Pisgah National Forest is home to some of the best mountain biking trails, component manufacturers, service centers, parks, tour guides, and above all… riders! 

This guide to mountain biking in PNF will help get you up to speed on the best places to ride, trail etiquette, and who to get in touch with for your various needs.

The fine folks at Strava will not be paying your medical bill. If you ride your bike long enough, you will crash. It’s hard to repair… and impossible to replace your brain.

It’s easy to get dehydrated while biking. Drink more than you think you need.

Being a good trail citizen is what keeps our trails open, flowing, and fun. See more below.

Many of the trails in Pisgah are off the beaten path. Bring maps, download TrailForks, pay attention to way points, and don’t venture too far from your comfort zone. If you get lost, follow water down to civilization. Alternatively, hire one of our preferred mountain bike trail guides to take you on a tour.

Trail Etiquette

Before we go into to where to ride, let’s talk about how you should ride.

Right-of-Way

The trails in Pisgah National Forest are multi-use, which means they are enjoyed by bikers, hikers, and horse back riders. Because of this, it can often be confusing who has right-of-way on a multi-use trail. Lucky for us bikers, the math is easy… WE ALWAYS YIELD.

Our bikes carry more kinetic energy than a hiker, and therefore pose a greater risk of hurting someone. And horses can often act in unpredictable ways. Therefore if you encounter a hiker or a horse – let them go first.

When passing someone, be courteous, give them an auditory warning (vocal or bell), and wait for a response before passing. Being friendly to other trail users keeps us in their good graces. Don’t be one of those bikers who give the rest of us a bad name…

When you encounter another biker on the trail, give them the same courtesy. That means If you’re going downhill, stop and let the person climbing pass you. After all, it’s easier for gravity to get going again.

Trail Maintenance

When you encounter a downed branch or tree, don’t assume it’s OK to clear. If the branch is small enough to move without much effort, you probably have the green light. But, if its a larger branch or tree… it’s probably best for you to leave it in place and report it.

Many of the trails in Pisgah National Forest are maintained by volunteers with limited resources.

If you clear the trail yourself, it could waste the time and effort of a volunteer who is scheduled to perform the same work. If you think climbing a mountain on your bike is hard, try it with a chainsaw on your back.

Reports for downed trees can be done through Pisgah Area Sorba’s form. Please take note of what trail you’re on, take pictures, and if possible – record your GPS position.

Of course, if you choose to Join Pedal Pisgah… we’ll donate all of the proceeds from your membership towards trail maintenance. If you enjoy our trails, its an easy way to chip in.. and in return you get discounts on all the bike stuff you love.

You can also join this active Facebook group: WNC Trail Conditions

Inclement Weather, Dogs, Drones, E-Bikes, Trash & Sending It

If you get caught out in the rain, find shelter during lightning… but try not to ride on wet trails. If you encounter a puddle – ride through the center as circumventing it will widen the trails and create erosion.

General speaking, dogs are welcome in all areas of Pisgah – but many places require them to be on leash. Fines can be hefty, so pay attention to signs before you assume.

Drones are not welcome without a permission or a license in most of Pisgah National Forest.

E-Bikes are not allowed on any trail where a motorized vehicle is prohibited. Pay attention to trailhead signs.

Leave no trace. Don’t be an idiot… whatever trash you bring in, you bring out. In fact, bring an extra piece out if you find one. It will make you 15% faster.

When it comes to sending it big, have fun… but BE SAFE. It makes a bad time for everyone if you get hurt and have to be transported out.

Where to Ride

Pedal Pisgah’s current focus is on the trail systems of Asheville, Mills River, Brevard, Cedar Mountain, Saluda, Barnardsville and Old Fort, North Carolina. Choose one of the areas below for more information.

Area
Info
Skill

A massive system of trails in Brevard and Mills River, NC. Many trails are difficult, but also some of the most rewarding. Ride here for the most progressive features.

A huge interconnected system of trails in Cedar Mountain, NC. These are maintained by the state of North Carolina. Many trails are beginner to intermediate, some technical. 

This large system is the closest to downtown Asheville.  All trails are interconnected, allowing for a pick-as-you go ride. Most trails are beginner, with a few above that. 

A system of 9 trails in Saluda, NC. These trails are incredibly beautiful and mostly intermediate in difficulty. Also home to world-class kayaking. 

A famous two trail system in Old Fort, NC that has two parking lots forming a 10 mile loop. The climb is mostly a retired paved road, followed by a steep switchback. The downhill is legendary and very challenging. 

An 8 trail system with gorgeous views, and some of the most challenging mountain biking in the area. This system is north of Asheville in Barnardsville, NC.