In the future, Dickson said he believes mountain biking in Transylvania County and across the region will continue to gain in popularity.
“We just have to keep working to keep it going,” he said. “Mountain biking is not going anywhere anytime soon, that’s for sure. But with how close we are to a lot of major metropolitan areas, mixed with our year-round riding season, I believe more and more people will keep coming to the area. I think we’re definitely on the right track.”
Salman said the diversity of Transylvania County’s terrain makes it certain to be a top destination for years to come, especially as the word spreads about how many miles of trails there are in the area.
“It’s not just one or two trails,” he said. “We have hundreds and hundreds of miles of great trails and you can ride a great variety all in the same day. It’s a unique spot.”
Our Guide To Where To Ride
While the trails near Brevard continue to receive high praise, they aren’t the only trails in the area worth riding. Whether you’re looking for an afternoon of sightseeing on gravel roads or a fast-paced descent on one of the area’s world-renown mountain biking trails, we’ve put together a short guide to some of the best places to spin your wheels.
Just minutes from downtown Asheville, Bent Creek Forest lies at the northern end of the vast Pisgah Ranger District of the Pisgah National Forest. The 30 miles of trails in the Bent Creek Research and Demonstration Forest are well suited for everyone from beginning and intermediate mountain bikers, families, and groups to cyclists looking to challenge themselves on tough climbs and steep descents.
Because of it’s proximity to Asheville, Hendersonville, Fletcher, Arden, and other cities in the greater Asheville area, Bent Creek sees a large number of visits during the evening hours when groups of mountain bikers meet up for a post-work ride. The area also features a campground, mountain lake, and family recreation area, and leading to big crowds during the summer months.
Riders looking to branch out beyond the 30-miles of trails in Bent Creek can link up with other trail systems in Pisgah National Forest by heading out over the Bent Creek Gap Road—an old forest service road—for some long-distance adventure rides.
While challenging for novice riders and those first beginning mountain biking, the trails in the Bent Creek trail system are not considered extremely difficult due to recent trail work that eliminated the most challenging, technical aspects of the trails. Most trails follow old road or railroad beds and have only a few areas that require significant technical skill, with steeps, rocks, roots, mud, and creek crossings. For the most part, mountain bikers can expect to find fast, flowing sections of singletrack trail that makes for fun riding.
We recommend Green’s Lick, which is known for being one of the most popular trails at Bent Creek. The trail’s 2.5 miles of single-track drops 800 feet in a fast-paced barrage of berms, rolling water bars and jumps. For a full afternoon ride, we like to link this trail up with Deer Lake Lodge, Wolf Branch and Ingles Field Gap, but the expansive trail network of Bent Creek provides a wide-range of options for adventure.
With 37 miles of trails, the four loops found in the Tsali Mountain Biking Recreation Area near Fontana Lake offer visitors a variety of landscapes, trails and terrain. Whether riders opt to tackle the narrow singletracks or take a casual cruise down one of the flat, well-beaten roads, there is certainly something for everyone to be found at Tsali. The four trails meander through mixed pine and hardwoods on a peninsula that juts out into Fontana Lake and provides great views.
While hikers may travel the trails on any day, mountain bikers and equestrians alternate days of use on the trails.
We recommend the Thompson Loop Trail, a 7.7-mile-long trail that offers cyclists miles of single track with great views of wildlife and scenic vistas from the many overlooks along the route. The trail also features a number of stream crossings. An added bonus: the chance to see old homestead locations as cyclists pedal along the old logging roads.
KOLO BIKE PARK
Just minutes from downtown at the new Adventure Center of Asheville, Kolo Bike Park provides purpose-built bike trails on over 100 acres of rolling terrain. The trails are designed with multiples lines and features to accommodate all ability levels and are built in adjoining loops that can be ridden independently or combined for longer or more challenging rides.
The premise behind the park’s design is Kolo Flow. The word Kolo comes from the Slavic word for circle or wheel and also means bicycle in several languages. In order to optimize the flow of a bicycle wheel, the park utilizes its rolling terrain to help skilled riders maintain momentum and encourage newer riders to build confidence and skill in a controlled environment. Kolo Bike Park allows riders to experience every aspect of mountain biking—descending, climbing, jumping, and technical skills riding have all been created with over five miles of machine and hand-built trail for a true mountain bike adventure. More features and routes are designed and will continue to be added.