I began my ride at the northern end point of the trail on Sawmill Rd. A sign marks the trail as part of the Capital Area Greenway, but does not say Mine Creek Trail. This portion of the trail is a singletrack dirt path that winds through the woods, taking you over a few small wooden bridges, over many tree roots, close to the edge of the creek and navigating over a large rock near where it meets the next section of the trail. Riders inexperienced with riding on unpaved trails may wish to skip this section of the trail, as I found myself having to get off my bike several times to walk it close to the edge of the creek and over tree roots and drop-offs at the ends of the bridges.
The next section of the trail is called the Bent Creek Trail, and is paved so it's much easier to ride on. Right where the first unpaved segment from Sawmill Rd meets the Bent Creek Trail, there is a fork off to the left which is the East Fork of the Mine Creek Trail. It's not necessary to ride this portion of the trail unless you wish to access Longstreet Drive, or begin you ride from Longstreet Drive to avoid the unpaved section of the trail from Sawmill Rd.
The Bent Creek Trail leads to the Shelley Lake trail, which runs around Shelley Lake. I rode the trail on the western side of the lake, and got confused when I got down near its southern end close to W Millbrook Rd. If you're not careful, you will end up either in the parking lot for Shelley Lake park, or looping back north on the eastern side of the lake. A first time rider might be looking for a sign pointing to the Mine Creek Trail, but there isn't one. What you need to do is follow the signs toward the parking lot, and then look for a sign pointing toward the Ironwood Trail on your left. This trail will lead you under W Millbrook Rd, and continue south. When you reach North Hills Drive, look across the street to the left and you will see a sign for the Ironwood Trail where the trail resumes. Down the trail a little more you intersect with the Crabtree Creek Trail. Going to the left will take you to an extension leading to North Hills Park and points south. Going to the right will take you toward the Crabtree Valley Mall and points north.