Ready to head out on an Asheville Mountain Biking Ride or Road Ride? You’ve come to the right place. Asheville has some great mountain biking trails with a wide range of difficulty from the difficult singletrack found in nearby Pisgah National Forest’s mountain biking trails to the fun and flowy singletrack at Bent Creek, Asheville’s closest mountain bike riding destination. Head a bit further out to find the popular and oft-photographed trails of DuPont State Forest where riders can make their way down the unique slickrock of Cedar Rock / Big Rock Trail – easily one of North Carolina’s most unique trails. To the north, riders looking for fast and furious descents can check out Big Ivy Wilderness where world-class mountain bike trails like Stairs Creek, Walker Creek and a handful of others keep huckers coming back for more. The recently opened Bailey Mountain Bike Park also draws crowds to enjoy the ease of shuttle runs down a recently completed trail system that ranges from beginner to expert. Head east to Black Mountain to bomb Kitsuma and link into Heartbreak Ridge for an epic day. For more details on these and other Asheville mountain biking trails, check out our listings below where you’ll find GPX downloads, videos and directions to get you riding in no time.
Our guide to Asheville, NC Bike Rides and Mountain Bike Trails has a bit of everything, from long road rides for cycling on the Blue Ridge Parkway and around Asheville to some of the best mountain bike trails in WNC at Bent Creek and Pisgah National Forest. Join us as take a quick look at some of our favorite trails including Kitsuma, Greens Lick and more.
Local Biking Expert: Liberty Bicycles | 1378 Hendersonville Rd, Asheville, NC
Green’s Lick Trail (Asheville Mountain Biking): With 2.5 miles of advanced single-track that drops 800 feet in a constant barrage of high berms, rolling whoop-dedos, and big jumps, Green’s Lick is a popular local favorite and one of the best Asheville bike rides. If you’re looking for a short ride of around two hours, we recommend heading up Deer Lake Lodge, left on Wolf Branch, right on 479E, left on Ingles Field Gap, at Five Points straight to North Boundary to Green’s Lick. Bomb Green’s Lick down, right on 479C and left on Lower Sidehill to get back to the parking lot. The options for longer mountain bike rides at Bent Creek are nearly endless, so if you’re in the mood for a full day of riding you won’t be disappointed by the abundance of fun trails at Bent Creek. We recommend heading by Liberty Bicycles to rent bikes, gear up and grab a map for a full day of exploring.
Directions from Asheville: Take I-240 W to I-26 E and get off on Exit 2, NC 191. Turn left and head south on NC 191 for 2 miles. Turn right at the stoplight onto Bent Creek Ranch Road and an almost immediate left on Wesley Branch Road. Continue about 2 miles. We like the parking lot off 479 (dirt road) just past the Hardtimes trailhead.
Town Mountain Road Ride (Asheville Cycling): Town Mountain Road is awesome for a quick out and back cycling adventure for anyone looking to get some exercise without driving out of downtown. The road ride is 5 miles of calf burning bliss up to where the road meets the Blue Ridge Parkway. Once at the top bomb it down the hill 5 miles back into downtown Asheville. Expect a twisty ride featuring some nice Asheville cityscape with stellar mountain views. The Adventure Collective recommends this as the perfect pre-work day outdoor cycling adventure.
Directions from Asheville: This ride is downtown off College Street right before you get to the Beaucatcher Tunnel east of downtown Asheville. Turn left off of College Street onto Town Mountain Road. Look for street or public parking on College Street.
Explorer/Lower Sidehill Loop (Bent Creek Mountain Biking): This intermediate 6.5-mile loop traverses some of Bent Creek’s most diverse terrain and features creek crossings, optional log rides, diverse woodlands & wildlife clearings with tremendous mountain vistas. After the ride be sure to take the cooler and picnic to cool off at Lake Powhatan.
Directions from Asheville: Take I-240 W to I-26 E and get off on Exit 2, NC 191. Turn left and head south on NC 191 for 2 miles. Turn right at the stoplight onto Bent Creek Ranch Road about 2 miles. We like the parking lot off 479 (dirt road) just past the Hardtimes trailhead parking.
Ridgeline Trail (DuPont Mountain Biking): Start at Lake Imaging Parking area in Dupont State Forest and head through the gate up the forest road. Take the second left up Jim Branch Trail and get your game face on! The first 100 feet of steep rock-tech packs a full punch. Now that you’re warmed up, continue climbing the more gradual accent. Once at the top, take a left onto Ridgeline, and head down possibly the best descent in Dupont State Forest!
Directions from Brevard: Head south out of Pisgah Forest on US 64 toward Hendersonville for 3.7 miles and turn right on Crab Creek Road. After 4.2 miles, turn right onto Staton Road and continue to the Lake Imaging parking area on the left. Water and bathrooms are 1/2 mile further at the High Falls Parking Area on the left. Nearby Hooker Falls makes a great post-ride swimming spot.
Kitsuma Mountain Bike Trail (Black Mountain): This ride is a 10 mile loop with close to 2,200 feet of elevation change. Located in the Pisgah National Forest, Kitsuma Trail is one of the most famous in the Asheville area. The ride starts with a serious lungbuster of a climb that challenges you with 14 switchbacks. Don’t let the first painful 15 minutes get in your head-the next 5 miles consist of epic and sometimes steep rolling singletrack on the ridgeline that ends with a fast and furious downhill in to the Old Fort picnic area. Enjoy the views of the opposing mountain you just conquered. This is an advanced ride and very treacherous when wet.
Directions from Asheville: Take I-40 East for about 16 miles to the Ridgecrest exit (the exit just past Black Mtn). Turn left off the exit, cross bridge, then turn right at stop sign. Head about 1 mile to stop sign. Go straight and parking for trailhead is about 1/4 mile on your left.
Elk Mountain Scenic Highway (Asheville Road Ride): Elk Mountain Scenic Highway is definitely the quintessential road ride for Asheville cyclists who are looking for something that packs a punch. This challenging ride begins with a steep, leg-crushing climb up Elk Mountain Scenic Highway. before mellowing out as the road passes through a beautiful pastoral area with great views of the valley below. Take a break at Buzzard Rock before heading south on the Blue Ridge Parkway to Town Mountain Rd. for a fast descent and complete the loop by catching Charlotte St. north to Kimberly Ave. past the Grove Park Inn.
Directions from Asheville: From downtown take Merrimon Ave. N 2 miles. Turn right on Beaverdam Rd at Ingles grocery store and head out Beaverdam Rd. for 1 mile to Elk Mountain Scenic Highway on the left.
Black Mountain Trail (Pisgah National Forest Mountain Biking): Start this epic loop near the entrance to Pisgah National Forest. Head up 276 for 2.2 miles past the Visitor Center taking the next right onto Avery Creek Road towards the horse stables for 1.7 miles. At the horse stables, take a right up Clawhammer Rd (FR 5058); a double track that packs a punch! When your lungs are about to burst, hang a right onto Maxwell Cove (FR 5098). Follow this road to its end at Pressley Gap where it intersects Black Mountain Trail and prepare to lean back and let it rip down one of WNC’s gnarliest sections of singletrack.
Directions from Brevard: Head to Pisgah Forest intersection and turn onto US 276 into the Pisgah National Forest. The parking area and trailhead for the Black Mountain Trail and Sycamore Cove Loop is on the right just before the Ranger’s Station. Avery Creek Road (look for a sign for Horse Stables) is 1/2 mile past Black Mountain Parking Area.
Trace Ridge Trail (Mills River Mountain Biking): Trace Ridge Trail is one of the most exciting and continuous stretches of ridgeline riding around. The 3.1-mile ride drops 1,300-feet through the Pisgah National Forest in the North Mills River Recreation area and offers up great views in winter months. It will be hard to take in the views on this ride though as this is a trail that screaming fast. But because of its popularity, use caution and be ready to hit the brakes not only for the steep rock drops and boulder-strewn guillies, but also for hikers who frequently walk up the trail. To access the trail, we recommend parking about a half mile up Wash Creek Road (frequently gated closed during winter and spring) and pedaling up the gradual gravel grinder to a left on Spencer Branch Road.
Directions from Asheville: Head south out of Asheville on I-26 to exit 40/Airport Road. Take a right and head toward Brevard/Mills River for 4 miles to a right on North Mills River Road and follow until you reach the N. Mills Campground. Head up Wash Creek Road on the right for an ideal access point for Trace Ridge.
Cedar Rock / Big Rock Trail (DuPont Mountain Biking): One of DuPont’s best mountain bike trails is the 1.5 mile Cedar Rock Trail. The trail features a steep climb up eastern slickrock (large slabs of granite) topping out with killer views of Dupont State Forest. The trail can be ridden in various loops and we can’t recommend one way over the other, but will say that climbing up the smooth granite rock slabs found on the back of Cedar Rock Mountain is our favorite approach.
Directions from Brevard: Turn right (east) on US 64 and go 3.7 miles and then right on Crab Creek Rd. Continue 4.3 miles and turn right on DuPont Road, which turns into Staton Road (5.3 miles). Go past the Hooker Falls and High Falls Visitor Center to a left turn on Cascade Lake Road. The parking area for Corn Mill Shoals is on the right after about .5 miles.
Blue Ridge Parkway Road Ride (Asheville): Roughly 27 miles of steady climbing on one of the most famous roads in America the Blue Ridge Parkway make this one of the best road rides for cycling out there. Along the way, cyclists pass several impressive overlooks, pedal through a handful of tunnels, and cap off the ride with a view of Looking Glass Rock, a towering dome of granite deep in Pisgah National Forest. Turn around and enjoy the downhill back to town or continue on the Parkway back to Asheville. We recommend heading to Liberty Bicycles to begin this ride from their parking lot.
Local Biking Expert: Liberty Bicycles