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  1. #1
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    Downhill/Flow trails in Pisgah?

    Hi, I'm taking a vacation with my family to Asheville NC for a week at the end of May '17. Could someone please help me find some good shuttled flow trails? I'm from Memphis TN, and all we have here is flat, XC type trails and I'm wanting to ride without earning my turns lol. Of course I want to ride a diverse mix of trails as well, but I have no flow/shuttled trails anywhere near me and this a chance to try something new.
    Thanks!!!!

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    Pisgah sux... nothing but horses and Floridians.

    You need to go to Bentonville, AR. Thats the place to be...

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    Well was gonna go to Bentonville, AR but we couldn't find any cabins that we were happy with. It was all townhouses and stuff.
    Besides, we've already booked an awesome cabin in Asheville. As much as I've heard about Pisgah, and the fact that it's rated as the #5 best trails in the U.S., there must be some cool trails there.

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    Pisgah is not where you go to find flow trails. Did you do your research on the trails there before deciding to go? It is also not the best place to find downhill shuttles, either. Not saying you can't find any, but every time I've been, seeking any downhill has required pedaling up. one word has always defined Pisgah to me, and that's "rugged".

    DuPont has some ripping flow, but you also have to pedal up.

    A guy I know has been pretty involved in the downhill stuff in Boone, and you'll be able to find flow and shuttles there. I'm not sure what part of Pisgah you're visiting, so not sure how close to Boone you'll be.

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    The reason Pisgah is a huge mountain bike destination is for reasons that are kind of the opposite of what you say you're looking for... There are some trails that can be shuttled if you have a driver, but for the most part it is remote... the opposite of flow... and you have to earn damn near everything.

    If you want some smoother flow trails check out Bent Creek and Dupont. Both have fun riding. You're still gonna have to pedal though.

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    Only thing that even remotely comes close in pisgah is Kitsuma. You can sort of shuttle it and it is flowy from what I've heard. You do have to climb a bit from the drop off. Note that this isn't brevard pisgah. Its about a 20 minute drive from Asheville.

    Another option is to drive an hour-ish north to Bailey Mtn Bike Park. You'll pay $30 but they will shuttle you there. Some good steep flowy trails there and some more technical as well.

    Beech DH park usually doesn't open until sometime in June, but they may open earlier (doubt it).

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    Dont forget Windrock... They have on site shuttle wagons. Its 2 hours from Asheville though.

    If you're looking for the classic definition of "flow" for mountain biking... like nearly every video on PB of some dude on a DH bike riding a featureless dirt sidewalk 20ft wide...Pisgah is not the place. Pisgah is gnarly and technical... old school trail. Dupont has some flow but even there its alot of up-down-up-down and you're pedaling alot.

    Shuttling is out of the question for 99% of the trails here. You can do it but be prepared for an hour+ car ride for only about 30min of descending at most.... then you gotta ride another hour back to the car. 2 hours of driving for 30 minutes of descending. Most of the classic descents (Black Mtn. Farlow, Pilot, etc.) arent accessible by car anyway. Even to "shuttle" those trails you gotta pedal at least a few miles to get there.

    Pisgah is what mountain biking ought to be... hard, steep, technical, remote, fast, slow, walking, hiking, crying, smiling, beer.

    I would aim for Bailey or Windrock if DH shuttling is what you want. Bailey for flow...

    Unless you're cool with 20 mile days and 3000' of climbing per ride Pisgah might not be the place for you. its fun but you're definitely earning your turns

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    WR really has only one trail that can even be considered a flow trail. The rest is worse than most if not all of pisgah in terms of steep, technical terrain. So I wouldn't recommend it based on what he is looking for.
    Bailey really is the best option. They rent bikes as well, but if you stick to the flowy stuff you won't need one.

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    Not Pisgah, but Dupont. The closest thing I could think of would be shuttle to the top of Rocky Ridge, then ride back on RR and take Rifle/Boundary/Hickory to Ridgeline and get picked up at Lake Imaging. Only uphill would be the small hill up Rifle. Not a very long ride in total, but you could repeat.

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    Bailey Mtn Bike Park should tick all your boxes.

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    Thanks for information guys, really really helpful. My #1 priority is family vacation, so we were looking for a nice cabin and was hoping for good mountain biking. Flow trails aren't a necessity, it's just that I wanted to take the opportunity to ride something completely different from what I'm used to whilst away from home. Sounds like I'll still have a blast riding the rugged, technical trails of Pisgah. I'm about to research Bailey Mtn Bike Park now. Again, thanks for all the info, that's exactly the kind of stuff I was hoping to learn.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Banjopickin View Post

    Pisgah is what mountain biking ought to be... hard, steep, technical, remote, fast, slow, walking, hiking, crying, smiling, beer.
    This deserves being quoted again for relevance.

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    Quote Originally Posted by profro View Post
    This deserves being quoted again for relevance.
    I rode Pisgah last spring for the first time and couldn't agree more. I got my ass handed to me, had a good time though. Looking forward to going back.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Banjopickin View Post
    Pisgah is what mountain biking ought to be... hard, steep, technical, remote, fast, slow, walking, hiking, crying, smiling, beer.
    Well, I've ticked off all but crying. Then again, I haven't done all the trails there yet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HPIguy View Post
    Well, I've ticked off all but crying. Then again, I haven't done all the trails there yet.
    I wonder if it counts if you made someone else cry by taking them to Pisgah. If so, then I have them all.

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    I like how this thread went from "what are some fun flow trails?" to "most people that ride there end up crying" haha

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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    I wonder if it counts if you made someone else cry by taking them to Pisgah. If so, then I have them all.

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    LMAO! I'm sure some of my *****ing about climbing gravel roads when I was first introduced to Pisgah has been interpreted as crying.

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    I love taking first timers out in Pisgah. Its awesome to see the range of human emotion that comes out on a 20-30 mile Pisgah ride.

    The best part is when its all over and they're like "that was the hardest thing I have ever done... when can we do it again?" haha

    Or they sell their bike and take up golf...

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    I can't wait!!!

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by HPIguy View Post
    LMAO! I'm sure some of my *****ing about climbing gravel roads when I was first introduced to Pisgah has been interpreted as crying.
    I took my wife for her first Pisgah ride a couple years ago. We climbed up Buckthorn to Black, over to Rich Mtn and down Avery Creek. We stopped to have beer at the top of Rich Mtn and before our big descent, and the first mile of Avery Creek (coupled with the beer) made my wife cry.

    She won't drink beer on a ride anymore, but she harbors no ill will to the trails in Pisgah. In fact, she wants a rowdier FS bike!

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    I took my wife for her first Pisgah ride a couple years ago. We climbed up Buckthorn to Black, over to Rich Mtn and down Avery Creek. We stopped to have beer at the top of Rich Mtn and before our big descent, and the first mile of Avery Creek (coupled with the beer) made my wife cry.

    She won't drink beer on a ride anymore, but she harbors no ill will to the trails in Pisgah. In fact, she wants a rowdier FS bike!
    Ha ha, you're a lucky man Harold.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    I took my wife for her first Pisgah ride a couple years ago. We climbed up Buckthorn to Black, over to Rich Mtn and down Avery Creek. We stopped to have beer at the top of Rich Mtn and before our big descent, and the first mile of Avery Creek (coupled with the beer) made my wife cry.

    She won't drink beer on a ride anymore, but she harbors no ill will to the trails in Pisgah. In fact, she wants a rowdier FS bike!
    Man, any women that can drink a beer and attempt to ride down Avery should be cloned for all men to enjoy...
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    North Mills...some of the best downhills in pisgah proper...but still have to ride up gravel road and some short steep connector trail before you can hit the downhills.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HPIguy View Post
    Ha ha, you're a lucky man Harold.
    Quote Originally Posted by Vespasianus View Post
    Man, any women that can drink a beer and attempt to ride down Avery should be cloned for all men to enjoy...
    She did it on an xc bike, too. She's pretty badass. We went to Sedona last month to ride, too.

    But more importantly than the riding, she puts up with my crap, and dishes it back, too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RDO View Post
    Not Pisgah, but Dupont. The closest thing I could think of would be shuttle to the top of Rocky Ridge, then ride back on RR and take Rifle/Boundary/Hickory to Ridgeline and get picked up at Lake Imaging.
    This is the shuttle/flow combo that you are looking for. This is great for the whole family. Finish off with taking the family to the Hooker/Triple Falls parking lot and hiking/swimming the waterfalls.

    Another easy shuttle option would be to shuttle up 477 to the top of Bennett (in Pisgah). GREAT trail, definitely not flow.... definitely not for the whole family

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    Quote Originally Posted by mkirby258 View Post
    This is the shuttle/flow combo that you are looking for. This is great for the whole family.
    I've only ridden Rocky Ridge once, but I recall it being fairly steep and a few of the berms dropping off a bit if you went over the top. I'm not sure I'd want to take younger kids there or people without much riding experience. It'd be better to pedal to Ridgeline.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adodero View Post
    I've only ridden Rocky Ridge once, but I recall it being fairly steep and a few of the berms dropping off a bit if you went over the top. I'm not sure I'd want to take younger kids there or people without much riding experience. It'd be better to pedal to Ridgeline.
    Was that the old Rocky Ridge or the reworked one (less than a year old)? Because I don't consider the reworked one much more "technical" than Ridgeline. Both trails are capable of causing injuries with out of control speed. Once at the bottom of Ridgeline we came upon a summer camp group where a number of kids had crashed into trees and sustained bloody injuries. Not happy campers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RDO View Post
    Was that the old Rocky Ridge or the reworked one (less than a year old)? Because I don't consider the reworked one much more "technical" than Ridgeline. Both trails are capable of causing injuries with out of control speed. Once at the bottom of Ridgeline we came upon a summer camp group where a number of kids had crashed into trees and sustained bloody injuries. Not happy campers.
    It was the newer one.

    Not technical at all, it was smooth the entire way down, just steeper in sections than Ridgeline. I think Ridgeline has more sections that naturally help you control your speed, where RR is a bit steeper throughout.

    I was with a new-ish rider at the time I rode it and he was having some trouble with a few of the steeper corners. Not so much that he was going to crash or out of control, just harder for him to keep flow going because it required more braking effort.

    It's not that difficult, definitely not enough to earn the black diamond rating on TrailForks, but it is steeper relative to Ridgeline and it's not something I'd want to take someone on that wasn't confident in their braking and cornering technique.

    There were also a few spots like I mentioned before that seemed a bit more high consequence if you picked up some speed and screwed up. I remember a few of the berms seemed to drop off a fair ways on the other side.

    In all, not terribly difficult, but less forgiving than Ridgeline and not something I'd want to take someone that didn't have some riding experience down.

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    Really great information guys, thanks! My family doesn't mtb, just me. While I admit I'm not an expert on downhill, I think I'll be ok. I'll try not to ride over my skill level, but I do want to get out my comfort zone a bit. And if I have to pedal for an hour or so to get to the top that's fine.

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    One more question. I was thinking of renting a bike with a bit more travel(again to try something a bit different), but after checking out all the bike shop's websites, I couldn't find anything I was interested in. I found a shop that sold Yeti(I'd LOVE to rent an SB4.5c or maybe an SB5c!), but it looks like most of the shops only rent out pretty lame bikes. I've got a Santa Cruz Tallboy 2 cc with a 120mm '17 Fox 34. It doesn't look like anyone offers any rentals that would be much of an improvement.
    I've checked into the Bailey mtb park and they rent downhill bikes there. They rent the Norco Aurum 7.2

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    Why on earth do you expect to rent anything better quality than what you have already? That would be stupid from a rental provider's standpoint to buy, maintain, and rent a bunch of $10,000 bikes.

    You can definitely find something different than what you have, but stop your expectations before you get to "better" because you have an expensive bike already.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hollis Prince View Post
    One more question. I was thinking of renting a bike with a bit more travel(again to try something a bit different), but after checking out all the bike shop's websites, I couldn't find anything I was interested in. I found a shop that sold Yeti(I'd LOVE to rent an SB4.5c or maybe an SB5c!), but it looks like most of the shops only rent out pretty lame bikes. I've got a Santa Cruz Tallboy 2 cc with a 120mm '17 Fox 34. It doesn't look like anyone offers any rentals that would be much of an improvement.
    I've checked into the Bailey mtb park and they rent downhill bikes there. They rent the Norco Aurum 7.2
    The Hub rents mainly Santa Cruz stuff, which includes Bronson's and the like. Not bad bikes. Sycamore rents Yeti's and Specialized. My son rented a SB5 when were there.

    But what Harold says is 100% right.
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    Thanks guys, I worded that badly.
    I was just curious to ride a bike more travel if it's detrimental (can't pedal it up hills and such), and the bikes I did find to rent were really low end builds

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hollis Prince View Post
    Thanks guys, I worded that badly.
    I was just curious to ride a bike more travel if it's detrimental (can't pedal it up hills and such), and the bikes I did find to rent were really low end builds
    If you are riding the flowier trails in DuPont then I wouldn't worry about it, even with a 120mm you'll be fine most places in Pisgah depending on your skill level.

    I wouldn't describe any of the builds as "low end", more "middle range". The Hub's builds are all stock C S builds but they have carbon frames, pretty decent suspension components, brakes, and wheels. Sure they aren't the full end builds, but they aren't the bottom end either. Same with the Yeti's at Sycamore.

    You'll find a lot of people riding here getting away with a lot less. IMO the builds stocked by The Hub are at the point where the returns you see from the upper end builds start to become less noticeable.

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    I'm certainly no expert, but concerning bikes to enjoy Pisgah, note that in the stage race last week, Gordon Wadsworth finished up 9th overall in the endure stages on a hard tail (Pivot Les). Of course he's a badass, but still, I think that shows that it's pretty rideable on nearly any good bike.

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    Hey thanks! The Hub and Sycamore wasn't on my list of bike shops I was looking at. Both of these shops offer exactly what I was looking for! Yeti and Santa Cruz for rent. Most of the other shops I was looking at just had like road, hybrid, cruiser bikes, hard tails, etc. I found one shop that rented a aluminum Cannondale Habit, that was as good as it got.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hollis Prince View Post
    Hey thanks! The Hub and Sycamore wasn't on my list of bike shops I was looking at. Both of these shops offer exactly what I was looking for! Yeti and Santa Cruz for rent. Most of the other shops I was looking at just had like road, hybrid, cruiser bikes, hard tails, etc. I found one shop that rented a aluminum Cannondale Habit, that was as good as it got.
    The Hub and Sycamore are two bike shops YOU MUST visit at Pisgah. Grab a coffee at Sycamore in the morning before the ride and get beer at the Hub after the ride!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hollis Prince View Post
    Hey thanks! The Hub and Sycamore wasn't on my list of bike shops I was looking at. Both of these shops offer exactly what I was looking for! Yeti and Santa Cruz for rent. Most of the other shops I was looking at just had like road, hybrid, cruiser bikes, hard tails, etc. I found one shop that rented a aluminum Cannondale Habit, that was as good as it got.
    Lol. Where were you looking?

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    Downhill/Flow trails in Pisgah?

    Quote Originally Posted by notso View Post
    I'm certainly no expert, but concerning bikes to enjoy Pisgah, note that in the stage race last week, Gordon Wadsworth finished up 9th overall in the endure stages on a hard tail (Pivot Les). Of course he's a badass, but still, I think that shows that it's pretty rideable on nearly any good bike.
    We all used to ride the pisgah on hardtails. It's all we had.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hollis Prince View Post
    Hey thanks! The Hub and Sycamore wasn't on my list of bike shops I was looking at. Both of these shops offer exactly what I was looking for! Yeti and Santa Cruz for rent. Most of the other shops I was looking at just had like road, hybrid, cruiser bikes, hard tails, etc. I found one shop that rented a aluminum Cannondale Habit, that was as good as it got.
    There is also a newer shop in downtown Brevard in the Lumberyard District which has some nice rentals:

    Squatch Bike Rentals

    Looks like they have Intense, Rocky Mountain, and Kona's for rent.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mbmb65 View Post
    Lol. Where were you looking?
    Lol I looked on Google Maps at all the bike shops around the Asheville area, but apparently I didn't zoom out enough.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hollis Prince View Post
    Lol I looked on Google Maps at all the bike shops around the Asheville area, but apparently I didn't zoom out enough.
    The shops listed above are in brevard.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Buster View Post
    There is also a newer shop in downtown Brevard in the Lumberyard District which has some nice rentals:

    Squatch Bike Rentals

    Looks like they have Intense, Rocky Mountain, and Kona's for rent.
    Nice find. I missed that shop completely. Nice range of bikes, including Pivot as well.

    The Hub and Sycamore have location on their side - they are literally at the entrance of Pisgah.
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    Not exactly Pisgah and not exactly all downhill, but I rode Lake James State Park near Marion this past Sunday. That's about as flowy as it gets. 14 miles of trail. All machine made. No rocks or roots to speak of. Very big fun.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikeridesabike View Post
    Not exactly Pisgah and not exactly all downhill, but I rode Lake James State Park near Marion this past Sunday. That's about as flowy as it gets. 14 miles of trail. All machine made. No rocks or roots to speak of. Very big fun.
    Sounds worth checking out. Any recommendations for where to park and what trail(s)? I've never been there and never even heard of it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RDO View Post
    Sounds worth checking out. Any recommendations for where to park and what trail(s)? I've never been there and never even heard of it.
    Park at the Paddy Creek area. From there ride the intermediate trails. They are very well marked and one-directional. Map/sense of direction not required. Perfect place for a hardtail.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaXCarp View Post
    Park at the Paddy Creek area. From there ride the intermediate trails. They are very well marked and one-directional. Map/sense of direction not required. Perfect place for a hardtail.
    Sounds very un-pisgah like!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vespasianus View Post
    Sounds very un-pisgah like!
    Well it's definitely not Pisgah, but it is good fun. I find that the older I get, the more I enjoy smoother trails as opposed to worrying about whether I am going to break any bones on a downhill (I have done that before). I still enjoy the technical stuff, but I am not opposed to a day at FATS or Warrior Creek, where you can just let it hang out without worrying about anything.
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaXCarp View Post
    Park at the Paddy Creek area. From there ride the intermediate trails. They are very well marked and one-directional. Map/sense of direction not required. Perfect place for a hardtail.
    Thanks I think I will hit it next week with a hardtail.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vespasianus View Post
    Sounds very un-pisgah like!
    Sounds like a nice change, I'm in Pisgah a couple blocks from my house.

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    In the same vein as Lake James State Park, coming soon to Cherokee is a 10-12 mile propose built mtb trail system built by Trail Dynamics. It will be a stacked loop system. I, for one, am looking forward to checking it out.

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    I'm pretty excited about the Cherokee trails too. That will put me more or less equal distance from Tsali, Jack Rabbit, WCU, and Cherokee.

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    It does look like Beech Mtn will be opening earlier this year, on May 27th. So if you are in town that weekend you would have the ability to ride some lift accessed trails. Beech is about an hour 45 from asheville though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikeridesabike View Post
    Not exactly Pisgah and not exactly all downhill, but I rode Lake James State Park near Marion this past Sunday. That's about as flowy as it gets. 14 miles of trail. All machine made. No rocks or roots to speak of. Very big fun.
    Rode Lake James for the first time a couple of weekends ago. Was shocked at how un-Pisgah like it was. So smooth and flowy. No need to shuttle it though.

    As mentioned you can shuttle Ridgeline at Dupont very easily dropping at Guion Farm and pickup at Lake Imaging. Not a long run though. Could be cool to get picked up on the south west side at Corn Mills Shoals and do Cedar Rock and Burnt Mountain down there and the connector trails. Be aware there is a river crossing to do that.

    Kitsuma is also an easy shuttle but I don't think I consider it flow. But it is a great downhill that you only have to earn a part of with a challenging switchback climb. The road to pick you up does turn to gravel, but there is a cool geyser to see.

    If you want great flow drive a bit and hit Warriors Creek and OVT. IMO the best there is for flow that you need to earn.

    As mentioned, Bailey has great flow trails that you earn in the back in the shuttle.

    Let's see what Beech has done with their flow trail this year, while I love the place, I don't think it would be worth the haul for what was there last year if you want flow. But hopefully that has changed with the work they are doing.

    For a more manageable solo ride you could get to the top of Greenslick at Bent creek. But you have to earn all 1800 ft of it. Worth it to go back up Sidehill to Little Hickory and go back down what you climbed up. https://www.mtbproject.com/trail/340...field-gap-loop

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    Ok guys, due to the recommendations I received here I rode at Baileys Mountain Bike Park today and it was awesome! Shuttle runs about every 20 minutes or so up the mountain. I rented a bike from them: a pure DH bike- a Norco Aurum. 200mm front and rear. I've never ridden anything other than my Tallboy 2 cc and it was so f'n fun! I rode for about 4 hours and never touched the shifter once, lol. I don't even know what gear it was in. I might've pedaled once or twice.
    The trails there are outrageously steep. The runs were 10 to 20 minutes long depending on what trail was chosen. They have 9 trails, ranging from blue to black, all of which are pretty advanced to down right scary.
    I had such a great time today, thanks for your input and recommendations! I'll be riding my Tallboy 2 tomorrow, then I'm renting a Yeti sb4.5c Wednesday and Thursday to ride Dupont/Pisgah.

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    Glad you had a good time and thanks for supporting Bailey!

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    This thread has been a great read! I'm hitting up Bailey's on a trip with my dad (he's not riding) in October. So I'm looking for the best half-day ride before we leave NC on Sunday. I love flow, but also would like to check out a bit of the gnar in WNC.

    What would be the ultimate ~15-20 mile route if you can be dropped off at high elevation then picked up somewhere else?

    - I'm looking into modifying 'Best of Dupont' to start Fawn Lake, hit Rocky Ridge, then come down to Lake Imaging.
    - Also interested in Black Mountain, Green's Lick, and Kitsuma (is it possible to be dropped off at the top of Heartbreak Ridge?)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Horrorshow View Post
    (is it possible to be dropped off at the top of Heartbreak Ridge?)
    Thatd be the best ride of the ones mentioned, you could get dropped off on the parkway. That would be the only way to ride it in October because the access trail (old Mitchell toll rd) is closed for bear hunting Oct-Jan.

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    Great thread! I'm shooting to do something similar with the fam once leaves start turning colors and will definitely peal off to pedal a bit. Probably will do a shuttle day and then a bunch of traditional pedaling.

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    If you want classic East Coast back country Pisgah gnar stay away from Dupont. Dupont is fun but has very little tech or steep, rowdy sections.

    Heartbreak would be a great ride for what you're after but logistically it may be tough. You could shuttle if Curtis Creek Rd is open to the Blue Ridge Parkway, or just ride up the road (11 miles or so and 3k' of climbing) to make a loop. You could add Kitsuma to this ride fairly easily too.

    If you want to experience the "classic" Pisgah I would suggest riding either Black Mountain from top to bottom, or doing Black Mtn left toward the Avery Creek and Buckwheat Knob/Bennet Gap trails. This lands you arguably the best bang for you buck in terms of classic Pisgah tech since you have a lot of descending and options to ride different trails.

    I think If I only had one ride to do in Pisgah for the rest of my life I would do Black mtn. to Buckwheat Knob to Bennet Gap and then do the other side of Black Mountain (from Pressley Gap) to the Ranger station. Thats a solid half day's ride in the 20 mile range with plenty of bone-jarring tech..

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    Interesting, so hard to choose for just 1 ride. Down Buckwheat/Bennett up to Black then a loop around Sycamore Cove sounds like a good option. How does Bent Creek / Green's Lick compare?
    Last edited by Horrorshow; 09-08-2017 at 12:01 PM.

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    I've gone up Bennett once in 20 years of living here. There's a reason I haven't repeated it. One way or another, you want to hit it going down.

    All this stuff doesn't even remotely compare to BC/Green's Lick. That's a wide open screamer where the main thing slowing me down is brake chatter. Fun, but very very different. The Pisgah District or Heartbreak rides are (generally) tighter, with more natural features, more turning/bike handling required, and different erosion impacts creating challenges.

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    Green's Lick is good for being so close to town. It's a common misconception that it is super technical and gnarly. If you are looking for an all day ride I would stick to Pisgah Ranger District or Mills River. If you want to ride something that is fun and somewhat challenging in either direction I would ride a Squirrel Gap variation. If you want technical I would do Laurel/Pilot/Slate. If you want to ride closer to Brevard I would do Avery/Buckhorn,Black/Buckwheat/Bennet then a Black Mtn to Thrift Sycamore. If you want a mix of technical and flow you should give Farlow Gap and Daniel Ridge a spin. There are several Cove Creek/Daniel Ridge variations. It's not really fair to compare Bent Creek to Pisgah. Bent Creek would be good if you only have an hour or two to ride. Kitsuma and Bent Creek are kind of the same for me. Fast and fun but nothing overly technical. Hardpack with a few roots kind of gets old after a while. Heartbreak is awesome but I would rather ride it during season because I really enjoy the climb.The variety of riding here is truly amazing and not something we take for granted.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Horrorshow View Post
    Interesting, so hard to choose for just 1 ride. Down Buckwheat/Bennett up to Black then a loop around Sycamore Cove sounds like a good option. How does Bent Creek / Green's Lick compare?
    The go to ride for out of towners that come visit me is what we've dubbed "The Pisgah Sampler". It's a 20 mile loop that can be an ass kicker if you don't have the legs, but it a killer route that hits some great descents!

    Park at Ranger station
    276 to 477
    477 to Horse Stables
    Clawhammer to top
    Left Black Mountain to Club Gap
    Buckwheat
    Cross 477
    Bennet Gap
    Back up 477 to Horse Stables
    Back up Clawhammer, right onto Maxwell this time
    Maxwell to Pressley Gap
    Up to Hickory Knob
    Middle Black to right onto Lower Black
    Either back to car...or.....
    If you have gas, tack on Grassy Road to Upper Sycamore back to 276 back to car.



    THAT is a Pisgah ride. Beats the absolute snot off of Green's Lick IMO. YMMV but the 30mph braking bump rip down Greens Lick, while fun, does not compare to the technical nature of Buckwheat rock garden (omg) or mix or flow/chunder of Lower Bennett or the WTF am I doing nature of Middle Black. Ahhhh love Pisgah.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lithified View Post
    The go to ride for out of towners that come visit me is what we've dubbed "The Pisgah Sampler". It's a 20 mile loop that can be an ass kicker if you don't have the legs, but it a killer route that hits some great descents!

    Park at Ranger station
    276 to 477
    477 to Horse Stables
    Clawhammer to top
    Left Black Mountain to Club Gap
    Buckwheat
    Cross 477
    Bennet Gap
    Back up 477 to Horse Stables
    Back up Clawhammer, right onto Maxwell this time
    Maxwell to Pressley Gap
    Up to Hickory Knob
    Middle Black to right onto Lower Black
    Either back to car...or.....
    If you have gas, tack on Grassy Road to Upper Sycamore back to 276 back to car.



    THAT is a Pisgah ride. Beats the absolute snot off of Green's Lick IMO. YMMV but the 30mph braking bump rip down Greens Lick, while fun, does not compare to the technical nature of Buckwheat rock garden (omg) or mix or flow/chunder of Lower Bennett or the WTF am I doing nature of Middle Black. Ahhhh love Pisgah.
    that's a great ride right there . . .

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lithified View Post
    The go to ride for out of towners that come visit me is what we've dubbed "The Pisgah Sampler". It's a 20 mile loop that can be an ass kicker if you don't have the legs, but it a killer route that hits some great descents!

    Park at Ranger station
    276 to 477
    477 to Horse Stables
    Clawhammer to top
    Left Black Mountain to Club Gap
    Buckwheat
    Cross 477
    Bennet Gap
    Back up 477 to Horse Stables
    Back up Clawhammer, right onto Maxwell this time
    Maxwell to Pressley Gap
    Up to Hickory Knob
    Middle Black to right onto Lower Black
    Either back to car...or.....
    If you have gas, tack on Grassy Road to Upper Sycamore back to 276 back to car.



    THAT is a Pisgah ride. Beats the absolute snot off of Green's Lick IMO. YMMV but the 30mph braking bump rip down Greens Lick, while fun, does not compare to the technical nature of Buckwheat rock garden (omg) or mix or flow/chunder of Lower Bennett or the WTF am I doing nature of Middle Black. Ahhhh love Pisgah.
    That ride might be a bit intimidating to people that aren't used to riding in Pisgah or that don't have good technical skills/confidence. The fact it starts off difficult and migrates to easier doesn't really help, either, because it doesn't give people the opportunity to evaluate their comfort with the trails in Pisgah.

    I usually send people on a reverse route, Middle Black is a good litmus test for intermediate riders from other areas and how well they'll handle other parts of Pisgah. I send them down that first, then upper sycamore, then based on how they are feeling Avery or Bennett. If they felt Middle was too difficult, then those two are going to be even more so and they can drive to do stuff at the Hatchery or Mills River.

    I hear a lot of riders from this area complain that Pisgah is too difficult or too much hike a bike, etc. I ask the route they were given and they give me something like what you recommended or Laurel/Pilot (this one seems common for some reason). I think it's important for locals to remember that a lot of these trails are overwhelming for a lot of riders and make sure the route is accommodating to their skill level. I get that we want to show them what this area is made of, but no one likes pushing their bike for most of the ride.

    I normally, if people are here for 3 days, start them off with something moderate, hard, then easy. So we do Mills River or hatchery day 1, stables area day 2, then DuPont on day 3. The Mills River area (Trace, in particular) can be a good test of their technical skills without being high consequence, but is also a good warmup. Then they can hit something more difficult the next day, then finish with something easy the last day. If they struggle on day 1 with the tech on Trace or Spencer, then they can change their route for day 2 to something or evenly paced.

    I just get frustrated when I hear outsiders complain about how much they hated riding in Pisgah because they got routes from locals that were way outside of what they should have been riding. We're lucky that most of us have lived here a while or been riding here a while and the norm of our riding has elevated so that these aren't as intimidating, but most people (esp from FL or GA) don't have those benefits.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Adodero View Post

    I just get frustrated when I hear outsiders complain about how much they hated riding in Pisgah because they got routes from locals that were way outside of what they should have been riding. We're lucky that most of us have lived here a while or been riding here a while and the norm of our riding has elevated so that these aren't as intimidating, but most people (esp from FL or GA) don't have those benefits.
    I say let Pisgah crush their souls so the woods are less crowded for the rest of us! haha....

    I would agree but mountain biking is supposed to be a challenge to some degree. Not every ride has to destroy you but pushing your limits (physically and mentally) is a pillar that the sport was built on.

    I think its great Pisgah has a reputation for being hard. Only those willing to suffer are rewarded with the all the awesomeness Pisgah affords. I dont want to see every joey-bag-o-donuts out there complaining about how the trails are too hard to too much hiking ,etc. Thats a slippery slope to having the trails dumbed down to meet an average skill set. Pisgah should be the place you ride when you want to take your abilities to their limits. Its not a fitness loop at the local county park... Its remote, back-country riding, and its hard. The out of town crowd come here for that... at least the ones I know.

    Get the word out that Pisgah is hard. If you have newbies in your group by all means let them ease into the riding here. I dont want anyone to be bummed cause the ride was too hard. However, Pisgah virgins also need to know that riding here is a challenge but that challenge is part of the experience.

    And if they get bummed cause its too hard, there is plenty of great scenery and beer to turn those frowns upside down haha...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Banjopickin View Post
    I say let Pisgah crush their souls so the woods are less crowded for the rest of us! haha....

    I would agree but mountain biking is supposed to be a challenge to some degree. Not every ride has to destroy you but pushing your limits (physically and mentally) is a pillar that the sport was built on.

    I think its great Pisgah has a reputation for being hard. Only those willing to suffer are rewarded with the all the awesomeness Pisgah affords. I dont want to see every joey-bag-o-donuts out there complaining about how the trails are too hard to too much hiking ,etc. Thats a slippery slope to having the trails dumbed down to meet an average skill set. Pisgah should be the place you ride when you want to take your abilities to their limits. Its not a fitness loop at the local county park... Its remote, back-country riding, and its hard. The out of town crowd come here for that... at least the ones I know.

    Get the word out that Pisgah is hard. If you have newbies in your group by all means let them ease into the riding here. I dont want anyone to be bummed cause the ride was too hard. However, Pisgah virgins also need to know that riding here is a challenge but that challenge is part of the experience.

    And if they get bummed cause its too hard, there is plenty of great scenery and beer to turn those frowns upside down haha...
    To be clear, I'm not advocating any changes to the trails by any means or dumbing anything down, rather simply choosing trails for people that fit their skill level and trip. I also agree with giving people a challenge, for sure.

    I think there is a fine line between giving someone a challenge and pushing it too far, though. I've talked to at least 3 riders that came up here and were sent to do Laurel/Pilot on their first ride in Pisgah by someone. These were mostly intermediate-esque riders, one of which was on a 15 year old 26er. Probably not the best decision for the average rider. Sure, it may give us massive street cred, but so does taking someone down middle black and telling them it's intermediate for the area.

    I more or less did this yesterday, I've had some FL evacuees staying with us for the last week and they've been riding a bunch of different stuff (bridge daniels, cove, sycamore, spencer, etc) and I figured I'd push it a little bit and take them down middle black. We went, we all struggled a bit (don't judge me too hard, it was my first time riding it on a SS HT), but it wasn't so much that they didn't enjoy themselves. They were able to see a bit of the challenges Pisgah poses without hating the entire trip out there. It also gave me a frame of reference for what was too much for them.

    I guess my point was that the ride linked earlier would be a good challenge for an advanced rider, but for someone new to Pisgah or that isn't very advanced, it's gonna be a sufferfest and I much prefer giving them some kind of litmus test to ensure they don't hate their ride because they are walking the entire time. If I send someone to a trail here and they don't walk a little bit, then I've probably failed to challenge them, but if they walk the entire time, then I've made a mistake in the other direction. Maybe I'm too nice, I only like to scare them a little bit

  69. #69
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    Why you gotta talk about 26rs??? 26 ain't dead son!

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    Quote Originally Posted by zod View Post
    Why you gotta talk about 26rs??? 26 ain't dead son!
    Sorry, that wasn't my intention, rather that a beginner-intermediate rider on a late 90's 26er probably shouldn't be sent down Pilot

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    I knew that....us 26 riders get edgy though.

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    I can relate to all of this as an out of towner. Came in this week from Michigan (lower MI) and really wanted to to give Pisgah a shot in between hikes with the wife. I can ride everything back home but it's tough to judge something entirely different, especially when you've got a limited amount of time and don't want to be walking over everything nor riding trails that aren't pushing your limits. I stopped by the HUB, talked over my riding abilities and schedule with some employees and they suggested a route that ended up being perfect for me to test the waters (thrift > blk mountain down > grassy something up > sycamore down ) for a nice 7 mile loop. Black mountain had me grinning from ear to ear on my 26" hardtail!

    This spot on sycamore was the only time I walked something. Maybe would have tried it on a second loop...

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    That section gets nastier every time I'm out there. The rock rolldown used to be the scariest part, but now the water has eroded away those roots and formed several other features, so you have to be really careful to keep a good body position and braking technique going down it or you'll end up out of control. I used to hit it no problem, now I have to ask myself if I'm really focused enough to do it and that's about 50/50 for me these days. It's one of those mental games I play with myself, even though I've hit it plenty of times just fine, the three times I didn't make me more fearful of doing it.

    I tend to ride Upper Sycamore more frequently, I think that section after the switchback before the creek there is gonna look like this by this time next year if it keeps going the way it is...

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    Yeah it really just caught me off guard. With the creek right there you can't just laugh off (not that I would either way with success), but it's blind enough that I couldn't see what line to set myself up for before it would have been to late.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Adodero View Post
    To be clear, I'm not advocating any changes to the trails by any means or dumbing anything down, rather simply choosing trails for people that fit their skill level and trip. I also agree with giving people a challenge, for sure.

    I think there is a fine line between giving someone a challenge and pushing it too far, though. I've talked to at least 3 riders that came up here and were sent to do Laurel/Pilot on their first ride in Pisgah by someone. These were mostly intermediate-esque riders, one of which was on a 15 year old 26er. Probably not the best decision for the average rider. Sure, it may give us massive street cred, but so does taking someone down middle black and telling them it's intermediate for the area.

    I more or less did this yesterday, I've had some FL evacuees staying with us for the last week and they've been riding a bunch of different stuff (bridge daniels, cove, sycamore, spencer, etc) and I figured I'd push it a little bit and take them down middle black. We went, we all struggled a bit (don't judge me too hard, it was my first time riding it on a SS HT), but it wasn't so much that they didn't enjoy themselves. They were able to see a bit of the challenges Pisgah poses without hating the entire trip out there. It also gave me a frame of reference for what was too much for them.

    I guess my point was that the ride linked earlier would be a good challenge for an advanced rider, but for someone new to Pisgah or that isn't very advanced, it's gonna be a sufferfest and I much prefer giving them some kind of litmus test to ensure they don't hate their ride because they are walking the entire time. If I send someone to a trail here and they don't walk a little bit, then I've probably failed to challenge them, but if they walk the entire time, then I've made a mistake in the other direction. Maybe I'm too nice, I only like to scare them a little bit
    The first time I rode Laurel-Pilot, I was absolutely no better than an average rider and it was on what would now be a....23 year old 26 inch bike with toe clips and maybe cantilever brakes. Took me about 5-6 hours and I could not have had a better time. The views, the woods, and the trail were all worth it. What's my point?

    It's all about expectations. It's fine for somebody who's novice-average to try and challenge him or herself, but s/he needs to know that this 15 mile ride will take a looooong time and the person is going to be scared sometimes. That's part of the adventure. As long as the less-experienced rider know this going in, there's nothing wrong with suggesting routes or rides that are going to challenge folks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kyle_vk View Post
    I can relate to all of this as an out of towner. Came in this week from Michigan (lower MI) and really wanted to to give Pisgah a shot in between hikes with the wife. I can ride everything back home but it's tough to judge something entirely different, especially when you've got a limited amount of time and don't want to be walking over everything nor riding trails that aren't pushing your limits. I stopped by the HUB, talked over my riding abilities and schedule with some employees and they suggested a route that ended up being perfect for me to test the waters (thrift > blk mountain down > grassy something up > sycamore down ) for a nice 7 mile loop. Black mountain had me grinning from ear to ear on my 26" hardtail!

    This spot on sycamore was the only time I walked something. Maybe would have tried it on a second loop...

    Sent from my XT1254 using Tapatalk
    I think that is the big M. No?

    I like that ride a lot and the ride down sycamore is fun and really fast. I actually like it a bit more than Black.
    On MTBR, the reputation is infamous.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vespasianus View Post
    I think that is the big M. No?

    I like that ride a lot and the ride down sycamore is fun and really fast. I actually like it a bit more than Black.
    That spot was at the bottom of sycamore by the bridge crossing (lower sycamore) the only Big M I'm familiar with is in Michigan.

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