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.

Pis­gah, a gem tucked away in the west­ern cor­ner of North Car­oli­na (WNC), has been known as the go-to train­ing area for pro rid­ers, test­ing ground for bike man­u­fac­tur­ers, and must-ride des­ti­na­tion for rides for decades. 

The seem­ing­ly end­less trail loops and options here make Pis­gah Nation­al for­est a moun­tain biker’s 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) 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. Let’s get to Brevard!

Our pri­vate shut­tle will meet you at the Asheville Region­al Air­port and dri­ve the group to our hotel in Bre­vard. If you are arriv­ing by vehi­cle you can check-in after 3:00 pm.

We’ll enjoy a meet and greet and cock­tail hour at this hotel this evening.

DAY 2.  Cove Creek and Daniel Ridge Trails

We’ll start today with break­fast at the hotel, then shut­tle to 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 trail­head. Cove Creek is a nice grad­ual climb for a few miles along a clas­sic old school con­tour trail into the forest. 

We’ll turn onto what was once For­est Ser­vice Road 225, now main­ly sin­gle-track, and fol­low this rolling trail through the for­est to Daniel Ridge. Then we can either 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. 

DAY 3. Epic Pis­gah Loop

After break­fast at the hotel, we’ll pack up and hop in the van to 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 the 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. After cross­ing the riv­er, we’ll have a cou­ple miles up to the Turkey Pen park­ing lot where the van will be wait­ing with plen­ty of cold beers. 

DAY 4. DuPont Big Ride

We’ll eat break­fast at the hotel and then we’ll take a break from the roots and rocks of Pis­gah and head over to DuPont State park for a big loop tak­ing in all the best trails. We’ll hit all the high­lights like Ridge­line, Burnt Moun­tain, Lau­rel Moun­tain, Airstrip, Cedar Rock, and Big Rock (slick­rock of the east). The rid­ing here is gen­er­al­ly less tech­ni­cal and faster rolling with short­er climbs.

Day 5. Pis­gah Enduro

After break­fast, we’ll head to Avery Creek and Ben­nett Gap. This is a locals’ favorite that hits some of the burli­est stuff out there but starts with a nice warm-up on a grav­el road. We’ll roll out from the hotel and after cou­ple of miles on pave­ment start our 5 mile climb up Avery Creek Road to the “Club Gap” trail. 

Club Gap is one lung-burst­ing chunky mile to the start of the locals’ favorite DH run of Avery Creek trail. Avery has recent­ly been reworked with added fea­tures (rollers, berms, rock moves, and gaps) all the way down to the creek some 5 miles below. 

Back on Avery Creek Road, we’ll climb back up a cou­ple more miles to the trail­head at Ben­nett Gap. Ben­nett Gap has some of the tough­est lines in Pis­gah and a cou­ple of rock moves that are Expert+. Ben­nett con­tin­ues down a few more miles with some rooty drop sec­tions and a cou­ple of tough climbs (hike-a-bikes). For those who sim­ply can’t get enough, we can add anoth­er ~3 mile climb up and tag on the low­er “black moun­tain trail”.

Day 6. Spencer Gap

Today is a mix of old-school Pis­gah and new-age trail redesigns. 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, it’s 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 of miles to Fletch­er Creek trail. After a short climb, there’s an all-out fast and flowy sec­tion to the bot­tom of the road. Then we’ve got a cou­ple of miles to climb back up to the Trace Ridge park­ing lot where we’ll ride Trace ridge down the moun­tain and across North Mills Riv­er to the park­ing lot.

Day 7. Heart Break Ridge & Kitsuma

Today is an Epic ride — one that will leave the locals who hear of it drool­ing. Usu­al­ly, you have to pick either Heart Break Ridge or Kit­suma unless you’re pre­pared for a mon­ster grind between the two. Lucky for us, we have a shut­tle so we’ll get to do both trails with­out the extra pain. 

We’ll get the added bonus of start­ing the fun 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. This is the mag­ic of an all-inclu­sive moun­tain bike hol­i­day. You get to do such deca­dent rides such as this.

Day 8. Option­al Bike Park Day

For those who want it all, we’ll shut­tle from Black Moun­tain to Mar­shall, NC and Bai­ley Moun­tain Bike Park. This is a shut­tled-access bike park fun for all skill lev­els. For those who do not want to ride, you can tour around the streets of vibrant Asheville. We’ll all meet up at the hotel for a cock­tail hour before cut­ting folks loose for explore the many restau­rants, bars and brew­eries the make Asheville so unique.


Day 9: Trav­el Day

When it’s all over, we’ll pack up bikes and enjoy one last break­fast togeth­er in Asheville before start­ing Asheville Air­port drop-offs.

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Dates chosen: Apr. 10, 2021—Apr. 18, 2021
Skill Rating: Black Diamond
Fitness Rating: Black Diamond
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Skill Levels
Green Circle

Typically, green Rides are safe for beginners. Green Rides may have both avoidable and unavoidable obstacles. Trails are generally low grade, wide, consistent surface texture and have minimal features. You are likely to come across unavoidable obstacles 2-inches or shorter, which is small enough for mountain bike tires to simply roll over. More challenging than tarmac, but in general, a wonderful Ride for those riders new to mountain biking or looking for a casual experience.

Blue Square

In general, Blue trails are narrower than green trails, encounter unavoidable obstacles such as roots, rocks, and drops that are up to 8-inches tall. You will want to have a solid understanding of the fundamentals of mountain biking including body positions, powerful braking, cornering, riding on varied terrain, steep sections and experience riding trails that requires line choice. Airtime is not mandatory, but you will find yourself on trails with alternate lines giving you the option.

Black Diamond

The Black Diamond Rides are  suitable for riders looking for that edge. Maybe it’s the edge of a drop, the edge of a cliff, or singletrack requiring focus and fast reactions developed from extensive experience riding “the edge”. You will find yourself on steep trails of varied surfaces. In the Pacific North West that could be slick roots and loam, in Nepal you will find exposed granite in the Mustang Valley and in Guatemala it maybe narrow stairways through cliffside villages. While airtime is rarely required, the ability to find the backside or clean a tabletop should be comfortable or in a state of progress. Obstacles on Black rides are likely to be outside the range of your bikes ability to cover your goofs with its awesome suspension and grip.

Double Black Diamond

A Double Black ride is for those that already know they are looking for a Double Black. It’s going to be very hard and require advanced bike handling skills. You will find yourself on trails with sections most non-riders would look at and say, “that’s totally nuts!”. You will know how to look at a line and contemplate where it will work and where it won’t. Drops of a couple feet should be comfortable and getting your bike off the ground should feel predictable and fun.

Fitness Levels
Green Circle

You should be ready to spend 2-4 hours per day on the bike. Mileage may be up to 30km/20 miles and elevation gain will be under 500m/1500feet. On e-MTB tours, numbers will be higher, however the approximate effort would be considered similar to a standard Green Circle ride. If you get on your bike once a week, you will be just fine. However, when preparing for a Ride, you will benefit from more rides and time in the saddle.

Blue Square

Blue should be considered a good deal more effort than our Green Rides.  You should be able to handle 3 to 5 hours in the saddle covering up to 45km/30miles and be able to pull off a big day of 1000m/3000feet of elevation gain. Managing fuel is important as well.  You should have a good understanding how your body responds to multiple days on the bike. We will help with positive coaching, a manageable pace and plenty of trailside snacks.

Black Diamond

A Black Fitness ride will test you. Aside from needing to be able to manage up to 6 hours on the bike, day after day, including distance up to 50km/30miles and elevation gains up to 1750m/5000feet of climbing, you will be adding extra challenges along the route like periods of hike-a-bike and the extra effort required by the whole body to safely dance with your bike over technical terrain. Generally, riders who are up for a Black Fitness ride, likely spend time on the bike a couple times each week.

Double Black Diamond

A Double Black will be for those with the strength and endurance to get to the top of anything they want and understand the term “turning the screw”. Distance could be quite high on some routes and elevation gain numbers could hit 2000m/6000 feet+ in a day. You are likely riding multiple days a week during the dry periods and have a trainer or belong to a gym for the rest of the year.