Terrific Asheville Mountain Biking Trails For Average Riders

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Looking to soar through the mountains? Check out our top picks for the best Asheville mountain biking trails, complete with stunning views and varying levels of difficulty. Bike like a local.

Asheville Mountain Biking Trails Point Lookout with bike

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Trails In Asheville

Enjoy both road and mountain biking trails under 10 minutes from Downtown Asheville. Many are perfect for skating, strolling, and hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Afterward, see what other activities you can do around Asheville.

Bent Creek Experimental Forest

  • Trails: Varying lengths & difficulties
  • Safety: Muddy, rocky, steep ascents and descents, switchbacks, family-friendly areas, Lake Powhatan with campground
  • Address: Hard Times Trailhead – 375 Wesley Branch Rd, Asheville, NC 28806
  • More Info: USDA Forest Service Guide & we use this MTB WNC Guide

Located in South Asheville near The NC Arboretum and one Blue Ridge Parkway entrance, Bent Creek Experimental Forest is a massive recreational area filled with camping grounds and endless trails, growing much busier on weekends. Even enjoy one of Asheville’s gorgeous lakes, Lake Powhatan.

As novice to intermediate bikers, we find The Hardtimes Connector and Deer Lake Lodge Trails easier. For a more challenging but beginner-friendly ride, the 3-mile Explorer Trail offers a loop with a connector back to the road if you tire. The Ledford Trail and Wolf Branch Trail are more moderate.

Local families teach their littles how to mountain bike around the Deerfield Loop Trail and the bikable parts of the Homestead Trail, both short and easy trails perfect for younger children.

The North Carolina Arboretum

  • Trails: Varying lengths & difficulties
  • Safety: Muddy, rocky, gravel, family-friendly areas
  • Address: 100 Frederick Law Olmsted Way, Asheville, NC 28806
  • More Info: The North Carolina Arboretum website and trail map
  • Pay to park or annual membership

For easier and family-friendly Asheville mountain biking trails, The NC Arboretum boasts 65 acres of cultivated gardens and grounds. We’ve been Arboretum members for years.

For beginner bike trails, start with Bent Creek Road and its branches, including Wolf Branch Road and Old Mill Trail. Part of the Arboretum’s Hard Times Trail connects to the Bent Creek Experimental Forest. It’s a beautiful, low-key area. Pack a picnic.

Carrier Park & French Broad River Greenway (Plus RAD Riverwalk)

  • Trails: Varying lengths & difficulties
  • Safety: Family-friendly areas, packed dirt, mud, concrete, and asphalt, car traffic, ascents and descents, French Broad River, facilities at parks
  • Addresses: Carrier Park – 220 Amboy Rd, Asheville, NC 28806; French Broad River Park – 508 Riverview Dr, Asheville, NC 28806

For walking, roller skating, cycling, and mountain biking trails in Asheville, head to the French Broad River Greenway, which connects Carrier and French Broad River Parks. Enjoy a newer addition to New Belgium Brewing for a beer and food truck break too.

Carrier Park is especially nice for families with young kids and has everything, including a playground, volleyball and basketball courts, and lawn bowling. For biking, follow the park’s paved walkways in a 3.1-mile loop. Or, hop on the outer trail, connecting to the Greenway and RAD Riverwalk.

Even cooler, Carrier Park boasts a velodrome with a slight incline and a 0.3-mile track perfect for running and biking laps. The “Mellowdrome” used to be an ex-NASCAR short track.

RAD Riverwalk: Enjoy a scenic 10-foot wide and 2-mile greenway with designated/separate bike lanes as well as a paved trail that follows along the French Broad River and warehouse area. Park along Riverside Drive or Lyman Street, spy street art, and connect into French Broad River and Carrier Parks. This is another terrific roller skating spot.

Biltmore Estate

One of the reasons we are Biltmore annual passholders includes access to the estate’s gorgeous 22 miles of trails. These are the most convenient and closest bike trails in Asheville, great for solo bikers or after work.

Rent bikes on the estate at the Bike Barn or bring your own. Our favorites include combining the Deer Park and the Lagoon Trails to access the Walled Gardens (we love those famous Biltmore Blooms). Both provide different vantage points of Biltmore House. Others prefer the longer Farm Trail.

More Ways To Enjoy Biltmore: Since we visit the estate multiple times a month, we have plenty of Biltmore guides, including top Estate things to do and exploring the property with young kids. After a bike ride or hike, we also enjoy Biltmore’s casual dining spots like The Creamery, Wine Bar, and Cedric’s Tavern.

If you are interested in guided tours and e-biking around Downtown Asheville, this 3-hour ride sells out frequently.

Rails To Trails Pathways

For safer and easier routes, these are our favorite rails-to-trails pathways that we regularly mountain bike, especially to get in shape and warm up for more difficult terrain.

Thermal Belt Rail Trail

  • Trail: 27 miles, round trip out and back
  • Safety: Family-friendly, asphalt, flat, car and train crossings, tool and water stations, workout pavilions, restrooms, educational boards, and bike rentals
  • Location: Rutherfordton, Spindale, and Forest City, NC
  • More Info: Website dedicated to the trail
  • Distance from Asheville: 1+ hours

One of the best Asheville mountain biking trails for length and a glimpse into NC living, head anywhere between Rutherfordton and Forest City to pick up the gorgeous and well-maintained Thermal Belt Rail Trail. Bike past industries, cemeteries, churches, trains, and homes, including charming WNC mountain cities and towns. Most of these areas have bike racks for food and drink stops in town.

Brevard Bike Path

  • Trail: 10 miles, round trip
  • Safety: Family-friendly, asphalt and packed dirt, muddy/slippery in the forest, car traffic, facilities at the park
  • Location: Brevard Sports Complex (free & middle of trail) – 324 Ecusta Rd, Brevard, NC 28712
  • More Info: TrailLink Brevard Bike Path guide; part of the proposed Ecusta Trail
  • Distance from Asheville: 50 minutes

Imagine mountain biking in the Pisgah National Forest and stopping at delicious craft breweries with food like Ecusta and Oskar Blues. Perfect for older riders, the Brevard Bike Path has both flat, paved sections as well as more challenging, in-the-mountains portions.

We prefer to start at the Brevard Sports Complex, home to baseball fields, a dog park, restrooms, playgrounds, a skatepark, and paved trails. From here, head either north toward the Pisgah National Forest – passing an intersection for the Art Loeb Trail – or south through parts of the City of Brevard. The city sections are highly trafficked and not always the most scenic or peaceful.

Swamp Rabbit Trail

  • Trail: Easy to moderate, 28+ miles, round trip out and back
  • Safety: Crosses roads/railroad tracks, ample signage, flat/small inclines, paved concrete and asphalt, stops, facilities
  • Address: Greenville & Traveler’s Rest, SC with parking along the trail and at public parks
  • Distance From Asheville: 1 hour to 1 hour and 20 minutes
  • Our guide to the best stops and an interactive trail map

If you have time, take a road trip or even consider a Greenville overnight. The Swamp Rabbit Trail is by far one of our favorite bike trails near Asheville. Along with sculptures, a plane replica, and plenty of public parks, stop in Traveler’s Rest for food and drinks. Pass iconic Falls Park on the Reedy and even glide by the Greenville Zoo. The Swamp Rabbit Cafe & Grocery is a must for lunch. Because the trail is an out-and-back, pick a portion and enjoy!

Challenging Trails Under 1 Hour Away

For outdoor enthusiasts looking to take on the Western North Carolina mountains, these harder mountain biking trails are for you. We’ve hiked and biked portions of each, but parts of a few are past our skill level (like Kitsuma).

Point Lookout & Kitsuma

While we’ve talked to adventurous Kitsuma trailblazers, we’ve only tackled the Point Lookout portion (combined, the two are a loop). As a singletrack out-and-back, 7-mile Point Lookout promises a wickedly tough ascent and wildly fun descent with its gorgeous, titular vista. I wanted to vomit going up; that incline was not for me.

Kitsuma is one of the most challenging Asheville mountain trails with a 12-mile switchback climb and extremely technical descents.

Fonta Flora Trail: We just love the Old Fort area for history, food, and drink. Along Point Lookout, find yourself on the Fonta Flora Trail, a growing pathway connecting Buncombe, McDowell, and Burke Counties. It’s another great biking trail.

Old Fort Gateway Trails

Much newer, the Old Fort Gateway Trails are perfect for mountain bikers seeking varying difficulty levels, including the best intermediate trails around. I won’t lie, though; Tom and I tackled the easiest “beginner” trail, and it was still challenging with those sharp and scary switchbacks. The trails are well-maintained and fast. Find on-site facilities.

Daniel Ridge Loop & Falls

Forested Daniel Ridge Loop TrailPin

If you enjoy the Pisgah National Forest and Brevard, head to Daniel Ridge Falls & Loop, a challenging 4-mile hiking and biking trail that passes a cascading waterfall. Expect roots and rocks with sharp descents. Most attempt the trial counter-clockwise. Skilled riders also mountain bike the area’s Cove Creek Trail and Cove-Daniel Loop.

DuPont State Forest

Christine in front of Bridal Veil Falls DuPontPin

If you love waterfall chasing, DuPont State Forest promises both terrific hiking and mountain biking trails near Asheville and Hendersonville. Bridal Veil Falls is an easy 4.2-mile, flat gravel trail ride to one filming location for The Last of the Mohicans. Many skilled bikers enjoy Ridgeline Loop, Turkey Knob Road Trail, and Wintergreen Falls Trail. The MTB WNC has a well-labeled map of the DuPont Forest biking trails.

More Trails To Explore

For even more great Asheville mountain biking trails that our readers love, try:

We’d also love to know your favorites in the comments.

Where To Get A Quality Mountain Bike

Asheville Bicycle Company with mountain bikes on floor, racks, and hanging from ceiling with turquoise-mint mountain bike up frontPin
My new Kona

Our casual bikes quickly required upgrades for the tougher Blue Ridge Mountains. Asheville Bicycle Company sells a variety of road and mountain bikes based on budget, skill, and features, including popular brands like Kona and Liv with prices ranging from $500 to over $10,000. Find road biking, mountain biking, and skiing apparel and gear. They also service and repair bikes.

Christine and Tom selfiePin

Christine Frascarelli

Christine (pronouns: she/her) is the owner and lead writer of Uncorked Asheville. After falling in love with those gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountains, Christine and her husband Tom decided to call Asheville, North Carolina home. When her pointy Italian nose isn’t stuck in a book, Christine is adopting all of the kitties, getting lost in the forest, and drinking an ESB. She has a BA in English and History from Smith College, her MLIS from USF-Tampa, and is a former U.S. Fulbright Scholar - Indonesia. Christine also owns The Uncorked Librarian LLC with books and movies to inspire travel.


    1. Hi Phil, We aren’t road bikers, but you might want to look into road biking along the French Broad River Greenway, the Blue Ridge Parkway (you’ll see bikers here all of the time), and Riverside Drive (they just paved a new bike lane that’s really nice). I’ve also heard Elk Mountain Scenic Highway is good, but I cannot personally speak to that one. I hope that helps get you started.

  1. Thank you so much for this info. Hubby and I are ready to move south and Ashville is high on our list. I was so happy to see your section on easy bike trails. He cannot walk further than 5 minutes, so the hiking trails are out for us. We are seniors with mobility challenges. We do have recumbent bikes and love our time on the (handicap accessible) pathways. AVL seems to offer several selections.
    We look forward to exploring and discovering the charms of Ashville.

    1. Thanks, Susan! My husband and I are definitely not skilled mountain bikers, but we do enjoy getting out on the trails. I think you guys might enjoy Biltmore’s trails for accessibility, but you would need to be passholders/or have tickets to access the grounds; the trail that leaves from Antler Hill Village’s parking lot to the Lagoon is wider and pretty. We are hoping to seek out more Rails to Trails that are a tad farther away soon. We just found a trail in Lincolnton, NC. The new AVL Riverwalk in the River Arts District area is gorgeous & well done, too.

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