Like all rides in this area, you will have some great vistas. You cross the beautiful Greenbrier River twice and because you are climbing in and out of Greenbrier River drainage, you have some long climbs, with plenty of short steep climbs between. However, whenever you climb, there are descents to enjoy - controled and carefully.
Start: A convenient place to start is at the riverside park in Alderson along routes 3 - 12. Another place would be the train station across the river. Alternates: There are a couple churches in Fort Spring, and a church in Sinks Grove that would also make good starting places.
Alderson - Fort Spring: Leaving Alderson on route 12, you begin climbing almost immediately. Within a mile you turn onto Muddy Creek Mtn. Road and the real climbing begins. When you get to the shape S curves, the grades will often be above 15% for the next half mile. After managing this real steep section, the grade across the rest of Muddy Creek Mountain runs a much more agreeable 4-8 percent. Just before you top out, there is a nice view North. Once you top out, you begin a very steep descent back toward the Greenbrier River. There are really 3 steep ramps on the descent and a couple short flat sections breaking it up. There are some nice views South on this section. At the bottom of the descent, you bare right on State Route 63 for only 1/10 of a mile, before going left on Cty. 43. From this junction, you will be on the designated Wolf Creek Backway (map) for the next few miles. Cty. 43 crosses the river on an open grate medal deck bridge so be careful crossing the bridge. Bare left at end of the bridge to continue on route 43 to Fort Spring.
Fort Spring to Sinks Grove: In Fort Spring, Cty. 43 makes a sharp right turn in front of the church and begins to climb out of the Greenbrier Valley. This climb is pretty sustained at 7-9 percent for a mile, before topping out. This climb gives you a good look at the interesting geological feature of the Fort Spring oxbow. The Greenbrier River used to make a large loop thru the valley below, but eventually eroded thru the neck forming what is know as an oxbow.
If you are taking the optional route, see paragraph below. If not. you will continue on Cty. 5 into Sinks Grove. Some short steep ascents going into Sinks Grove, but beautiful vistas.
Optional Route - Marginally less climbing, be some poor pavement.
Shortly after topping out, you have the opiton of taking the first right off of Cty. 43 onto Cty 58. After 0.9 miles you take a left just past the Mt. Vernon Church onto Cty. 58/1 Longanacre Road.. Longanacre Road takes you along the base of Flat Top Mountain on a rolling and overall gradual upgrade. After 2.1 miles, you go right onto Cty. 42/3, which soon becomes Cty 5/2 as you cross from Greenbrier into Monroe County (no marker). 5. 5\ 2 continues along the base of Flat Top mountain before heading East and connecting into Cty. 5 near Sinks Grove. At the junction with Cty.5, you take a right and climb a little before a steep descent into the little community of Sinks Grove. You might want to take the old route by the church down thru the community. At the junction with State Route 3, you take a right and follow route 3 into Alderson.
Sinks Grove to Pence Springs: Leaving Sinks Grove, heading West on route 3, you start climbing thru some beautiful farms. You have a couple short climbs and descents before arriving at the brink of the Wolf Creek drainage area. This is just after passing the junction with Cty. 1, Flat Mtn. Road.. If you enjoy downhills, the descent into the Wolf Creek drainage is a joy. There are some sharp turns, so ride under control, but you have a couple miles of downhill to enjoy. Once you get to the bottom you will enjoy some fun flat riding for the next few miles, with one little climb to spoil the roll along the edge of the valley.Taking a left on Cty. 3/2, you will soon cross into Summers County, becoming Summers 15/1.. 2.5 miles after turning off of State Route 3, 15/1 continues straight at the top of a climb, (acceptable alternate routing) , but route bares left on County 15/1 that becomes Monroe 7/1. You take a hard right at the intersection with Monroe County 7 and cross back into Summers County at the top of a short climb.and begin to descent to the Greenbrier River. When you get to the river, you bare right and continue to Pence Springs, where you cross the Greenbrier River just before coming to State Route 3 again.
Pence Springs to Alderson: At Pence Springs, you cross the Greenbier River and arrive at State Route 3 and 12 again. (Off to the right, you will see a store, which is the only source of food/water on the route.) You take a left and an immediate right onto Co. 3/18 and begin a steep (8-10%) half mile climb up to intersection with Co. 6, Clayton Road.
Taking a right at the intersection, you continue to climb on a much gentle rate along Right Hand Fork of Hungard Creek for 3.1 miles to Clayton. At Clayton, you continue straight at the intersection onto Co. 7 and continue climbing for another half mile before the rather steep descent down to the Greenbrier river. You bare right at the bottom of the descent at the intersection with Co. 7/14. Arriving at State Route 3 again, you take a left for a flat 1.8 miles back to Alderson. This should be the busiest section of road on the ride.
- You can take Cty. 43 and Cty 5 between Fort Spring and Sinks Grove rather then Longanacore and Scott Hollow Roads.
- Route 63 between Alderson and Fort Spring has high speed traffic and a road I generally avoid,