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The Adventurist sought out Thad Walker, former head cycling coach for Brevard College. Thad, who coached the Brevard College cycling squad to two consecutive national championships, knows the trails in Pisgah and DuPont as well as anyone. He offered to give us the skinny on some of his favorite trails.
Whichever bike adventure you choose, Thad recommends that you always carry a map. You can purchase detailed Pisgah and DuPont Forest maps at The Hub and Sycamore Cycles. Both are full service bike shops with knowledgeable staff who will steer you toward the best biking in Transylvania County and give you excellent advice on what supplies you’ll need on any given trail ride. Both shops also sponsor regular mountain and road group rides. The descriptions below are general in nature and provide directions to the trailhead. A dependable map is indispensable to navigate these routes.
Download a printable version.
DuPont State Recreational Forest
“This four mile loop takes about an hour and offers a nice introduction to biking in the forest. With this ride you get a interesting combination of single track trails and gravel Forest Service roads. This is a really flowy trail with sweeping downhills. Advanced riders love it, too, because it’s fast and non-technical. Ridgeline Trail is easily accessible from Dupont Forest’s Guion Farms parking lot. This lot also serves as the starting point for a fun kid’s mountain bike trail featuring a skills area (teeter-totter, log rides, balance boardwalks, pump track and up-and-overs). Whether you’re a kid, or a kid at heart, this is a great way to kick off or finish up your ride.”
Directions to trailhead: From intersection of US-276/US-64/NC-280, go east on US-64 toward Hendersonville for 3.7 miles. Turn right onto Crab Creek Rd. Go 4.3 miles. Turn right on DuPont Road. Go .8 miles. Turn left onto Sky Valley Road. At .9 miles this road will turn to gravel. Go an additional .7 miles and Guion Farms Parking Lot will be on your right.
Pisgah National Forest
“A beautiful ride that starts near the Fish Hatchery in Pisgah National Forest. Get your heart pumping with a four mile ascent on a gravel road that’s followed by a long single-track descent. Give yourself a couple of hours to enjoy this ten-mile loop.”
Directions: From intersection of US-276/US-64/NC-280, enter Pisgah National Forest. Go 5.3 miles on US-276. Turn left onto FR-475 and go 1.4 miles. Turn left into parking lot for the Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education. Ride up FR-475 and take first right onto FSR 475B. Ride for about 3 miles (a long gravel road climb) and take left onto FR-225 and trailhead will be on your left as you head down the hill. Look for a Forest Service gate on your left that will mark the beginning of the trail.
DuPont State Recreational Park
“If you enjoy the slick rock of Moab you’ll love the granite of DuPont. This is a well-balanced ride that serves up a lot of variety. It starts with a granite climb up to the top of Big Rock. The reward is awesome views all the way to the Blue Ridge Parkway and Looking Glass Rock. It’s a great place to catch a sunset, too. From here you’ll go down Cedar Rock. This is one of the most unique descents I’ve ever done: it’s got off-cambers, verticals, and a couple of technical sections that keep things interesting. This is a two to three hour ride. For a little bigger challenge, add on the Burnt Mountain Loop. One word of caution: in the winter freezing temperatures can result in ice on the rock, which can be quite treacherous.”
Directions to trailhead: From downtown Brevard, go south on US-276 (Main St.) 10.9 miles. Turn left on Cascade Lake Road, at the Cedar Mountain Fire Department building (with the red metal roof). Go 1.8 miles to parking area on left, lined with huge boulders and with an information board in the back of the lot. Head across Cascade Lake Road to pick up Corn Mill Shoals Trail. Big Rock Trail will come up quickly on your left.
Pisgah National Forest
“Sycamore Cove throws a little bit of everything at you: groovy, off-camber rocks and roots, steep climbs, and technical downhill. The mid-section is a mile-long ridge ride. At 3.2 miles, Sycamore Cove makes for an ideal workout of an hour or less. If you’ve got more time (and energy) link it with the Black Mountain and Thrift Cove trails. If you do these add ons and look at the map profile on either Garmin Connect or Strava, you’ll understand why locals call this one the ‘Big M’.) This is a great introduction to Pisgah riding.
Directions to trailhead: From intersection of US-276/US-64/NC-280, enter Pisgah National Forest on US-276. Drive one quarter mile and look for the trail marker to Sycamore Cove on right side of road.
From Brevard to Pisgah National Forest
“Opened in the late summer of 2012, this trail connects Brevard to the epic wilderness of Pisgah National Forest, making Brevard the only city in the southeastern U.S. with multiple entry points into a national forest.
Directions to trailhead: From downtown Brevard, travel west on Main Street. Turn right on Oaklawn Avenue. Go one block, turn left on Probart Street and travel 7/10 of a mile. Take a right on Music Camp Road. When you reach the entrance to Brevard Music Center, take the gravel road on the left, which is Pinnacle Road. Continue 2/10 of a mile up Pinnacle to the Bracken Preserve lot. Because of limited parking at the trailhead, we encourage you to ride this trail from town. Besides, you’ll need the warm up.
Pisgah National Forest
Directions to trailhead: From intersection of US-276/US-64/NC-280, enter Pisgah National Forest on US-276 and go 1 ½ miles. Black Mountain Trail is on the right, just before the Ranger Station.
Pisgah National Forest
“The Swank 65 is a season-ending mountain bike race that’s become legendary in these parts. But you don’t have to enter the race to experience all the pain and suffering this course dishes out. You can do it on your own or with a few of your favorite friends. The course is 38 miles in length, gains approximately 7,000 feet in elevation and includes the famed descent on Farlow Gap. Other trails on the course include Daniel Ridge, Long Branch, Butter Gap and Cove Creek. Here’s the course map.
Directions to trailhead: This trail begins at Cove Creek Campground. From intersection of US-276/US-64/NC-280, enter Pisgah National Forest. Go 5.3 miles on US-276. Turn left onto FR-475 and go 1.4 miles. Turn left into parking lot for the Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education. Ride 1.7 miles up FR-475 to Cove Creek Campground and turn right. Proceed up road toward campground and you will see Cove Creek Trail on your left.