Dupont State Park vs Tsali?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Dupont State Park vs Tsali?

    Looking to take the wife mountain biking for a few days and have been told that both of these areas are great for biking, hiking and are very scenic.

    Which location would be better for the novice with more or better beginner trails?

    Also, I guess both areas have fire roads to ride? Thanks

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    Tsali has better views in my mind. DuPont is great but not terrific views.
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    With a fair amount of beginner trails?

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    DuPont, hands down. The waterfall views, and the long range vistas from places like big rock, are hard to beat. Combine that with lots of beginner friendly trails, fire roads, swimming, and variety, and DuPont is your place.


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    Quote Originally Posted by rickcin View Post
    With a fair amount of beginner trails?
    I dunno that I'd call the trails at Tsali beginner level.

    Nice thing about Dupont is that each individual trail is generally pretty short in most cases. Lots of fire roads connecting them all, so she can get little tastes of harder stuff then break off if that's too much. Tsali has some fire road, but not really enough, IMO, to make a good ride out of.

    Tsali is comprised of 4 loops, and each loop may be a bit on the long side for beginners. On my first trip to Tsali in 2000 or so, I had an unresolvable mechanical halfway into the Left Loop. That meant roughly a 6 mile hike out, no matter which direction I went. To date, it's my longest hike-a-bike.

    The trails at Tsali really haven't changed much since then, though I think the rocks and roots are a little bit more exposed than they were 18yrs ago. I'd say the loop distances make them a bit less beginner friendly. If a rider is a hesitant beginner, I'd go elsewhere. If a rider is an adventurous beginner, it's probably worth a look, though.

    IMO, Bent Creek is probably the most beginner-friendly trail system in the area, followed by Dupont. Both have plenty of easy gravel roads, but IMO, Bent Creek has more beginner level singletrack. Bent Creek is least scenic. The most scenic viewpoint at Bent Creek (5 Points) is less scenic than the top of Cedar Rock in Dupont because it's surrounded by trees in summer, but it doesn't really require any technical skill to get to (just fitness to make the climb). The second best view at Dupont accessible on bike (end of the old airstrip) is still better than 5 Points, and it can be reached by gravel roads. Plus, Dupont has the waterfalls, which neither Bent Creek nor Tsali really have much worth discussing.

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    Ok, we will plan to visit Dupont State Park. We live in Roanoke so we will take a two or three day trip there.

    I guess Asheville would be the best place to stay as far as restaurants and hotels and I believe a person in a bike shop there in Asheville said itís about a 45 minute drive to Dupont? Iím guessing they exaggerated and itís probably an hours ride? Thanks for the responses.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rickcin View Post
    Ok, we will plan to visit Dupont State Park. We live in Roanoke so we will take a two or three day trip there.

    I guess Asheville would be the best place to stay as far as restaurants and hotels and I believe a person in a bike shop there in Asheville said itís about a 45 minute drive to Dupont? Iím guessing they exaggerated and itís probably an hours ride? Thanks for the responses.
    Brevard is closer, but has less of everything. Depends on what you want. Depending on where you are in Asheville, DuPont is 45 minutes to an hour. And just FYI, DuPont is a state forest, not a state park.

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    Dupont is the most over-rated riding area in WNC.

    Tsali is the most under-rated riding area in WNC.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jamatt View Post
    Dupont is the most over-rated riding area in WNC.

    Tsali is the most under-rated riding area in WNC.
    I live 20 minutes from Carvins Cove, 60 miles of trails and I also work weekly on constructing a new trail. We want to spend some time in Asheville so the next trip is there and after Asheville trip our next excursion will be to bike at Tsali.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mbmb65 View Post
    Brevard is closer, but has less of everything. Depends on what you want. Depending on where you are in Asheville, DuPont is 45 minutes to an hour. And just FYI, DuPont is a state forest, not a state park.
    Yeah Asheville is spread out so from the southern end, where the bike shop was, itís probabl a 45 minute ride.

    Thanks for the info!

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    Quote Originally Posted by jamatt View Post
    Dupont is the most over-rated riding area in WNC.

    Tsali is the most under-rated riding area in WNC.
    Meh, Tsali was teh hotness in the magazines 20yrs ago. Some would say it's still overrated. It's still cool, but there's a bunch more stuff to choose from now. For me in Candler, it's only a little farther away than Dupont. So it's in my rotation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mbmb65 View Post
    DuPont, hands down. The waterfall views, and the long range vistas from places like big rock, are hard to beat. Combine that with lots of beginner friendly trails, fire roads, swimming, and variety, and DuPont is your place.


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    The only view I witnessed was at burnt mountain. They are nice but compared to Tsali, they are not that impressive. Are there other good spots at Dupont with good view?
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    Yeah Tsali is WAY overrated in my opinion. Been once and donít plan to go back....I was very under-whelmed. Some cool views and thatís about all. DuPont, Pisgah proper, bent creek, old fort area of pisgah, even lake James state park are all better by leaps and bounds.


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    Definitely a bunch more stuff. But when I first rode it in 1993, coming from Indiana, it was the shit. I have friends who still live in Indiana and when they come down it's where they want to go. I still hit it up 3 or 4 times a year. Always a good time.

    Being in Candler, have you done any of the Dunsmore Mountain gravel stuff?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vespasianus View Post
    The only view I witnessed was at burnt mountain. They are nice but compared to Tsali, they are not that impressive. Are there other good spots at Dupont with good view?
    End of the runway on airport, Big Rock, Cedar Rock, Micajah, Stone Mountain, nice lake views around Lake Julia. And of course there are plenty of waterfall views.

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    I guess it all depends on your riding ability and what you enjoy most.

    Iím not a big fan of rocks and roots and I prefer flow trails and I sure the really skilled riders find that boring and would rather technical rocky descents, but thatís certainly not for me!

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    Find your bliss, ride your bliss. I hope you have a great time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jamatt View Post
    Find your bliss, ride your bliss. I hope you have a great time.
    Thanks, Iím sure it will be a blast to be in a different City and biking in a different forest!

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamatt View Post
    Dupont is the most over-rated riding area in WNC.

    Tsali is the most under-rated riding area in WNC.
    Lol. Quite possibly the dumbest statement ever.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vespasianus View Post
    The only view I witnessed was at burnt mountain. They are nice but compared to Tsali, they are not that impressive. Are there other good spots at Dupont with good view?
    Lots and lots.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jamatt View Post
    Definitely a bunch more stuff. But when I first rode it in 1993, coming from Indiana, it was the shit. I have friends who still live in Indiana and when they come down it's where they want to go. I still hit it up 3 or 4 times a year. Always a good time.

    Being in Candler, have you done any of the Dunsmore Mountain gravel stuff?
    Iíve lived in Asheville for 30 years and have ridden Tsali exactly 3 times. Much better options all over the place. And closer too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mbmb65 View Post
    Lol. Quite possibly the dumbest statement ever.
    I would say the same.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamatt View Post
    I would say the same.
    Dig it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jamatt View Post
    Definitely a bunch more stuff. But when I first rode it in 1993, coming from Indiana, it was the shit. I have friends who still live in Indiana and when they come down it's where they want to go. I still hit it up 3 or 4 times a year. Always a good time.

    Being in Candler, have you done any of the Dunsmore Mountain gravel stuff?
    Not much of a gravel rider, so no. Will look it up.

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  25. #25
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    I ride a bit of gravel roads in the Asheville area on both single and tandem mtb. I like a 14 mile gravel loop in Dupont that is varied in scenery and gravel surfaces. It's up and down, challenging, exhilarating and exhausting. I haven't explored much of the singletrack. Bent Creek is nice, but almost completely shrouded by trees, so it's a little bit like a workout at the gym, if your gym is in the woods. Seriously, you can climb for literally miles to the Blue Ridge parkway, ride 6 miles down the other side, turn around and ride back up and over, then back down to the parking lot. I haven't really gotten into the singletrack there, either. So much gravel, so little time...

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    As an out of towner, don't go to Dupont without a guide/local/group ride scheduled. If you do, you'll be stopping every 5 minutes to look at a map.

    Tsali is very straightforward singletrack, with very few intersections.

    Yes, Tsali is a bit dull and outdated to the normal standards but I would rather ride it's miles of singletrack without checking a map constantly over Duponts gravel roads, map stops, and brief section of singletrack.

    Locals will certainly know the loops to make dupont much better, but as an out of towner I would just avoid going to Dupont unless you have someone to show you around.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamatt View Post
    ...
    Being in Candler, have you done any of the Dunsmore Mountain gravel stuff?
    Because of the amount of rain and condition of the trails we just started doing gravel for gravel's sake. Would you be able to describe more about the Dunsmore Mountain stuff? I'm interested. Thanks.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamatt View Post
    Being in Candler, have you done any of the Dunsmore Mountain gravel stuff?
    Quote Originally Posted by RDO View Post
    Because of the amount of rain and condition of the trails we just started doing gravel for gravel's sake. Would you be able to describe more about the Dunsmore Mountain stuff? I'm interested. Thanks.
    Googled it, and turned up an open space in the south end of Candler (I'm at the extreme north end) not far from Pisgah Highway. Looked at it on the Strava Heatmap and there's nothing on that hill itself. There are a couple roads that go around it that light up, like Upper Glady Fork Rd. and Black Oak Cove Rd. but I can't tell if they're gravel or not from Google.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chello View Post
    As an out of towner, don't go to Dupont without a guide/local/group ride scheduled. If you do, you'll be stopping every 5 minutes to look at a map.

    Tsali is very straightforward singletrack, with very few intersections.

    Yes, Tsali is a bit dull and outdated to the normal standards but I would rather ride it's miles of singletrack without checking a map constantly over Duponts gravel roads, map stops, and brief section of singletrack.

    Locals will certainly know the loops to make dupont much better, but as an out of towner I would just avoid going to Dupont unless you have someone to show you around.

    I have never ridden at Dupont with a guide or anybody else for that matter, and I am geographically challenged! The SORBA page has good routes and the MTB project app can help guide you. There is no cell phone signal on the mountain and the GPS locator on the tail fork app never seems to work well for me there.
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  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    Googled it, and turned up an open space in the south end of Candler (I'm at the extreme north end) not far from Pisgah Highway. Looked at it on the Strava Heatmap and there's nothing on that hill itself. There are a couple roads that go around it that light up, like Upper Glady Fork Rd. and Black Oak Cove Rd. but I can't tell if they're gravel or not from Google.
    Thanks for the info Harold. I'm not at all familiar with that area. Nothing turns up here either. https://gravelmap.com/ (FWIW a pretty cool site, however I think a little more geared towards dual sport riders)

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    I think Tsali would be much more fun if you could ride all the trails on any given day. If you catch it on a Mouse/Thompson day, there are only 13 miles of trail, so you have to do something twice to get more than a couple of hours. I rarely go there, as I have to pass Dupont, Pisgah and Bent Creek and then drive another hour and a half to make it there.
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    Quote Originally Posted by rickcin View Post
    I live 20 minutes from Carvins Cove, 60 miles of trails and I also work weekly on constructing a new trail. We want to spend some time in Asheville so the next trip is there and after Asheville trip our next excursion will be to bike at Tsali.
    Stayed in downtown Roanoke and road Carvins for the first time last Tuesday and Wednesday. Great time!

    DuPont is similar to Carvins - lots of trails - you can add little bits at a time or find a bailout route.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    Googled it, and turned up an open space in the south end of Candler (I'm at the extreme north end) not far from Pisgah Highway. Looked at it on the Strava Heatmap and there's nothing on that hill itself. There are a couple roads that go around it that light up, like Upper Glady Fork Rd. and Black Oak Cove Rd. but I can't tell if they're gravel or not from Google.
    I've been poking around there on foot and then found it on MTB Project. I was out last week and there were some fresh MTB tracks. There are a couple of e-bikes I see on the gated forest roads off 151 and my guess is it's them. Certainly not an area of note but it does apparently hook up to Three Humps and North Boundary Road in Bent Creek. I'm close enough that it might make an interesting from-the-door bikepacking trip to Bent Creek and back.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DeadGrandpa View Post
    I ride a bit of gravel roads in the Asheville area on both single and tandem mtb. I like a 14 mile gravel loop in Dupont that is varied in scenery and gravel surfaces. It's up and down, challenging, exhilarating and exhausting. I haven't explored much of the singletrack. Bent Creek is nice, but almost completely shrouded by trees, so it's a little bit like a workout at the gym, if your gym is in the woods. Seriously, you can climb for literally miles to the Blue Ridge parkway, ride 6 miles down the other side, turn around and ride back up and over, then back down to the parking lot. I haven't really gotten into the singletrack there, either. So much gravel, so little time...


    I did a gravel/tarmac loop Saturday that went up Green River Rd. into DSF and through there over to Sky Valley Rd. and then up and over Pinnacle Mtn. That was over 3,000 feet of climbing in 35 miles and the top of Pinnacle was about as steep as anything I want to ride. The scary part was coming down the other side on the tarmac at 20% grades for about a mile. I was scared that I was going to overcook my hydro brakes and go flying off the side of the mountain.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mbmb65 View Post
    Dig it.
    All things considered with Twitter feeds being as they are if we've come up with the two dumbest statements ever, by God, we are high achievers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikeridesabike View Post
    I think Tsali would be much more fun if you could ride all the trails on any given day. If you catch it on a Mouse/Thompson day, there are only 13 miles of trail, so you have to do something twice to get more than a couple of hours. I rarely go there, as I have to pass Dupont, Pisgah and Bent Creek and then drive another hour and a half to make it there.
    It would be epic to do a night ride with a full moon when the leaves are off starting on the Right/Left loop and time it so just at midnight you'd finish R/L and go do Mouse/Thompson. I may do that this winter.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamatt View Post
    All things considered with Twitter feeds being as they are if we've come up with the two dumbest statements ever, by God, we are high achievers.
    If youíre gonna do something, do it well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jamatt View Post
    I've been poking around there on foot and then found it on MTB Project. I was out last week and there were some fresh MTB tracks. There are a couple of e-bikes I see on the gated forest roads off 151 and my guess is it's them. Certainly not an area of note but it does apparently hook up to Three Humps and North Boundary Road in Bent Creek. I'm close enough that it might make an interesting from-the-door bikepacking trip to Bent Creek and back.
    Oh, you're talking about the Bear Farm area. Trailforks shows a "loop" out there, but MTBProject does show the individual roads/trails a bit better. Sounds like it's less a gravel route as a two-track/singletrack mix.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    Meh, Tsali was teh hotness in the magazines 20yrs ago. Some would say it's still overrated. It's still cool, but there's a bunch more stuff to choose from now. For me in Candler, it's only a little farther away than Dupont. So it's in my rotation.
    I would agree totally with this. If I'm in the area i'd ride it but it's not worthy of a special trip IMO.

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    Actually when I was riding today I remembered that my Avatar is a photo from Tsali. And here I am kinda dissing it in my last post.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tribble Me View Post
    Actually when I was riding today I remembered that my Avatar is a photo from Tsali. And here I am kinda dissing it in my last post.
    I enjoy it. It's a good trail system. But I don't favor it more or less than any others, really. But it's a little different. Just nice singletrack (mostly), which I enjoy.

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    Dupont is MUCH more interesting than Tsali and not as isolated. Rode Tsali in 2016, my personal and group opinion of my wife and another couple with us.......Tsali was boring after about 3 miles. The views kept us interested for a few more miles than that. But after the full 18 miles or so.....crossed it off the bucket list and while enjoyable it holds nothing I would like to ride again. Although they get points for the bike wash and bathrooms.....

    Dupont, on the other hand, I would ride multiple times as it is interesting, has beginning through more advanced riding and is close enough to "stuff" the MTB crowd tends to like.

    As David George said above Dupont and Carvins are similar......speaking of which David, were you the solo rider my wife and I ran into on Tuesday at Carvins? We went back on Thursday as well.
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    Yes I am. I was out there for about 4.5 hrs that day. the route I took was longer than I realized. I went back the next day with a guide from Roanoke Mountain Adventures, Dan Lucas.

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    Quote Originally Posted by David George View Post
    Yes I am. I was out there for about 4.5 hrs that day. the route I took was longer than I realized. I went back the next day with a guide from Roanoke Mountain Adventures, Dan Lucas.
    Was nice running into you and chatting......we enjoyed that place as well, good trails, not full of messy intersections etc. yet and I loved the terrain as well.
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    Quote Originally Posted by David George View Post
    Yes I am. I was out there for about 4.5 hrs that day. the route I took was longer than I realized. I went back the next day with a guide from Roanoke Mountain Adventures, Dan Lucas.
    Dan Lucas is a great guy, an incredible mountain biker and he ordered and set up my new bike that was hand built in Colorado. He obviously knows his way around Carvins Cove and has ridden there with Jeff Lenosky and the video is on YouTube, itís called Ripping around Carvins Cove.

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    Trip with the wife I'd go to Dupont. The Nat Geo map is a must there imo. There are some nice beginner/intermediate routes there that go to some really nice waterfalls. Tsali is incredibly scenic, but Dupont has some pretty spots too.

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    Skip the nat geo maps and buy local. Pisgah mapping co maps are great. Have been using them for years.
    Quote Originally Posted by Superfly Lee View Post
    Trip with the wife I'd go to Dupont. The Nat Geo map is a must there imo. There are some nice beginner/intermediate routes there that go to some really nice waterfalls. Tsali is incredibly scenic, but Dupont has some pretty spots too.
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  48. #48
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    Tsali was, is, and always will be overrated. I've lived in WNC all my life, rode there once, and have never felt the need to drive over there to ride it again. Not worth it at all given the plethora of other better and nearer options.

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    Quote Originally Posted by COTarHeel View Post
    Tsali was, is, and always will be overrated. I've lived in WNC all my life, rode there once, and have never felt the need to drive over there to ride it again. Not worth it at all given the plethora of other better and nearer options.
    Depends on what you like. Not everybody really likes the same stuff, or has narrowly focused preferences.

    I like a lot of different things, and there will always be a place for xc singletrack through the woods for me.

    I know a lot of trail snobs that refuse to ride one thing or another, and that's definitely not me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    Depends on what you like. Not everybody really likes the same stuff, or has narrowly focused preferences.

    I like a lot of different things, and there will always be a place for xc singletrack through the woods for me.

    I know a lot of trail snobs that refuse to ride one thing or another, and that's definitely not me.
    Didnít say I donít like it. Didnít say I refuse to ride it. Didnít say I donít like that style of trail. Iím just saying Iíve never been tempted to go back to Tsali. If it was really as good as its reputation then Iíd have gone back at least ONCE in 15 years.

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    My turn - I used to drive 8 hours from Fl to ride NC and now live near Spartanburg, so Dupont, Bent Creek etc are an hour away. I'm no expert by any means but prefer Dupont for the variety, waterfalls, etc. as many have mentioned.

    **Use MTB Project App - it will help immensely........

    Make damn sure you understand your wifes riding capability. "Beginner" is relative. The Hub schmuck suggested I take my wife to Reasonover on a rental with virtually no trail experience - just some flat stuff in Fl.
    She made it about 100 yards in and walked back and took the bike back.

    Stay near Biltmore Park and you'll be much closer to Bent Creek, BlueRidge Pkwy and Dupont. No reason to go to Tsali has many have commented.

    If you dont want a motivation killing climb right out of the car, dont park at Lake Imaging - I prefer Guion parking lot off of Sky View - Google can map you there. Your wife will thank you.

    Go to Flat Rock Wood Room on your way back to Asheville from Dupont. Look it up, you wont be disappointed.

  52. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by KillerInsideMe View Post
    My turn - I used to drive 8 hours from Fl to ride NC and now live near Spartanburg, so Dupont, Bent Creek etc are an hour away. I'm no expert by any means but prefer Dupont for the variety, waterfalls, etc. as many have mentioned.

    **Use MTB Project App - it will help immensely........

    Make damn sure you understand your wifes riding capability. "Beginner" is relative. The Hub schmuck suggested I take my wife to Reasonover on a rental with virtually no trail experience - just some flat stuff in Fl.
    She made it about 100 yards in and walked back and took the bike back.

    Stay near Biltmore Park and you'll be much closer to Bent Creek, BlueRidge Pkwy and Dupont. No reason to go to Tsali has many have commented.

    If you dont want a motivation killing climb right out of the car, dont park at Lake Imaging - I prefer Guion parking lot off of Sky View - Google can map you there. Your wife will thank you.

    Go to Flat Rock Wood Room on your way back to Asheville from Dupont. Look it up, you wont be disappointed.
    Thanks so much for all of the good information, itís greatly appreciated!

    I also understand that Beginner is a real lose term and when Iím biking at Carvins Cove on the intermediate trails, she hikes.

    Looking up Flat Rock now - Thanks again!

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