10 Best Mountain Biking Trails In Pisgah North Carolina
If you’re planning a mountain biking trip to the Southeastern United States, you’ve probably already heard about Pisgah National Forest.
Covering over 500,000 acres of land, with hundreds of miles of trails, this area is known to many mountain bikers as one of the best places to mountain bike in the world.
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Shred the Trails in Pisgah, North Carolina
With so many great options, choosing just 10 trails to ride in Pisgah can be a difficult task. This article is our attempt at doing just that.
1. SORBA Beginner’s Loop: Fun Beginner-Intermediate Trail
If you’re a beginner rider looking to test your skills, then this trail is for you. The SORBA Beginner’s Loop is a well-maintained and marked 9.9-kilometer loop trail. The trail itself is mostly singletrack with some roots and rocks here and there.
The SORBA Beginner’s Loop features some off-camber, berms, jumps, and creek crossings making it a great trail to practice your beginner skills. It also has some technical uphill sections that’ll keep you on your toes. Remember that you can always hike your bike up if necessary.
2. George’s Creek: Long Climb with a Great View
If you’re a beginner rider looking to test your cardio, then you should try this trail. George’s Creek is a 10.1-kilometer out-and-back trail with an average gradient of 4% and a max gradient of 14%. The trail itself is mostly rocky as it was originally built for logging back in the day.
You start this trail with a long climb to the top. Once at the top, feel free to enjoy the view of Blowing Rock and Grandfather Mountain, before going down the winding trail to the bottom of Rocky Knob. This trail is sure to take your breath away – either due to the view or the climb to get there.
3. Ingles Field Gap Loop: One of the Best
If you’re an intermediate rider looking for the best loop trails in the Pisgah area, then you should definitely ride this one. The Ingles Field Gap Loop combines several fun trails into one awesome loop. The result is a 15.7-kilometer loop with a max elevation of 891 meters, an average gradient of 4%, and a max gradient of 13%.
The trail itself is mostly singletrack and features a fast descent with some rock obstacles, spring crossings, drops, berms, flowy rollers, and some roots. That said, the first 20% of this trail is an uphill doubletrack that can be challenging if your cardio isn’t up to par with your skills.
4. Woods Mountain Loop: Old-school Trail with a Super Fun Descent
In the mood for a longer trail? Try Pisgah’s Woods Mountain Loop. This trail is 40.1 kilometers of remote backcountry with a max elevation of 1,092 meters. Rated as an intermediate-difficult trail, this loop is mostly doubletrack with an average gradient of 5% and a max gradient of 33%.
You get a bit of everything in this trail but the highlight has to be the 8-kilometer descent. You will have to do a lot of climbing to get there, though, but the 609-meter drop in elevation should make it all worth it. Do note that this is a shared hike/bike/horse trail and that you’re expected to yield to hikers and horseback riders, especially on the Betsey Ridge downhill.
5. Cove Creek Loop: Pisgah Riding 101
Most of the trails in the Pisgah area are rated intermediate or difficult. If you’re an intermediate rider looking to dip your toe into the Pisgah riding scene, then this trail is for you.
Cove Creek Loop is 16 kilometers of mostly gravel road. Its highest elevation is 987 meters, with an average gradient of 4%, and a max gradient of 14%. This trail features some gravel road climbing and fun but tame (for Pisgah) downhill.
6. Fletcher Creek: Low Elevation, Mellow Ride
If you’re an intermediate rider looking for a tamer ride, for Pisgah at least, then this trail may be what you’re looking for. Fletcher Creek is 15.3 kilometers of mostly gravel road with a max elevation of 871 meters. While this trail does have an average gradient of 3% and a max gradient of 17%, the climb up the gravel road is quite mellow with no abrupt gradient changes.
That said, you will have to ride a long gravel road climb before you get to the fun singletrack section. Once there, expect a zippy and flowy downhill, some rocks, and a stream crossing or two. While rated for intermediate riders, more experienced beginners can ride this trail.
7. Bent Creek Epicito: Pisgah Sampler
Bent Creek Epicito (mini-epic) seeks to combine most of Pisgah’s best trails into one awesome ride. This route is 33.2 kilometers long with a max elevation of 1,011 meters. The trail itself is mostly singletrack with an average gradient of 5% and a max gradient of 22% and rated for intermediate riders.
The following are the trails you can ride on this route: Green’s Lick, Explorer Loop, Pine Tree Loop, and Deerfield Loop. While this route isn’t the easiest to navigate through, you can always just go downhill back to Bent Creek Road if you find yourself lost.
8. Bennett Gap Loop: One of Pisgah’s Fastest Downhills
The Bennett Gap downhill is definitely one of the fastest downhills you can find in the Pisgah area. While you can get to the top via shuttle, the trail we’ve chosen for this list makes you work for your reward. You’ll have to climb up a 5.6-kilometer gravel road from the Horse Stables until you get to the fun part.
This 10.6-kilometer loop has a max elevation of 1,086 meters. The trail itself is 50% singletrack with an average gradient of 7% and a max gradient of 20%. Leading to an absolutely rapid downhill, the Bennett Gap Loop is understandably rated for advanced riders.
9. Black Mountain Loop: Lung-busting Climbs + Technical Descents
If you’re looking for a real challenge as an advanced rider, definitely check this one out. The Black Mountain Loop is 21.9 kilometers long with a max elevation of 1,272 meters. The trail itself is mostly singletrack with an average gradient of 6% but a max gradient of 47%!
What makes this loop suitable for only the most advanced riders is the tough climb up Clawhammer Road. This tough climb is something you’ll have to endure before you can get to the awesome reward at the top. Once there, you’ll be greeted by one of the longest technical descents you’ll ever experience.
10. Kitsuma/Point Lookout Loop: Ride of a Lifetime
If you’re an advanced rider looking for the quintessential Pisgah trail, this is it. The Kitsuma/Point Lookout Loop is one of the few classic Pisgah routes.
This trail is 15.9 kilometers long with a max elevation of 963 meters. The trail itself is mostly singletrack with an average gradient of 6% and a max gradient of 35%.
The Kitsuma/Point Lookout Loop features a 12+ switchback climb and a 4.8-kilometer descent, all with the tallest mountain east of Mississippi as a backdrop. Expect to ride through water bars, fast flowy sections, as well as some steep rocky areas on your way down.