About Pisgah National Forest

Pisgah National Forest is a National Forest in the Appalachian Mountains. It is completely contained within the state of North Carolina and administered by the US Forest Service.


The Pisgah National Forest was established in 1916, one of the first national forests in the eastern United States. The new preserve included approximately 86,700 acres that had been part of the Biltmore Estate, but were sold to the federal government in 1914 by Edith Vanderbilt. Some of the forest tracts were among the first purchases by the Forest Service under the Weeks Act of 1911. While national forests had already been created in the western United States, the Weeks Act provided the authority required to create national forests in the east as well. Although tracts in the future Pisgah National Forest were among the first purchased under the Weeks Act, the very first to receive formal approval was the 31,000 acre Gennett Purchase in northern Georgia.On March 25, 1921 Boone National Forest was added to Pisgah, and on July 10, 1936, most of Unaka National Forest was added.


The Pisgah National Forest covers 512,758 acres of mountainous terrain in the southern Appalachian Mountains, including parts of the Blue Ridge Mountains and Great Balsam Mountains. Elevations reach over 6,000′ and include some of the highest mountains in the eastern United States. Summit elevations include Black Balsam Knob at 6,214′, Mount Hardy at 6,110′, Tennant Mountain at 6,056′, and Cold Mountain at 6,030′. Mount Mitchell, in Mount Mitchell State Park, is the highest mountain east of the Mississippi River and lies just outside the boundary of PNF.

Mountain Bike Trail Systems in Pisgah

For the purposes of our programs, we are currently focused on the trail systems in Asheville, Mills River, Brevard, Cedar Mountain, Saluda, Barnardsville and Old Fort North Carolina.

The major systems in these areas include:

For more information on these trail systems, please read our page About Mountain Biking in Pisgah