Shredding Pisgah. Music: 3 Girls (But Only 2 Beers in the Car)
An important consideration for a mountain biking (or surf) trip is the timing of your visit. I recently had the opportunity to visit Asheville/Brevard/Dupont/Pisgah in March, and wasn't sure what the conditions would be like that time of year.
Obviously, every year is different, but I found March to be an incredible time to ride.
It was spring, so I was afraid the trails would be wet (past trips in November and May proved pretty wet), but the trails were perfectly tacky. The temperatures during the day were 50s-60s, with a few days in the 40s, so bring layers.
It cooled off quite a lot at night, and I even had the water in my RV freeze up one night.
Obviously check the weather conditions before your trip -- but, if you're going to go this time of year, you might also want to check if there are any scheduled burns. The Avery Creek area was closed for a few days due to a burn, which meant I had to move a few rides around.
The best trails for intermediate/advanced riders include:
Big Rock and Cedar Rock. You'll have a 1-2 mile climb, followed by a fast technical descent with gorgeous views. Parts of the trails have a bit of a slickrock feel.
Don't miss the many waterfalls in the area.
Shuttle to the top of Avery Creek Road, if possible, though I've done the whole climb from town before (maybe 6-8 miles) and it's not that bad.
Upper Black is VERY hike-a-bike, and the pay-off isn't amazing, but Middle and Lower Black are incredible flow trails.
The route I prefer here is:
Club Gap (a steep but short climb) to Buckwheat Knob (a little more climbing, followed by fun downhill) to Bennett Gap Trail, which features GREAT technical sections and some of the best views you'll see on the trails.
When you get back to Avery Creek Road, turn LEFT and go to the stables, where you can get onto the climb to the top of Middle Black. It's a 2-3 mile climb, and the payoff is some of the best flow trail in the... state? Country?
When you're done, head over the The Hub (right at the bottom of the trail), or hit up one of the fun, outdoor breweries that are dog- and kid-friendly, like Oskar Blues (about a 10-minute drive).
You can also check out Kanuga (I've never gone because you have to pay to ride, but there's no shuttle or lift, so I don't really see the point; I guess it's more fun if you rent an ebike) and
One disadvantage of biking in March is that the trees are still pretty bare -- but there are gorgeous purple and white flowers in bloom, which more than compensates.
I've gone twice in October/November, and both times, the leaves were so beautiful it actually made me cry a little.
I absolutely recommend making this trip, and if you're deciding between this and Bentonville, Brevard/Pisgah/Asheville is absolutely the superior choice. I didn't actually like Bentonville all that much compared to other riding that was a similar distance away. (From the Midwest, I'd take Marquette, Copper Harbor, Brevard, Knoxville, Snowshoe, Sugar Camp, and a lot of other places over Bentonville, which is kind of like Burning Man for biking.)
5/1/2023 10:20:17 am
Thanks for the write-up! The professional racer Jolanda Neff (gold medalist in cross-country MTB) says that Pisgah Forest is incredible. I hope to ride out there one day...but first, a trip to Bellingham later this month!
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