While mountain bikers across the southeast have known for years that Pisgah National Forest offered some of the best mountain biking in the U.S., the word is quickly getting out to the rest of the world.
In a recent writeup on Singletracks.com, Brevard was named one of the Top 10 mountain biking destinations in the U.S.
“The only destination on this list that isn’t located west of the Mississippi River, I believe that Brevard, North Carolina is truly worthy of being included on the short list of the top 10 destinations MTB in North America. The Brevard area is best known for the daunting network of hundreds of miles of challenging trails in nearby Pisgah National Forest, including such popular rides as Black Mountainand Laurel Mountain. However, don’t discount the other nearby trail systems, either: Bent Creek is a great IMBA-style suburban trail system. Dupont State Forest, located on the opposite side of Brevard from Pisgah, offers up easier singletrack on average than Pisgah, while also boasting some of the best exposed granite riding on the East Coast.”
When asked about Brevard’s most recent accolades in the cycling world, Sycamore Cycles‘ owner Wes Dickson said it’s one of those things that most people in Transylvania County and western North Carolina have known for years. But getting national recognition is always an added bonus.
“I think people are finally figuring it out,” he said “The East Coast has pretty good riding up and down it, but we’re pretty blessed that we have so much in one spot. The community has really taken it on and embraced it. The efforts of the Tourism Development Authority and other organizations have really moved the mountain biking in our area to top-of-mind for a lot of people. When you come to town now people recognize it. They want a community that knows they are one of the best.
“I’ve been to good riding locations across the country, but a lot of times it’s a little more down-played,” he said. “Here, the community recognizes that it’s one of our greatest assets and one of our strongest identities.”
Sam Salman, owner of The Hub and Backcountry Outdoors, a Brevard-based bike retailer and outdoor shop, agreed that the recognition is well-deserved.
“I grew up on the East Coast and have ridden just about everywhere there is to ride around here,” he said. “There are definitely some trail systems that have amazing trails, but I think Brevard has probably the greatest diversity of trails in the whole U.S.
“We have DuPont and Bent Creek that have purpose-built, flowy, amazing single-track and doubletrack and we have Pisgah, which was never meant to be ridden on by bikes,” he said. “But we’ve been graciously allowed to ride on these 100-year-old logging and hiking trails that tend to satisfy anyone’s desire for super-gnarly riding. There are incredible, long burly climbs, beautiful ridge lines and pretty amazing technical trails.”
Salman said the test in the future is going to be maintaing the trails — as well as good relations with the U.S. Forest Service — in order to continue to keep up the trails people have come to love.
“We just have to continue to promote and maintain these trails so they don’t fall apart on us,” he said.
“Making sure we are good stewards of our resources is really important,” Dickson said. “But right now we’ve got a lot of great people on the ground working on the trails on a regular basis, so we’re on the right track with that.”
In the future, Dickson said he believes mountain biking in Transylvania County and WNC continue to gain in popularity.
“We just have to keep working to keep it going,” he said. “Mountain biking is not going anywhere anytime soon, that’s for sure. But with how close we are to a lot of major metropolitan areas, mixed with our year-round riding season, I believe more and more people will keep coming to area. I think we’re definitely on the right track.”
Salman said the diversity of Transylvania County’s terrain makes it certain to be a top destination for years to come, especially as the word spreads about how many miles of trails there are in the area.
“It’s not just one or two trails,” he said. “We have hundreds and hundreds of miles of great trails and you can ride a great variety all in the same day. It’s a unique spot.”
For more on Singletracks’ writeup, and to check out nine more great mountain biking destinations, visit: http://www.singletracks.com/blog/mtb-trails/the-top-10-mountain-bike-destinations-in-north-america/