am totally not comfortable on descents!
We roll up to the next climb and with one look at the trail and I just simply get off the bike and walk it; it’s very steep with deep ridges and groves. I don’t have the skills to ride on that!
We head west on the gravel trail towards the Black Diamond Shaft; you can see the remnants of a brick wall.
The trail tilts up again with 9-12% grades; midway along the climb, we get off the bikes and cut across the culvert to Black Diamond Way.
Black Diamond Way leads us back to the trail head at Cumberland Trail.
The views are absolutely amazing! I cautiously descend Black Diamond Trail back to the parking lot.
This is a very steep loop around the back country with roller coaster descents and amazing views. I survived this ride and really have to work at overcoming my fear of the down hills!
This would be a great loop for more hard-core mountain bikers-I may have to stick to family fun trails! A big “THANKS” to Ron for taking us around the trails!
9 Miles with 1839′ of elevation gain
Max elevation: 1465′
Max grade: 22%
Terrain: Extremely hilly-steep climbs
Weather: Sunny and warm with clear blue skies. Temps ranged from the high 50’s to the mid 70’s. Mild SW winds with 67% humidity.