Mountain Biking in the High Country

There is an abundance of mountain biking in the High Country. Mountain biking is a very popular activity and there are many local bike shops in the area. Each year the High Country plays host to several bike races and biking events that are becoming popular among mountain bikers everywhere.

There are several trails to ride in the Boone, Blowing Rock and Banner Elk areas. The Benson Hollow Trail, located in Blowing Rock, is considered the 2nd “Best Mountain Biking Trail in North Carolina”. Other trails like 18-mile ride and Buckeye Trail are very close to Boone and Blowing Rock and also top the list.

There are also a few places on Beech Mountain near the ski resort and in the summer, Sugar Mountain Resort provides a lift service to mountain bikers. You can bring your bike and ride the lift up, and practice your downhill skills.

Mountain biking enthusiasts everywhere will tell you that the best mountain biking in North Carolina is in Western North Carolina, near the Pisgah, Tsali and Dupont state forests. These areas are very close to the Asheville and Brevard areas, just a short trip away from the High Country.

If you are up for a challenge or two, then check out some of the bike races and events that happen each year in the High Country area. A popular one that usually draws large crowds and racers is the Blood, Sweat and Gears Challenge. This event and race is especially grueling on riders, considering just one part of the route includes a 21 mile portion of the Blue Ridge Parkway, a climb over a 4,500 gap on Snake Mountain, and another 10 miles of “flat” areas near Deep Gap. The race is a century race, basically a 100 mile loop that begins and ends in Valle Crucis, North Carolina.

Another fun race takes place in Wilkesboro, the BURN 24 Challenge, and usually has many participants. The Showdown at Sugar Mountain is a NORBA National Championship Event that showcases both professionals and also has some amateur events. This event is usually very big with participants coming from all 50 states, and usually takes place sometime in May.

Whether you are mountain biking or biking on the road, you will love the experience of being able to bike in one of the most beautiful places on Earth.

The Blue Ridge Parkway offers bicyclists 470 miles of picturesque travel across Virginia and North Carolina. Elevations vary from 600 to 6,000 feet, and the road encompasses a variety of ever-changing weather conditions, regardless of season.

The Parkway was designed as a scenic leisure road for motorists, and therefore bicyclists should be prepared for significant distances between developed areas and services that vary by season.

Bicycling Regulations

  • Bicycle riders must comply with all applicable state and federal motor vehicle regulations.
  • Bicycles may be ridden only on paved road surfaces and parking areas. Bicycles, including mountain bikes, may not be ridden on trails or walkways.
  • The bicycle operator must exhibit a white light or reflector visible at least 500 feet to the front and a red light or reflector visible at least 200 feet to the rear during periods of low visibility, between the hours of sunset and sunrise, or while traveling through a tunnel.
  • Bicycles must be ridden single file except when passing or turning left and well to the right-hand side of the road.
  • Bicycle speed must be reasonable for control with regard to traffic, weather, road and light conditions.

We Also Suggest

  • Wear a bicycle helmet.
  • Be sure your bicycle is in good operating condition. Carry a spare tube and tools for minor repairs.
  • Wear high visibility clothing. It sets you apart from the scenery and makes you more visible to motorists.
  • Avoid the Parkway during periods of low visibility. Fog and rain may occur unpredictably.
  • Exercise caution when riding through tunnels. Please be sure your bicycle is equipped with the proper lights or reflectors. There are 26 tunnels in North Carolina and 1 tunnel in Virginia.
  • Temperatures vary greatly along the Parkway due to different elevations. Wear your clothing in layers.
  • Drinking water is available at all picnic areas, campgrounds, and visitor centers.
  • Make an honest evaluation of your abilities before beginning a bicycle trip on the Parkway. In some sections, you will climb as much as 1,100 feet in 3.4 miles.
  • When cycling in a group, adjust your spacing to allow motor vehicles to pass safely.