ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Mountain Biking Trails In Western North Carolina

Updated on October 24, 2012
One of many trail features you will find at mountain biking destinations like Dupont State Forest and Bent Creek.
One of many trail features you will find at mountain biking destinations like Dupont State Forest and Bent Creek. | Source

North Carolina Mountain Biking Trails

The mountain of western North Carolina are home to some of the countries best mountain biking trails. The terrain is as varied as the people you will find riding it. Trails range from rolling hills to some of the steepest and fastest descents on the east coast. A biking trip to WNC is one of the best gifts you can give to yourself.

Starting out in Asheville, NC there are about a dozen fantastic trail system within an hour or so of each other. This article lists and describes five of my favorite mountain biking destinations in the area.

  • Not all trails commonly ridden are legal use for bikes. Always check trail regulations before beginning a new ride.

This is me riding one of the log bridge trail features at Bent Creek. Bent Creek is my favorite mountain biking destination.
This is me riding one of the log bridge trail features at Bent Creek. Bent Creek is my favorite mountain biking destination. | Source

Trail Map Of Bent Creek Forest

This is the original US Forestry Service Trail Map Of Bent Creek Experimental Forest
This is the original US Forestry Service Trail Map Of Bent Creek Experimental Forest | Source

Bent Creek Mountain Biking Trails

Bent Creek is one my favorite of all the major Western North Carolina Trails. It is located in Buncombe County, just south of Asheville. The trails are located inside Bent Creek Experimental Forest and adjacent to the Lake Powhattan Campsites. There are three parking areas, not including the lake, and enough trails to keep even the hardiest trail rider happy all day. On the north side of the You can ride up to Five Points, Hickory Top and eventually Greens Lick. On the south side ride up South Ridge Road and choose one of several ways down. Either way you are looking at about a 4-5 mile climb, either on roads or single track, and then some of the best downhill available in one area. Find a Trail Map of Bent Creek here.

To get to Bent Creek head south on Hwy 191 (Brevard Road) from Asheville. At the Lake Powhattan/ Bent Creek sign turn right and follow the signs until you pass the NC Arboretum. At this point choose between the Rice Pinnacle Parking Lot, Hard Times Trail Head or Ledford Branch Parking lot. All the trails connect together and a great ride is available from each.

Click Here For More Information On The Bent Creek Trails

North Mills River, Pisgah National Forest

The Pisgah Forest trails are located just over the south ridge from Bent Creek in Mills River State Park. The trails of Pisgah Forest and the Mills River Trailhead cover a broader area than Bent Creek and have a much more rugged appeal. The Bent Creek trails get a lot more regular maintenance than those at Mills River. The trails are still good but there are lots of rocks and roots, especially on the lower sections.

It is possible to link rides from Mills River and Bent Creek together. The National Forest Road, as well as the Trace Ridge and Bad Fork Trails, connect with the Blue Ridge Parkway and Wesley Branch Road leading into Bent Creek. From there it is possible to get onto the Lower Sidehill Trail or the Explorer Loop.

Biking North Mills River

Long climbs on forest service roads and technical singletrack are followed by rooty rocky fast descents and big loops that let you ride and ride. During the summer months the lower sections can be very wet with many of the trails becoming indistinguishable from the creeks running into the Mills River.

Pisgah Forest and the Mills River Trailhead is about 30 minutes south of Asheville. To get there take I-26 south until you get to Airport Road and then get off the highway. Turn right onto Airport Road and go straight until you pass highway 191 on your right. Just past this intersection you will find the turn to North Mills River Road on the right. Take this road to the end and you will find the first parking area.

Dupont State Forest Trail Map

Map of Dupont State Forest with major roads, biking trails, rivers and lakes.
Map of Dupont State Forest with major roads, biking trails, rivers and lakes. | Source

Dupont Forest Has Some Great Mountain Bike Trails

Dupont State Forest in western North Carolina is one of the premiere destinations for mountain biking. The State Forest was established in 1996 after North Carolina purchased the track in a bargain sale from the Dupont Corporation. The original 7,600 acre park was later expanded to over 10,400 acres through additional purchases. Now, more than two decades later, Dupont State Park is home to some of the states best mountain biking, fishing, hiking and scenery. In fact, five of North Carolina's most spectacular waterfall are within the boundaries of the park. The park has also been the backdrop for many movies because of its natural beauty. Parts of "Last Of The Mohicans" and "The Hunger Games" were both filmed here.

Mountain Biking Dupont State Forest

Dupont State Forest offers some unique riding and trails unlike others in the state. Because of its location between Henderson and Transylvania Counties the park is relatively flat compared to the surrounding countryside. The forest is on an upland plateau bordered by moderately sized hills and mountains. Don't get me wrong, this is still a mountain park, it's just less mountainy than some other trails but still a lot of fun. The rides consists of long loops that connect the more than 80 trails and roads into a never-ending supply of new terrain. Biking is allowed on most of the forests trails but so is hiking and horseback riding so be careful.

The trails are well maintained. Most of the work is being done by the local chapter of SORBA and they are doing a good job. Some of the trails even feature special obstacles and jumps that rival those you might find at a bike park. When you're there be sure to climb to the top of Cedar Rock and ride the slick rock on the back side of the peak.

Tips For Mountain Biking North Carolina

  • Take a spare inner tube and pump. The trails can be rocky and rooty, it is easy to puncture a tire or get a "snake bite".
  • Bring plenty of water. The trails are awesome, it is easy to go farther than you intended, so be sure you have plenty of hydration.
  • Bring food. Again, it is easy to go further than you intend, or even to get lost, so bring a snack.
  • Always tell someone where you are going, even if you are going riding with someone else.
  • Lube your chain and derailuers. The trails can be dusty and/or muddy depending on the season. A well lubed chain will stay clean longer and add to your enjoyment of the trails.
  • Go both ways. Most of the trails in WNC can be ridden forward and backward. To get a new ride simply take your favorite route and ride it backwards.

Kitsuma Mountain Biking Trail

Kitsuma Mountain and the Kitsuma biking trail is a great hike and bike ride. The trail leaves from just outside Black Mountain, climbs up the pass alongside I-40 and then drops down some of the fastest single track in the county all the way to Old Fort. The ride is great for shuttling or riding the loop. You can park your trucks at the bottom and drive back up or ride up old Highway 70.

Biking Kitsuma Mountain

The trail starts out moderately with an easy 1/4 mile uphill. That all ends as soon as the trail turns to the left and starts to climb. At this point you will be faced with a series of 2 dozen or more steep as #$%# switchbacks that will leave your legs quivering and your lungs burning. Don't worry, it's totally worth it. The rest of the trail is a series of ripping descents interspersed with short climbs along the ridge line before the final descent into the Old Fort Picnic Area. From here exit the picnic area, turn to the left and follow Old Highway 70 for a laid back and steady climb to the parking lot.

To get to the trail head west on I-40 going towards Black Mountain. Take Exit 66 towards Ridgecrest and then turn right onto Dunsmore Avenue. Take the next left at Yates Avenue and then right onto Royal Gorge Road. The parking lot is at the end of the road.

Map Of Kitsuma Mountain Biking Trail

Rocky Knob Mountain Bike Park, Boone NC

Rocky Knob is a great set of trails built by the town of Boone, NC. They have partnered with some industry and local organizations to bring high quality park-like mountain biking to Watauga County. The trail is situated just outside of town on highway 421 east. It currently consists of 3 main trails and some connectors but there are plans to expand. The trails are technical and well built, maximizing mileage in a small amount of acreage.

The climbs are all very gradual, most of the elevation gain is made by a series of long switchbacks that hug the contours of the mountain. There are two skills areas with skinny bridges, log rides, teeter totters and rock drops for all levels of riders. The downhills are like the uphills, gradual with a lot of switchbacks. It is possible to get up some good speed, especially on the black diamond trail, but the switchbacks make it hard to carry it through some of the obstacles.

The black diamond trail was my favorite. It has a series of big jumps leading into the woods followed by a sizeable rock drop and some more jumps. All in all a good place to ride. I will be going back there again very soon, especially since the town of Boone is actively using the park to host all sorts of events.

Click Here For A Trail Map Of Rocky Knob

Map Of Mountain Biking In Western North Carolina

Bent Creek Experimental Forest:
Bent Creek, NC 28806, USA

get directions

Bent Creek is part of the national forest system. It is the home of experimental forestry and some really great mountain biking trails.

Mills River, Pisgah National Forest:
Mills River, NC, USA

get directions

Another part of the vast Pisgah National Forest. Mills River is just over the ridge and across the Blue Ridge Parkway from Bent Creek.

Turkey Pen Trailhead:
Turkey Pen Rd, Mills River, NC, USA

get directions

Camping, biking, and hiking deep in the Appalachian Mountains. Experience the deciduous rain forest in its natural state. Turkey Pen is a rare treat

Dupont Forest, NC:
DuPont State Forest, 1400 Staton Rd, Cedar Mountain, NC 28718, USA

get directions

A large area with lakes, waterfalls, slick rock trails and some of the areas best biker enhanced features.

Rocky Knob Mountain Bike Park, Boone NC:
Boone, NC, USA

get directions

The town of Boone, with community and industry partners, built a fabulous all-mountain style park. Great trails and features.

Kitsuma, NC Black Mountain:
Kitsuma Peak, Pisgah National Forest, Old Fort, NC 28762, USA

get directions

Old native and pioneer trails leading from Black Mountain to Old Fort. Can be ridden one way if you set your own shuttle or ride back up on old hwy 70

Biltmore Estate:
Biltmore Estate Dr, Asheville, NC 28803, USA

get directions

Enjoy America's largest private home. Mountain biking trails criss cross the grounds giving an un-paralleled view of the grounds, gardens and lake.

coleman boundary:
Coleman Boundary Rd, Pisgah National Forest, Ivy, NC 28709, USA

get directions

Coleman Boundary of the Pisgah National Forest. Home of Douglas Falls and some of the steepest, most technical trails in the area.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)