Asheville Hosts Cyclo-cross National Championships in January 2016
Asheville will host the Cyclo-cross National Championships on Biltmore Estate in January 2016. USA Cycling evaluated potential host cities using various criteria, including: accessibility, community support, course options, technical expertise and the organization’s commitment to volunteer recruitment, marketing and lodging. It will be the first time this event has been held in the southeast. The national championship course will be set amongst the 8,000 acres of America’s largest home. In addition, Asheville will host an international-caliber test event ahead of the national championships in 2015.
Road Biking around Asheville
For road bikes, the popular spot is the Blue Ridge Parkway. Read some great tips about biking on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Also read a biker's journal of his ride of the entire Parkway. There are plenty of country roads to explore in the North Carolina mountains. In Asheville, Carrier Park has a paved track for biking loops and is located along the 2.8-mile French Broad River Greenway in West Asheville at the French Broad River Park. It's part of the Wilma Dykeman RiverWay Plan, a major urban waterfront redevelopment project. Our favorite paved greenway near Asheville is the Point Lookout Greenway Bike Trail, a very scenic 3.6-mile paved greenway that climbs 900 feet in elevation.
Bike the Assault on Mt. Mitchell, a very challenging 102-mile supported bike ride from Spartanburg, South Carolina, to the top of Mt. Mitchell. You climb a cumulative of 11,000 plus vertical feet (6,600 feet in the last 24 miles)! You can bike the entire route or take ride the Assault on Marion, a 78-mile ride that stops before the steep climb to the top.
Guided Bike Tours Downtown
For a leisurely sight-seeing ride, take the electric bike tour in downtown Asheville! Read more.
As you may guess, mountain biking is big in the Asheville area of the North Carolina mountains. Just south of the city, you will find a variety of mountain bike trails at the Bent Creek Experimental Forest and the NC Arboretum next door. The Pisgah Forest District’s other popular biking areas include Bent Creek, near Asheville; Trace Ridge, near town of Mills River; Davidson River, near Brevard; and South Mills River, near town of Pisgah Forest. About an hour west of Asheville is the nationally known Tsali Recreation Area.
If you are not bring your bike, you can rent road and mountian bikes in Asheville at Liberty Bikes. For a convenient place to rent and service bikes near Tsali Recreational Area, go to Nantahala Outdoor Center. Their bike shop is only ten minutes from Tsali and they have their own Flint Ridge Trail with great views of the Nantahala Gorge.
Located in Asheville near the NC Arboretum, Bent Creek's collection of trails is great for all levels of mountain bike riders, with easier flat trails to trails with large climbs and technical sections. Bent Creek is popular for after-dinner rides, because it is just a few minutes' drive from downtown Asheville. Lake Powhatan has a great campground. See our Bent Creek & Lake Powhatan Guide.
DuPont State Forest
DuPont State Forest is fast becoming one of the leading mountain bike destinations in Western North Carolina. This forest offers over 80 miles of trail, nearly all of which is open to both equestrians and mountain bikers. DuPont offers everything from gentle forest roads to exciting single track, with an impressive variety of scenic attractions located only minutes apart. Download their Mountain Bike Guide.
Follow the training route of Lance Armstrong. Beech Mountain is a biker's mountain offering something for everyone. The new Adventure Trail Park is a series of trails on both public and private land, maintained by the Town of Beech Mountain, that includes single track, double track, technical downhill runs, free ride areas, fire roads, and old unmaintained gravel roads. USA Cycling chose Beech Mountain Resort as the site of the 2011 and 2012 Mountain Bike Gravity National Championships. The resort, the highest ski area in eastern North America, is developing the course and enhancing its lifts with the goal of creating an advanced facility for all mountain bike enthusiasts. See our Beech Mountain Guide.
If you are visiting Biltmore Estate, take along your bike and try out their mountain biking trails - from easy to difficult. Read more.
Pisgah Mountain Bike Adventures
This mountain bike guide service specializes in professionally guided trips in Pisgah National Forest and DuPont State Forest, near Brevard. They offer self-supported guided trips customized to individual tastes and ability levels. Half, full, and multi-day trips include a snack and lunch. They create rides focusing on downhills, single-track, or climbing, and even night rides. Experienced and trustworthy guides take all the hassles out of your planning and show you a fun experience.
Let the locals show you the best Pisgah has to offer.
Click here to visit their Web site
Nantahala Outdoor Center
Rent a mountain bike at NOC’s Tsali Bikes on the Nantahala River! We’re just 10 minutes from Tsali, or ride across the river on our own Flint Ridge Trail! Service and repairs, bike sales.
Tsali Bikes is located at NOC on the Nantahala River
Click here to view their Web site
Tsali Recreation Area: Mountain Biking Heaven
The popular Tsali Recreation Area has long been a top destination for mountain biking in North Carolina and even the entire eastern US. Containing nearly 40 miles of trails in a system with four excellent loops, it has been rated as one of the top 10 places to ride in the USA! The area is located on a hilly peninsula reaching into beautiful Fontana Lake, at the base of the Great Smoky Mountains. The four long main trails at Tsali wind along the lakeshore and onto the wooded, steep interior ridgelines, and many connector trails, gravel roads and extension trails make rides at Tsali even longer, more scenic, and more fun! Three main overlooks along the trails provide sweeping views of Fontana Lake with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on the other side. The trails are fast, hardpacked singletrack, and they're extremely well designed and well used. Trails alternate use between mountain bikers and horseback riders on different days, two will always be open to mountain biking. There is a $2.00 trail use fee for one day, but Tsali is well worth two bucks!
Tsali's jumping off point is the end of FR 1286, where the trailhead, campground, and boat launch are located. Tsali can be quite crowded on summer weekends. This means the parking lot will probably be pretty full. Don't let this deter you from riding here, however. Finding a place to park is not a problem unless there's an event such as a race going on. While on the trails, you might encounter other riders frequently - so keep that in mind as you pick up speed. Despite this, the trails are hardly ever so crowded that you can't find seclusion. Even on the most crowded days, you can often ride for miles without seeing anyone else. To avoid the crowds, try to visit during the week. Tsali's Left and Right Loop trails can be combined to make a great, but difficult, 18-mile ride.
Located at the entrance to the trailhead parking lot is the Trailhead Store, a small stand which sells Tsali souvenirs such as bumper stickers, postcards, and t-shirts. There's also firewood for the campground and for the trail they have handy items such as power bars, cold drinks, tubes, brake pads, guide books, and even helmets. Though this may have destroyed any remaining illusion of being in the wilderness when you're in the parking area, some of that stuff can really come in handy (especially the cold drinks on a hot day!).
Directions to Tsali: From Asheville, take I-40 West to Exit 27. Follow Highway 74 past Bryson City (Great Smoky Mountains Expressway) to intersection with NC 28 North. Follow NC 28 North about 3 miles (through heavy construction; this road is being widened to four lanes) to the sign for the Tsali Recreation Area; turn right. Follow this newly paved road to the campground and trailhead parking lot; park in the lot signed "Riders Park and Pay Here."
Download Tsali Guide (PDF) | Full list of Tsali Trails.