Top 10 Reasons To Ride In Western North Carolina

Do you know that North Carolina has implemented the NC Vision Zero initiative? Well this is not the only reason to ride there!

If you are like most touring cyclists, you’re in perpetual search of the next new and exciting destination. If you are looking, I have a suggestion for you: Asheville and Western North Carolina in the southeast United States. We are biased since we are locals and provide bicycle tours in the area, but we know you won’t be disappointed even if you don’t join one of our tours.

The region has it all: Stunning mountain views, smooth roads, epic trails, tasty craft beers, traditional and cutting-edge cuisine, a vibrant art scene, and much more. From the top of Mt. Mitchell (the highest point east of the Mississippi River) to the flats of the French Broad River valleys, you can have any riding experience you desire. On-road or off, the quiet roads and varied terrain of our trails will satisfy any rider. The region lends itself to great cycling since it is surrounded by National Forest and National Parks.

Reasons To Ride In Western North Carolina

Why should you come to the mountains of Western North Carolina and Asheville? Here are my top 10 reasons why:

Road Biking

1. It Is Road Biking Friendly

Known as “The Good Roads State”, North Carolina has some of the best riding roads in the United States. From epic climbs to valley flats, the riding is variable and as challenging as you wish. The highest peak east of the Mississippi River, Mt. Mitchell at 6,684 feet (2,037 m), is a reasonable riding distance from downtown Asheville. The French Broad River creates a beautiful path for easier rolling roads along its shores from Asheville to Brevard.

Janez Brajkovic, a professional cyclist from Slovenia who has raced at the top level around the world, came to the area to train at the end of 2014 and said: “For me, Asheville has the best roads I’ve seen in America so far”. Some American professional road racers call Western North Carolina home, and for good reason.

Mountain biking in the forest

2. There Are Many Options For Mountain Biking

Just as the road biking is variable, so is the mountain biking. From the extreme technical terrain of Pisgah National Forest to the variable and more relaxing trails of Dupont State Forest, all off-road enthusiasts will be satisfied. In the early days of mountain biking, one of the earliest hot spots in the United States was Tsali Recreation Area located in the Nantahala National Forest.

Many out-of-own riders set themselves up in Brevard and ride in Pisgah and Dupont. Several great local shops can help you out. Sycamore Cycles has a cafe for your morning coffee, and The Hub has several local beers on tap for your post-ride imbibing.

Asheville, North Carolina

3. There Is So Much Diversity To Explore In Asheville

The “capital” of Western North Carolina, Asheville has become the epicenter of culture, diversity, and art for the southern United States. It has been said that Asheville is now “out-San Francisco San Francisco” because of the character and uniqueness of the city and its residents.

From buskers on downtown street corners to the many art galleries in the River Arts District, the city is where it is if you’re looking for a creative vibe. It is home to many companies in the cycling industry such as Cane Creek, Industry 9, and others. A visit to the area to ride must include a visit to Asheville.

North Carolina burger

4. The Food Scene Is Worth Trying

To cruise down the road or trail you need fuel for your tank. Already home to the best barbeque in the world, the creative vibe of Asheville has expanded into a luscious food scene. You won’t go hungry after a ride in Western North Carolina. Several award-winning chefs have set up shop in Asheville. Top restaurants include Curate, Rhubarb, and Chai Pani.

Others to visit are Zambra, White Duck Taco, French Broad Chocolate, and King James Public House. And if you want to stick with barbeque, feel free to visit 12-Bones, President Barack Obama’s favorite barbeque destination. You can’t go wrong, and your appetite will be very satisfied.

Blue Ridge Parkway

5. The Blue Ridge Parkway

This 469-mile ribbon of National Park stretches from the Shenandoah in Virginia, through Western North Carolina, and into the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Many have pedaled its length, covering the best of the Blue Ridge and the Appalachian Mountain chain.

Enjoy vistas that can see several states. The best views are in Western North Carolina including Cumberland Gap, Craggy Gardens, Mt. Mitchell, Grandfather Mountain & the mile-high bridge, and Mt. Pisgah. Many “rough it” by bike camping the route, but there are others that make the most of organized bike tours along parts of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Pisgah National Forest

6. Pisgah National Forest

Pisgah is the forest that the Blue Ridge Parkway carves through on its way across Western North Carolina. The flowing lush mountains that make the region picturesque are mostly parts of this National Forest. For road bikers roads such as Highways 276, 80, and 215 allow cyclists to test their climbing legs and see some beautiful views of the surrounding area.

Technical mountain bikers will find heaven on Pisgah’s trails. The most technical trails are near the towns of Pisgah Forest and Brevard. Easier, but no less fun, trails can be found in the Bent Creek Area of the National Forest.

4 types of craft beer

7. You Get To Try The Craft Beer

The perfect post-ride recovery drink, craft beer is the ideal afterword to a hard day in the saddle. The area is known as “Beer City USA”, and has a booming local craft beer scene. Wicked Weed, Burial Brewing, Pisgah Brewing, and Green Man are at the top of a list of local craft brewers too long for this blog post. The scene, plus the great mountain water, and the central location on the Eastern Seaboard of the USA has attracted larger craft brewers to set up their east-coast facilities in the area.

New Belgium is in downtown Asheville, Sierra Nevada is in Mills River, and Oskar Blues is in Brevard. Sierra Nevada and Wicked Weed have outstanding restaurants. If you’re looking for some good grub after a ride near Brevard, check out Oskar Blues’ Chuburger food truck.

Covered bridge in the forest

8. Dupont State Forest & Its Waterfalls

If you’ve ever seen the movies Last of the Mohicans or the First Hunger Games, you’ve seen this beautiful state forest. Nestled southwest of Asheville, near Brevard, it is a regular destination for mountain bikers. Reeb Ranch, Oskar Blues’ mountain bike park, is located just outside the park’s boundaries.

Within the park, you’ll find natural beauty in abundance, with the most striking sites being the waterfalls. From the towering Triple Falls, cascading Bridal Veil Falls, to the welcoming Hooker Falls, the rushing waters are a sight to see. All of the falls are accessible by mountain bike, and some by road bike.

Biltmore Estate

9. You Can Explore The Biltmore Estate

This place makes Downton Abbey look like an outhouse. The magnificent mansion, gardens, and estate have been meticulously maintained since it was built over 100 years ago. The house was built by George Vanderbilt – a member of the prominent Vanderbilt family – and is the largest home in the United States.

After George’s death, much of the original estate land was sold very cheaply to the United States Forest Service to create Pisgah National Forest. The Estate has excellent roads for casual riding. You can rent bikes from the Estate, explore as a part of an organized tour, or ride on your own as part of an estate visit.

Cycling in fall colors

10. Not To Forget The Fall Colors

The fall colors in Western North Carolina are stunning. Ride the Blue Ridge Parkway and through Pisgah National Forest at the right time and you’ll see the bright reds, yellows, and oranges. The area rivals any “leaf-friendly” area for its beauty in the fall.


Why do people travel to North Carolina?

North Carolina is famous for its diverse landscapes. It is also famous for outdoor activities like water sports and hiking. 

What is special about North Carolina?

The Great Smoky Mountains and their rich history are what make North Carolina special. 

Is North Carolina bike-friendly?

Yes, North Carolina is bike-friendly. 

What are the rules for bikes in North Carolina?

North Carolina has bike rules like you have to use lights at night time, if you are under 16 you have to wear a helmet while bicycling, you have to ride on the right side of the road except when you overtake, using hand signals, only ride with one earbud if you are using headphones, no riding the bicycle if you are under the influence, no cell phone usage while riding and more.


Off the bike, the area has everything a cyclist would want. The food scene is booming and known to be one of the best foodie destinations in the south. Asheville is known as “Beer City USA”, and for good reason. You’ll find the best beer, from local upstart brewers to national craft brewers who have located their East Coast breweries in the area.

Plus there are great sightseeing opportunities in addition to the State and National Forests and Parks. At the top of the list is the Biltmore Estate – a beautiful house and garden built during the height of the “Gilded Age” and not to be missed!

Have you ever explored Western North Carolina on your bicycle before? Which is your favorite spot? Let me know in the comments below.

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Should you have any questions or require further clarification on the topic, please feel free to connect with our expert author Jamie Gilpin by leaving a comment below. We value your engagement and are here to assist you.

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1 thought on “Top 10 Reasons To Ride In Western North Carolina”

  1. Any long downhill rides around Nashville? My wife is NOT a bike person, but she can coast. (Might also be interested in electric bike rental.)


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