This 6-mile loop uses old Forest Service roadbeds and does offer patchy views of the Asheville skyline and the Biltmore Estate along the way. Head out at the bottom of the parking lot, and head left to follow the river. You’ll pass through the gate into the Arboretum property. Follow to climb up the ridge until it dips back down to where you started by the river. Bent Creek can be a maze of intersecting trails and roadbeds, so remember your map.
Directions: From Asheville, I-26 East and take Exit 33 onto NC 191. Turn right to head south on NC 191 for two miles. Turn right at the stoplight onto Bent Creek Ranch Road, following the brown signs to the Lake Powhatan Recreation Area (bear left at fork after 0.2 mi on this road). The paved parking area at the Hardtimes trailhead is just over two miles down this road on the left.