Pis­gah Nation­al For­est is the Moun­tain Bike Mec­ca of the East. It’s been on our rid­ing dream map for decades, not we final­ly have your buck­et list spot ready for Sacred Rides prime time.

Hard trails over rock slabs, under a canopy of hard­woods, off-cam­ber roots with some down-right fun and hos­pitable towns to refu­el after a hard day of rid­ing. You will love the Pis­gah Epic for the amaz­ing rid­ing and the wicked fun vibe of the West North Carolina.

The rid­ing in West­ern North Car­oli­na (WNC), specif­i­cal­ly in Pis­gah Nation­al for­est has until recent­ly been over­shad­owed by big­ger name des­ti­na­tions with “more” moun­tain­ous geo­gra­phies. How­ev­er, Pis­gah as its local­ly known, is a gem tucked away in the west­ern cor­ner of North Car­oli­na and has been a go to train­ing area for pro rid­ers, test­ing ground for bike man­u­fac­tur­ers and must ride des­ti­na­tion for cyclists in the know for decades.

The seem­ing­ly end­less trail loops and options here make Pis­gah Nation­al for­est a moun­tain bik­ers play­ground. The ter­rain in Pis­gah is renowned for being some of the burli­est on the east coast; full of rooty and rocky tech­ni­cal trail. Much of the trail sys­tem was built dur­ing the great depres­sion by the Civil­ian Con­ser­va­tion Corps (CCC) as a means to put young men to work. Thus, it was nev­er built with moun­tain bikes in mind, which is much of the rea­son it is so beloved. The trails are too steep, too rocky, too rooty for bikes by many stan­dards, just the kind of thing that makes it great.

Just a few miles from Pis­gah is DuPont State Park with 50+ miles of sin­gle-track and fun grav­el roads. It is less burly and gen­er­al­ly less tech­ni­cal than the rid­ing in Pis­gah and offers a more begin­ner and inter­me­di­ate trail expe­ri­ence. DuPont does host one of the most pop­u­lar flow lines on the East Coast as well as plen­ty of exposed gran­ite slab dubbed the “slick­rock of the East.”

This trip is for expe­ri­enced, fit, and tech­ni­cal­ly strong rid­ers only! Be sure to review our Skill and Fit­ness Rat­ing System for a bet­ter under­stand­ing of what to expect.

Is This Ride For You?

This Ride is for you if long, steep climbs don’t phase you and tech­ni­cal, steep descents excite you! You can han­dle rocky ter­rain (climb­ing and descend­ing), nar­row sin­gle­track, and some expo­sure. You’re com­fort­able and con­fi­dent rid­ing a blend of cross coun­try and all-moun­tain trails. Rid­ing mul­ti­ple days in a row, 3–5 hours per day is no big­gie to you. You live for long days on the bike, reward­ed by the com­forts of a post-ride hot tub soak, a gor­geous lodge, and a chilled beer.


DAY 1. Cove Creek and Daniel Ridge Trails

Our pri­vate shut­tle will meet you at the Asheville Region­al Air­port and shut­tle to the trail­head for our first Pis­gah trail ride, Cove Creek and Daniel Ridge. This is the clas­sic Pis­gah warm up. It starts with a gen­tle climb on sin­gle track to the Cove Creek trail head. Cove Creek is a nice grad­ual climb for a few miles con­tour­ing its way into the for­est. Clas­sic old school con­tour trail. 

We’ll turn onto what was once For­est Ser­vice road 225, now main­ly sin­gle-track. Fol­low this rolling trail through the for­est to Daniel Ridge. We depend­ing on the group we can descent the cov­et­ed “rocky side” of Daniel Ridge or take the not so smooth “smooth” side down. A mile on grav­el gets us back to
the rolling sin­gle-track back to the car. 

Shut­tle back, check into our lodg­ing and get ready for a deli­cious din­ner in town. 

Time on trail: Approx. 3–4 hours

DAY 2.  Big Pis­gah Loop

Be sure to eat a good break­fast for this epic ride. We’ll roll right out of the hotel and head into the Pisgah. 

After a cou­ple miles of pave­ment along the David­son Riv­er we will turn off and start a 5 mile climb on for­est ser­vice road to Buck­horn Gap. 

A few miles of back­coun­try con­tour miles will take us across Buck­horn Gap trail to South Mills Riv­er trail which con­tin­ues along South Mills Riv­er to the start of the famous Squir­rel Gap trail. “Squir­rel” is per­haps some of Pisgah’s most quin­tes­sen­tial old school sin­gle-track dat­ing back to the great depression. 

The 8 miles across squir­rel bring us to the boun­cy tech­ni­cal descent on Mul­li­nax trail down to South Mills riv­er. Cross­ing the riv­er its a cou­ple miles up to the Turkey Pen park­ing lot where the van will be wait­ing with plen­ty of cold beers.

Time on trail: Approx. 4+ hours

DAY 3. DuPont Big Ride

Enjoy a hearty break­fast before head­ing out for the day.

Today we will be tak­ing a break from the roots and rocks of Pis­gah and head over to DuPont State park to ped­al a big loop of all the best trails. We’ll hit the top trails — Ridge­line, Burnt Moun­tain, Lau­rel Moun­tain, Airstrip, Cedar rock and Big Rock (slick­rock of the east). The rid­ing here is gen­er­al­ly less tech­ni­cal, faster rolling with short­er climbs.

Time on trail: Approx. 3+ hours

DAY 4. Spencer Gap

This is a mix of old school Pis­gah and new age trail re-designs. The ride starts with a grav­el road climb up to Spencer Gap trail. Spencer starts steep then backs off with some nice fun rolling ter­rain and small­er rock gar­dens. At the top its a fun row­dy descent on the recent­ly re-worked Spencer Branch trail with hip jumps, berms and plen­ty of flow. At the bot­tom of the descent we roll some undu­lat­ing for­est road a cou­ple miles to Fletch­er Creek trail. After a short climb there’s an all out fast and flowy sec­tion to the bot­tom of the road. A cou­ple mile climb back up to the Trace Ridge park­ing lot where we ride Trace ridge down the moun­tain and across North Mills Riv­er to the park­ing lot.

Time on trail: Approx. 3+ hours

Day 5. Weed Patch

East of the Ranger Dis­trict of Pis­gah lies Lake Lure (Dirty Danc­ing was filmed here) and the crag­gy moun­tain ridge above the lake home to the nation­al­ly acclaimed weed patch moun­tain trail. 

WPMT fin­ished in 2018 has been rec­og­nized as one of the best new trails in the nation. In a cer­e­mo­ny on Capi­tol Hill, the nation­al Coali­tion for Recre­ation­al Trails announced its annu­al achieve­ment award in the cat­e­go­ry of trail design and con­struc­tion. Its 10 miles of rugged rocky out­crops and fun tech­ni­cal sec­tions drop over 2400 ft down to the Buf­fa­lo creek on the shores of Lake Lure. A post ride pon­toon cruise takes us back across the lake to our Cabins.

Time on trail: Approx. 3+ hours

Day 6. Heart Break Ridge & Kitsuma

Today is an Epic ride. One that will leave the locals who hear of it drool­ing. It’s usu­al­ly one or the oth­er, unless you’re pre­pared for a mon­ster grind between the two, but today because we have a shut­tle we’ll get both. We’ll get the added bonus of start­ing from Mount Mitchell, the high­est point East of the Mis­sis­sip­pi and drop­ping all the way down to Old Fort, NC at the base of the Appalachi­an escarpment. 

Today’s ride shows us the mag­ic of hav­ing a shut­tle van at your dis­pos­al. The stats say it all about this one! After the ride we will head back to Asheville where you can either extend your trip and keep the fun mov­ing along or sad­ly, pack up your gear and head on over to the airport.

Time on trail: Approx. 3+ hours

Photos & Videos