Explorer Loop Sidehill Bent Creek

Explorer / Lower Sidehill | Bent Creek

Explorer Loop & Lower Sidehill (Bent Creek Mountain Biking Trails): 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. The Explorer Loop is known as a classic introduction to Bent Creek / Pisgah riding and is fun whether you’re just learning to ride trails or looking to let loose of the brakes and let it roll.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Michelle (@michelle_avl_) on

To begin this ride head across the bridge or cross the creek from the parking area and begin climbing the forest service road. There are three options branching off to the left. The second option makes a great beginner loop, while the third option (highest) offers a harder, more technical climb but rewards with a long, fast downhill with a few rolling jumps.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Chris Cloer (@chriscloer) on

Near the bottom of the descent the Pine Tree Loop heads right back toward the campground and is a good option for adding additional miles. For a fun beginner loop we recommend heading back to the parking area and taking a right to access the Sidehill Connector Trail on the left side of the road when heading back the way you came in. The short Sidehill Connector trail features a punchy climb and a nice traverse with a bridge and a creek crossing. Once the trail intersects with a forest service road go right down the hill and look for Lower Sidehill on the left. This fun, flowy trail has a nice gradual climb to begin before dropping into some fast berms with plenty of roots and rollers. During the summer months a great after ride option is to head to nearby Lake Powhatan for a quick swim to cool off.

Explorer Sidehill Loop

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. For this ride we recommend driving out Bent Creek Gap Road to the parking area for the Explorer Loop located on the left about two miles on the dirt road past past the Hardtimes trailhead parking.

The Adventure Collective

The Adventure Collective publishes a series of outdoor adventure sports guides to adventures in Asheville, Boone, Brevard, Chattanooga, Charleston and The Great Smoky Mountains.

View stories