mountain cycling trails

7 Cycling Trails in the Blue Ridge Mountains

Top Mountain Biking Trails in the Blue Ridge Mountains

When you’re looking for a stimulating way to get lost in the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains, mountain cycling is the way to go. This exhilarating sport can take you on an adventure unlike any other. As you pedal your way up and down mountains, the trails guide you through the lush forests, fields of colorful wildflowers, and along flowing river beds that characterize the beauty of the Carolina mountains.

Similar to hiking, there are various types of trails. Some designed for more advanced riders looking for a challenge, while others can be enjoyed by novice riders. Let’s take a closer look at seven of the top mountain cycling trails to explore in the Blue Ridge Mountains. 

1. Bent Creek – Asheville, NC

Located just outside Asheville, Bent Creek offers nearly 30 miles of mountain biking trails to enjoy. One of the most pleasant trails in the area is the Hardtimes Trail that leads to the shores of Lake Powhatan and connects to other trails in Bent Creek Forest. These trails are ideal for beginner and intermediate cyclers, yet can still provide a decent challenge for even the most experienced riders. This is a great option if you are looking for trails your family or a large group will all enjoy.   

2. Dupont State Forest – Brevard, NC

Dupont State Forest, popularly known as a filming location for parts of the movie The Hunger Games, is one of the best places in the Blue Ridge Mountains to see grand waterfalls. With 10,400 acres and nearly 100 miles, the trails are diverse and range from less-demanding forest roads to single-track mountain cycling trails, for a more thrilling experience. The Ridgeline Loop is a popular choice for riders, with seven miles of downhill trails to get your heart pumping. If you’re taking young kids along for the ride, be sure to check out the kids-loop with smaller obstacles for them to develop their cycling skills.

3. Craggy Gardens to Mount Pisgah – Swannanoa, NC

Not only one of the top hiking trails in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Craggy Gardens is also home to mountain biking trails too! With nearly 41 miles worth of moderate-advanced trail to ride, cyclists make their way to the beautiful Mount Pisgah National Forest. Don’t have much time? Riders can choose to ride a shorter segment of the trail while still enjoying the picturesque views of colorful wildflowers and blue-toned mountains. 

4. Emerald Outback Trail System – Beech Mountain, NC

Located in the Beech Mountain Resort, the Emerald Outback Trails are nearly seven miles long and offer bikers a challenging ride. Cyclers have both single and double track trails to choose from, as well as grassy areas and dirt or gravel paths. These trails range from 4,700 to 5,400 feet in elevation, and are one of the highest mountain cycling trails on the East Coast.

During the summer months, riders can take the chair lift to the summit of Beech Mountain. Here, the panoramic views overlook the Blue Ridge Mountains and can span 50 miles on a clear day! 

5. Biltmore Estate Trails – Asheville, NC

Did you know that you can also take your bike out on the trails of the Biltmore Estate?  With more than 23 miles of trails, riders can choose if they want a challenge or a more relaxed ride. These trails have a lot to offer beginners and experts alike, and make for a lovely tour of the well-kempt grounds of the most famous home in the country. 

The 1.7-mile Lagoon Trail meanders along the French Broad River and is the only paved trail at Biltmore. This makes it ideal for cyclers looking for a leisurely workout before enjoying the other amenities the Biltmore Estate has to offer. 

6. Bracken Preserve Trails – Brevard, NC

Known as The Cycling Capital of the South, there are a number of mountain cycling trails to explore in Brevard. In the Bracken Preserve, cyclists have two trail options to choose from. 

The Bracken Mountain Trail is the main trail at the preserve and consists of an elevation gain of 1,000 feet and sharp switchbacks. The second trail is the Brushy Creek Trail which crosses over small streams and passes by Bushy Creek Falls. These two cycling trails are connected by the short Mackey Ridge Trail, making it easy to ride both longer trails while at the preserve.

7. Rocky Knob Trails –  Boone, NC

Named one of the country’s “Ultimate Ride Hotspots” by Velo Magazine, the Rocky Knob Mountain Bike Park was designed specifically for mountain cycling. This 185-acre park is located just east of Boone and has nine miles of trails, in various skill levels. 

While none of the trails are built for novice riders, the Rocky Branch Trail is by far the most manageable. This trail is 2.6 miles and has the highest elevation gain at the park. The Middle Earth Trail is a great option for advanced riders and incorporates one mile of climbing along the steep mountainside, offering outstanding views from the top. 

The Cliffs Mountain Biking

Our exclusive communities at The Cliffs are located in the heart of the Carolina mountains. We bring you closer to these unique activities and amenities that make mountain living such an extraordinary experience for the whole family.

In order to ensure you have the best member experience possible, The Cliffs has a number of private social clubs, one of which is dedicated to all things cycling. Whether you are interested in riding on the trail or the road, our team is here to help with the guidance of former professional cyclist George Hincapi, a 17-time Tour de France finisher, and other experienced riders. You can improve your riding skills, go on group rides with other members, and explore all of the mountain biking trails in the area. 

If you’re interested in becoming a part of life at The Cliffs, the first step is to explore the exceptional homes and homesites available. From lakefront properties to homes perched on the mountain tops, we have it all! 

Ready to start the process? Contact us by clicking the button below. We look forward to hearing from you!

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