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What to do near Asheville?
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By Auto-X Fil
From NEPA and Upper Jay, NY
May 31, 2012

The wife and son (4) and I will be headed down south for a family vacation. These things usually take the shape of me getting up early and doing a 2-4 hour run, ride, hike, or climb while they sleep in. Then, in the afternoon we do family-oriented hikes or bike rides.

For instance, Acadia NP was perfect. I could scramble 3rd and 4th class or trail run or road bike for a couple hours in the morning, and there were lots of easy trails for hiking and cruiser-biking later in the day.

What sort of stuff should I plan for western NC? It seems like 3rd or 4th class terrain is vegetated, so scrambling is probably out. What's better in that area - road biking, or mountain biking? I'd like to ride up Clingman's/Mitchell via the parkway, so I'd lean towards the road bike unless the mountain bike trails are awesome. I could probably bring both, I guess.

How about trail runs? I love loops - any good runs near town in the 5-10 mile range?


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By T.C.
From Whittier, NC
May 31, 2012

Road biking is prime, although you will be hard pressed to do a ride from Clingman's to Mitchell in a day, they are quite far apart. Are you staying downtown? I would suggest a road ride to craggie gardens via the parkway from anywhere in town. On your mountain bike you can ride DuPont state park, it's quite fantastic, or go to Bent Creek, very close to town and excellent as well. Trail running is popular here, the Mountains to Sea trail follows the parkway through town, and is quite fun and a good workout with lots of elevation changes. Bent Creek is also a runner's haven, lots of loops that range from a mile to 25, bite off as much as you want to chew. All the trail systems in the areas I mentioned are very well identified and there is plenty of information online to look at if you google search. Enjoy your stay, I hope you like beer, there are now 10 breweries here. Lots of really great food in all the price ranges. Try a stroll downtown in the evenings to see the scene, and don't miss Lexington Ave, it's great.

Have fun,

Tony C.


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By Auto-X Fil
From NEPA and Upper Jay, NY
May 31, 2012

Yeah, I meant Clingman's and Mitchell as two different short (but steep) rides. Connecting the two in a day sounds like an epic challenge, but not great for the family vacation.

If the running and road biking are both good I'll leave the MTB behind so I have more room to bring beer home. Microbrews are right up my alley.

Thanks for the pointers! There was a ton of info to sort through on my first few Google searches, so having some names helps to pare it down a bit.


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By Joe Virtanen
From Asheville, NC
May 31, 2012
Pit BBQ

I have to echo T.C.'s advice, but will caution against going on the parkway unprepared. It's almost entirely uphill from town to Craggy with a 3-4k elevation change to go with it.

However, if you're into that sort of thing, you'll have a blast!

You can get in some great climbs at Looking Glass or Rumbling Bald, but you'll definitely need to make a morning/early day of it at either one. I'd recommend Rumbling Bald due to the plentiful single pitch opportunities, since you have a kid along.


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By Be Esperanza
From Asheville, NC
May 31, 2012
OKellys Crack, J Tree

I just did a nice 10 mile trail run in the smokies at the Big Creek trail head. A nice enduro loop would be to run up Mount Sterling and come down the Big Creek Trail. The trail head is about 45 minutes from Asheville. I just moved back, so I really don't remember the lay of the land too well, but I remember the mountain biking at Bent Creek being really nice, and close to town.


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By rock_fencer
From Columbia, SC
Jun 2, 2012
Myself placing a a blue/yellow offset MC to protect between Bolt 2/3 just post crux . <br /> <br />Picture credit goes to eric Singleton, and many thanks to Josh Bagget for the great belay.

Auto-X Fil wrote:
The wife and son (4) and I will be headed down south for a family vacation. These things usually take the shape of me getting up early and doing a 2-4 hour run, ride, hike, or climb while they sleep in. Then, in the afternoon we do family-oriented hikes or bike rides. For instance, Acadia NP was perfect. I could scramble 3rd and 4th class or trail run or road bike for a couple hours in the morning, and there were lots of easy trails for hiking and cruiser-biking later in the day. What sort of stuff should I plan for western NC? It seems like 3rd or 4th class terrain is vegetated, so scrambling is probably out. What's better in that area - road biking, or mountain biking? I'd like to ride up Clingman's/Mitchell via the parkway, so I'd lean towards the road bike unless the mountain bike trails are awesome. I could probably bring both, I guess. How about trail runs? I love loops - any good runs near town in the 5-10 mile range?


Pisgah has arguably the best mountain biking in the country. Stop by Looking Glass outfitters and Sycammore Cycles (they are right next to each other) in Brevard and get the 411 from the locals


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By BurtMachlan
Jun 2, 2012

rock_fencer wrote:
Pisgah has arguably the best mountain biking in the country. Stop by Looking Glass outfitters and Sycammore Cycles (they are right next to each other) in Brevard and get the 411 from the locals


Bahahaha. I am sure the Pisgah has good biking but best in the country??? Give me a break, I take it you havent ridden out west much.....

Im sure the trails are nice and well designed but there are also well designed trails out west. Plus the scenary, weather, dirt, elevation and pretty much everything else you can think of is better than NC. Sorry but you guys just cant compete with places like Whistler, Moab, Fruita, Crested Butte etc.


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By nbrown
From western NC
Jun 2, 2012
Top of Shortoff with the Bonsai

Someone mentioned Rumbling Bald. The Cereal buttress is great if you like single pitch crack climbs, but you might wanna wait and go in the late afternoon/evening for shade and cooler temps (gets am sun). And there is even a cave next to Shreaded Wheat that blows out cold air to boot.

Personally I'm not a huge fan of the mtn biking here in the area. They tend to be more of the cross country type and generally no too technical, but can be quite henious in the elevation gain sense. Also, much of pisgah requires at least short sections of "Hike-a-bike", due to steps, water bars, or whatever, and that gets old. Bent Creek and Dupont are the easiest options for MTB and generally don't require that. Bent Creek is on the SW end of town, and Dupont is SW of Brevard (probably 1 hour from Asheville).

It seems that Asheville is a great town for trail runners. There are tons of trails near town, and one running right through it (the Mountains To Sea Trail), which can be accessed by any number of roads/streets. It's generally well groomed since a lot of people use this section of the trail for running and hiking (there is no biking, or equestrian usage).

Enjoy your trip, if the weather is nice it is an awesome place.


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By boo
Jun 3, 2012

nbrown, not to drift, but are they still allowing mountain biking on the southside of Linville? I always liked that stuff.

And I don't want to hear any griping about elevation gain on a bike....c(;{


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By T.C.
From Whittier, NC
Jun 4, 2012

BurtMachlan wrote:
Sorry but you guys just cant compete with places like Whistler, Moab, Fruita, Crested Butte etc.



Good advice from Burt, who has never been here before. Things are very different in NC, where world class hiking, climbing, and kayaking is very much under the radar, because we keep it that way.


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By BurtMachlan
Jun 4, 2012

T.C. wrote:
Good advice from Burt, who has never been here before. Things are very different in NC, where world class hiking, climbing, and kayaking is very much under the radar, because we keep it that way.


I have ridden quite a bit in NC, have you been to all the other places I listed?

You guys have good trails but so do places out west. Not to mention the weather is usually better, the terrain is better, more elevation gain to be had, scenery is better and on and on....

Obviously trail design is one of the most important factors but people have been laying out good trails out west too. Plus they have everything else NC doesnt. Dont get your feelings hurt okay..

And I doubt its because people in NC keep it under the radar, hell there have been at least two of you in here spraying how the riding there is the best in the country....


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By rock_fencer
From Columbia, SC
Jun 4, 2012
Myself placing a a blue/yellow offset MC to protect between Bolt 2/3 just post crux . <br /> <br />Picture credit goes to eric Singleton, and many thanks to Josh Bagget for the great belay.

BurtMachlan wrote:
Bahahaha. I am sure the Pisgah has good biking but best in the country??? Give me a break, I take it you havent ridden out west much..... Im sure the trails are nice and well designed but there are also well designed trails out west. Plus the scenary, weather, dirt, elevation and pretty much everything else you can think of is better than NC. Sorry but you guys just cant compete with places like Whistler, Moab, Fruita, Crested Butte etc.



i actually dont mtn bike enough to be a judge, just relaying what i've heard from friends who have ridden around the country. Either way if he's already heading down might as well get some beta from the locals at the shops. Everyone thinks their area is prime after all right!


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By BurtMachlan
Jun 4, 2012

rock_fencer wrote:
just relaying what i've heard from friends who have ridden around the country. Everyone thinks their area is prime after all right!


Exactly, every local thinks their area is the best. Fortunately I am not a local in any of those places so am an unbiased judge! And NC is some great riding but cant touch many of the places out west.


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By T.C.
From Whittier, NC
Jun 4, 2012

BurtMachlan wrote:
Exactly, every local thinks their area is the best. Fortunately I am not a local in any of those places so am an unbiased judge! And NC is some great riding but cant touch many of the places out west.



In your opinion. Which I'm sure you think is second only to God's. Get off your high horse, and add something constructive. The OP is coming here, not to Moab. Why would you flame NC when that is not the objective? If you have ridden here as you claim, then post some feedback about a specific trail? Recommendations for visits near AVL?

Personally, I'd go to DuPont first, you will meet some other cyclists that can direct you to some other great spots, and you will get to see some amazing waterfalls in the process. Plenty of pools to swim in if you get hot.

TC


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By csproul
From Rancho Cordova, CA
Jun 4, 2012
Summit of Wolf's Head with Pingora in the background

BurtMachlan wrote:
Exactly, every local thinks their area is the best. Fortunately I am not a local in any of those places so am an unbiased judge! And NC is some great riding but cant touch many of the places out west.

Well, I have ridden quite a bit in most of the places you mentioned, I grew up in CO and CA and spent several decades riding in most of the western states...and I can tell you that Asheville does compete. But they're like comparing apples to oranges. The riding is completely different, yet incredible at each place. And I've had many a friend from CO and CA come visit and ride and say the same thing.


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By jarthur
From Westminster, CO
Jun 4, 2012
My dogs got ups yo!

BurtMachlan wrote:
Bahahaha. I am sure the Pisgah has good biking but best in the country??? Give me a break, I take it you havent ridden out west much..... Im sure the trails are nice and well designed but there are also well designed trails out west. Plus the scenary, weather, dirt, elevation and pretty much everything else you can think of is better than NC. Sorry but you guys just cant compete with places like Whistler, Moab, Fruita, Crested Butte etc.


Evidently you've never mountain biked Tsali in Western, NC. And before you start spraying I have ridden everyone of those areas with the exception of Whistler. I would beg to differ that anyone of those areas are any better than the next. They are all pretty damn amazing.


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By csproul
From Rancho Cordova, CA
Jun 4, 2012
Summit of Wolf's Head with Pingora in the background

jarthur wrote:
Evidently you've never mountain biked Tsali in Western, NC. And before you start spraying I have ridden everyone of those areas with the exception of Whistler. I would beg to differ that anyone of those areas are any better than the next. They are all pretty damn amazing.

And the Tsali trails are some of the worst trails in the area IMO.


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By David Brooke
Jun 11, 2012

csproul wrote:
Well, I have ridden quite a bit in most of the places you mentioned, I grew up in CO and CA and spent several decades riding in most of the western states...and I can tell you that Asheville does compete. But they're like comparing apples to oranges. The riding is completely different, yet incredible at each place. And I've had many a friend from CO and CA come visit and ride and say the same thing.


Well said. Similar experience and similar feelings.


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