February 20, 2019
Mountain Biking in the Land of the Sky
Posted by: Asheville BBA
Avid mountain bikers know that some of America's best mountain biking can be found in the mountains of Western North Carolina. Many popular trails and biking destinations are located just a few miles from the urban center of Asheville.
Asheville is also home to a growing collection of world-class amenities...award-winning restaurants, a vibrant arts and cultural community, unique craft breweries and a rich and diverse music scene...all of which can add color and flavor to a visit otherwise built around a mountain biking adventure.
And, if that weren't enough, the city is home to the unique inns of the Asheville Bed and Breakfast Association...sixteen inns that offer boutique lodging experiences to guests in search of a special place to call home while in town to enjoy an epic trail riding holiday. So, you might ask, what will that experience look like and what can I expect?
First, you'll enjoy staying in some of the city's most historic and architecturally significant homes where luxury accommodations and a full complement of hotel-style amenities are available. You'll relish starting each day with a two-course chef prepared breakfast...fuel for a day to be spent exploring the mountains on your bike. You'll also appreciate the personal attention and service offered by your hosts...hosts that are skilled at plugging you right into the middle of Asheville's quirky and funky vibe.
You can also count on our inns to support your biking needs...providing a secured place to store your bike and your gear, offering facilities for rinsing the trail's grime off of you, your stuff and your bike and directing you to local services and resources...cycle shops like Asheville Bicycle Company, Motion Makers and Liberty Bicycles...where you can find what you need to keep you and your bike tuned up for the ride.
With your belly full from breakfast, we'll point you in the right direction to find the area's best rides. Some of our favorites include...
Bent Creek Experimental Forest
Aside from the fact that Bent Creek is close to Asheville (about a 20-minute drive and adjacent to the French Broad River), it still offers about 30 miles of trails that are popular with locals and visitors and who display varying levels of skill and experience. It features an extensive system of well-maintained trails along with several miles of roads. Its trails and roads wind through the Bent Creek Experimental Forest where riders will encounter hilly terrain and a network of streams and creeks throughout the hardwood forest. Adequate parking is available at several of the trailheads.
Bent Creek is a close neighbor to the North Carolina Arboretum, another great destination for outdoor enthusiasts, and the amenities, services and restaurants available along Brevard Road south of Asheville.
Pisgah National Forest and Dupont State Forest
PNF and DSF are both located near Brevard, about a 45-60 minute drive from Asheville. We suggest getting there by way of the Blue Ridge Parkway South and US 276 east. This route will afford you some great opportunities for taking photos or selfies at the numerous overlooks, at the Pisgah Inn (where you can stop for lunch or something to drink) and/or at Looking Glass Falls.
Downtown Brevard is also a great place to stop. Here you'll find some fun shops (if you have kids, make sure to visit O.P. Taylors toy store...a really cool, old school toy store), a few are galleries and several cafes.
Nearby is Pisgah National Forest, a 500,000-acre behemoth that more experienced riders will definitely enjoy. Many of its trails are more technical with steeper grades where riders will encounter giant rocks, challenging terrain, twisted tree roots and rugged landscapes. One of Pisgah's trails, the Black Mountain Trail (aka "Clawhammer"), offers one of the premiere, if challenging, experiences in the area. The 4.6 mile North Slope Trail offers a less intense experience for beginners to tackle.
Dupont State Forest is located about 10 miles south of Brevard. Encompassing 10,000 acres, it offers A TON of stuff to enjoy...about 100 miles of trails and roads, roaring creeks and some of North Carolina's most famous and beautiful waterfalls, lush forests and, in places, spectacular panoramic views. It's such a dramatic landscape that it's often used as a setting for shooting movies and televisions shows (most notably The Last of the Mohicans and The Hunger Games). Its trails vary from the 7-mile Ridgeline Loop and the 6-mile Slickrock Trail to several one-mile trails that loop and intersect. The Ridgeline Loop includes great downhill runs while Slickrock traverses an exposed granite slab. DSF is one of the most popular area destinations, especially in the summer months, for biking, hiking and horseback riding. .
Kitsuma is located east of Asheville near Black Mountain on Royal George Road just off of I-40. It's known for its climb of 2,000 feet...an assault on your body that is rewarded on the other side with a great downhill run. The dramatic climb takes place over the first two miles. With steep with undulating grade transitions and numerous unexpected switchbacks, it can offer up surprises, however, including hikers walking their dogs so you'll need to pay attention to what's ahead of you! Kitsuma is one of Western North Carolina's most popular trails. You might also want to include a stop at nearby Catawba falls to take a few photos or to have a picnic. And then there is Black Mountain itself...a great little mountain town that is home to one of our member inns.
When the day of riding is done, you'll come "home" to genuine Southern Hospitality and another taste of the food our inns are famous for. Most member inns serve wine and hors d'oeuvres in the afternoon or evening desserts for you to enjoy after returning from dinner.
Plan your visit to western North Carolina and book your stay at the Asheville Bed & Breakfast Association! We are your resource for planning a fun and memorable biking adventure!