Local flavors: the complete guide to riding in Brevard, North Carolina

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Local Flavors



Words, photos and video by Brice Shirbach

Presented by Explore Brevard

It is the isoprene that does it. Well, it is the trees that produce the isoprene that make the Blue Ridge Mountains blue. Technically, this physiographic province of the largest Appalachian Mountains extends from Pennsylvania to Georgia, but in my opinion, they are at their most "blue" point in western North Carolina. It is frankly radiant along the western edges of the state of Tar Heel, and the small adventure center, also known as Brevard, is located directly in the center of that blue glow.

My first trip to the heart of Transylvania County was almost 6 years ago with my friend and fellow countryman Matthew Delorme, and he helped me get in the way I am currently as a professional storyteller and athlete. It opened my eyes to a scale of adventure and exploration east of the Rocky Mountains that I had not really seen until that moment. The terrain is beautiful and does not apologize for its robustness, and the opportunities for adventure are numerous and world class. Fly fishing, rock climbing, white water, hiking, everything is here and the city of Brevard is largely dedicated to curing the best possible experience for locals and visitors alike in their search for any of the efforts aforementioned. Of course, I am really here for a particular effort: cycling in these forests.

That trip of 6 years ago led to a story published here on this same site called "Brevard Call". In the time since that chapter of East Bound & Down, I find myself returning several times a year. Each trip brings with it a meeting of friendships that I have been fortunate to develop over the course of half a decade, in addition to some new ones with each adventure. In the end, anyone who has experienced Brevard firsthand understands "the call" of this place. Perhaps it is the isoprene that makes its way into our veins. I really don't know, and I really don't care; Once Brevard starts calling, all he can do to calm the inevitable craving is to answer.

Local flavors Prescott AZ
Brice shirbach // Local Flavors
Years: 37
Location: Wilmington, DE, USA UU.
Industry Affiliations: Pivot cycles, Maxxis tires, Pearl Izumi, 9point8, Julbo, MRP, Deity Components, EVOC, Shimano, Dialed Health, Stan & # 39; s No Tubes, Topeak, Leatt, Cane Creek Cycling Components
Instagram: @bricycles
Favorite ride near Brevard: Farlow Gap to Daniel & # 39; s Ridge.
Driving Style: Whatever smart

Brevard is perfectly located at the mouth of the Pisgah National Forest, to the delight of 2 and 4-legged adventurers.

A little about the region

The first inhabitants of Brevard were there long before the city was officially incorporated in 1868. The Cherokees called this land their home for centuries, using the Estatoe Trail to link the native communities of South Carolina and Georgia with what is currently Transylvania County Brevard was established as the seat of Transylvania County, and was immediately recognized for its abundance of natural resources and rich soil, features that do not go unnoticed even today.

Today, Brevard is home to a community of artisans and artists, with dozens of restaurants, cafes, boutiques and galleries that line many of the streets in the area. Brevard College, home to one of the strongest university mountain bike programs in the country, was originally founded in 1853 and moved to its current location in 1934. The area has proven to be an attractive home for more than just artists and enthusiasts. outdoors, with dozens of craft breweries have appeared throughout the region in recent years, with Oscar Blues, Brevard Brewing Company and Ecusta Brewing calling Brevard home.

To the west of the city is the Pisgah National Forest, a venerable natural resource that is loved by all walks of life. Hundreds of miles of unique trail are located between the city limits and the Blue Ridge Parkway, a scenic detour several miles west and thousands of feet above Brevard. A 15-minute trip east will take you to Dupont State Recreational Forest, a beautiful strip of land that houses lakes, waterfalls, rivers and rock slabs. Among them, cyclists have access to some of the best trails on the continent and a community dedicated to cultivating access and a lifestyle rooted in the mountains and forests that spend most of their time enjoying.

Get to Brevard

While Brevard is not particularly close to any major population center, it is also not terribly far or challenging to get here for many people in the eastern half of the United States. Driving here is very easy, with the main interstate corridors, including 81, 40 and 26, which facilitate the work of travelers from cities like Knoxville, Charlotte, Atlanta and Greenville. Asheville, the largest city in western North Carolina, is just 40 minutes north of downtown Brevard. The travel time from Knoxville to Brevard is 2 hours. Atlanta to Brevard can be done in 3. From DC, it is an 8-hour trip. Philly is 10 hours away. It is said that 75% of the American population is a day's drive from Brevard. I suppose everything is relative to what you are willing to drive in one day, but a road trip is something I will always support, since it is my own preferred method of travel.

While Brevard does not have its own airport that it can use for commercial flights, Asheville does and is connected to Brevard and Transylvania County through a 25-minute trip on State Road 280. The airport has 6 airlines and It offers nonstop service to cities such as Chicago, Washington DC, Orlando, Denver, New York and Newark (NJ). Charlotte Douglas International Airport is 2 hours east of the city, it is one of the busiest airports in the country, which often translates into much cheaper flights compared to what you'll find when you fly to Asheville.

The best trails to travel in Brevard

If you ask someone who lives here what their favorite route is, you will probably get a different answer each time. The selection in Transylvania County alone is huge, and in reality Brevard is close enough to the trails at Mills River, Black Mountain and Lake Lure so you can make this place your base camp for an even wider adventure in the west from North Carolina. Hell, even only between Pisgah and Dupont, I'm sure there will be people who will totally disagree with the trails we will describe below. But that is also a very good "problem" to have. In order to streamline the information, we will focus solely on Dupont and the Pisgah park rangers district.

Pisgah National Forest
These are some of the largest mountains you'll find east of the Mississippi. Pisgah is deep. Pisgah is big. Pisgah is beautiful. It is not a place where you expect to find a lot of specially designed ultra-wide corridors with gallons of flow flowing through the mountain. Instead, you should expect to find rocks, roots and rhodos; the last of which is the abbreviation of rhododendrons and the tunnels they create in virtually all forest trails. The trails extend from the mouth of the forest near The Hub and Pisgah Tavern several miles to the green route, although I must keep in mind that falling on the paths that connect directly with the green route is not exactly legal, so make sure Check Forks or with any of the shops in the city to get an updated map of the routes, as well as seasonal restrictions that may exist. There is a reason why many World Cup runners call this place home.

Key Path – Farlow Gap: I guess Farlow is the kind of trail the locals travel once or twice a year, if so. There is no quick and easy way to take a walk in Farlow Gap. It is out there and it is very twisted. Nor is it a path you should travel alone; If something went wrong, the extraction process would be a challenge for everyone involved, and by itself it would be exponentially more difficult. That said, it is my favorite trail in the region. The technicality, the various line options and the sense of adventure from beginning to end is electric.

Key Trail – Avery Creek: This may not feel very good with the crowd "keep Pisgah whatever", but I love this path. Avery was recently given a much-needed face lift after years of erosion and drainage problems, and the results remind him of what he could find in the PNW: a combination of natural technology lines with progressive and specifically constructed features. The main highlight of this trail is a considerable space 3/4 of the way down the trail about 30 feet long. It is very soft and super fun. Keep in mind that there are no directional trails in the Pisgah National Forest, so always drive with control.

Key Path – Bennett Gap: Easily one of the most advertised trails in any district throughout the Pisgah national forest, Bennett has been filmed countless times, YouTubed to oblivion and Grammed blatantly. It also remains an incredible journey and deserves all the "Hey, can you record this for me?" Moments It offers breathtaking views of Looking Glass Rock, Cedar Rock and the Davidson River Valley, and offers passengers several steep and off-curve sections that will wake you up if you have not already done so.

Key trail – Cala Sycamore: While this could be the closest path to the forest entrance, that doesn't mean it's less impressive. In fact, a Sycamore loop will give you a perfect idea of ​​what you can expect in Pisgah without having to travel for an hour, or hammering a gravel road for 2. It has interesting climbs, super fast and fun descents, and many roots and Rhodos To keep you honest. You can have fun driving it in any direction, and you can keep your trip short and sweet or connect to Black Mountain and the rest of the PNF for a much bigger adventure.

Dupont State Recreational Forest
Where Pisgah brings technical warmth to the region, Dupont is well known for what is usually a more fluid experience. You can still expect to find many massive slabs to play and rhododendron tunnels to attack, but the field here is a little softer than you will find in Pisgah. There are a handful of trails that provide the kind of experience that will satisfy those looking to get loose in noisy and technical terrain, but in general, the trails in Dupont will be more appropriate for a wider range of skill levels and do not require the same. kind of time commitment that some of the best walks in Pisgah require. In addition, the best sunrises and sunsets in the region can be experienced at the intersection of the Big Rock and Cedar Rock trails.

Key Trail – Cedar Rock: Compete with Heaven & # 39; s Bench in East Burke, VT, for the most photographed trail section of the East Coast (no need to verify that … just take my word), Cedar Rock can and should be experienced in both addresses . It is a path that is loved by cyclists at an intermediate and higher skill level, as there are numerous sections of the trail that allow some creative opportunities of line and space, while never becoming especially difficult for those who seek to keep things tidy. on two wheels

Key Trail – Burned Mountain: This is my personal favorite trail in Dupont, and specifically when I drive it clockwise. This direction makes it a fairly pleasant ascent during the first 15 minutes, with a handful of sections that actually break the ascent with rapid descents and natural features. Once you reach the top in this direction, everything is downhill from there, starting with some loose and flat corners, a handful of rocks to jump and trees to jump, before the last 300 meters become much steeper and much louder. That section is a glorious combination of thousands of roots scattered on a pile of rock slabs, with a little dirt filling the gaps.

Key Trail – Ridgeline: Ridgeline is a fast and ultra-fluid descent near the beginning of the Dupont Imaging Lake trail. It lacks any technical feature, but offers some excellent corners and many doubles and rollers to make some shapes. A favorite among beginner and intermediate runners, it's worth checking out if you've never been to Dupont, regardless of your skill set.


Brevard may be in southwestern North Carolina, but it is still in the mountains, so it is definitely subject to 4 different seasons. That said, it is much more comfortable in winter compared to the northeast and many of the western states. The summers here are warm, but the numerous water wells scattered throughout the area make it a fun and easy way to stay cool after (or during) a long trip. Spring and autumn are the best conditions, with sticky soil, comfortable temperatures and beautiful colors. You can call this place a place to ride throughout the year, but it is subject to occasional snow and ice storms, and definitely freeze-thaw cycles, so ask and make sure you don't destroy the trails before riding them.

This place receives a lot of rain, so always pack properly. It can be quite cold at night, even during the warmer months, so a hat and one or two warm layers is never a bad idea.

Bicycle tips:

You don't need a downhill bike here, but anything from a super enduro platform to a totally rigid decision is at stake in another way. For much of PNF, I think you will want something that is not a bear to climb, and that allows you to enjoy what can often be fast, rough and noisy descents. Most of Dupont can be mounted on a short or less travel platform, although some lines and trails could guarantee something with a bit more overwhelming and progressive geometry.

I spent my week alone with my Pivot Switchblade, a 29er with 135 mm of travel in the rear and 160 mm in the front. I wanted some efficiency for the many miles of climbing I would be doing, but I also needed something that could handle the natural and man-made blows, the high speeds in irregular sections and hundreds of curves without curves. I was very happy with my decision all week.

Local clubs and defenders:

Pisgah Area SORBA is a nonprofit, volunteer-based organization focused on advocating quality trails and fostering relationships with various land managers in the areas of Brevard, Hendersonville and Asheville.

Elizabeth Jackson is a Brevard store that currently works on something that will have a significant impact on the recreational landscape of Brevard and its surroundings, and involves a huge covered bicycle park throughout the year.

The views inside the forest are as beautiful as those outside.

Places like Squatch Bikes and Brews and The Hub combine first-class service with first-class beer selections.

Food and accommodation:

I spent my week in the city sleeping on top of Pilot Cove, a beautiful collection of cabins located at the entrance of the Pisgah National Forest. They offer plenty of space, fast Wi-Fi, full kitchens and laundry rooms, and perfectly complement their impressive mountain environment. These are an excellent option if you have a group of friends to help divide costs with a family.

There are also numerous hotel options, including the venerable Sunset Motel, a renovated property that pays homage to the accommodations of the 50s and 60s while offering all the modern comforts you can ask for. Airbnb properties are also abundant, and there are a handful of other bike-specific lodging options, such as The Bike Farm, as well as many camping opportunities.

The food in and around the city is amazing. Certainly, you can delight in southern and barbeque staple foods, but Brevard has much more to offer to people looking for clean and creative meal options.

Crank Coffee is located inside Sycamore Cycles near the entrance to the Pisgah National Forest. They offer baked goods, coffee and espresso, and really tasty smoothies.
The Velvet Cup Coffee Truck offers incredible coffee and espresso, fruit smoothies and an amazing custom made donut.
Sunrise Cafe is a Brevard breakfast institution.

Food Matters Market is a perfect place to have a fresh sandwich to go if you plan to go on an all-day adventure. You can also buy groceries if you need to stock up on supplies.
Carolina-style barbecue is my favorite type of barbecue. Blue Smoke BBQ is a must and you can check their Facebook page to keep up with the location of your food truck.

The Square Root is a great place to sort it out a little without feeling that you are taking out a second mortgage when the bill arrives at the table. Great drink and wine selection too.
Jordan Street Cafe has an excellent menu and selection of drinks, and is a staple every time you visit.
Magpie Meat and Three will leave you speechless with its smoked meats and barbecue. Also his semolina and his fritters. Also all

Local bicycle shops:

Brevard is home to three bike shops that will help you keep moving on your trip here:
The Hub and Pisgah Tavern
Sycamore and crank coffee cycles
Squatch Bikes and Brews

Other tips:

one) Get ready for a skills park and land breaks throughout the year.! February 1 arrives at The Riveter area, the bicycle park and the climbing gym that will feature an almost 19,000 square foot covered bicycle park that will open year-round! There are another 2-3 acres of land that will be used for progressive jump lines and trails to fit all skills. The "bicycle park canopy" will feature 3 separate jump lines, a youth skills area and more. In addition to all this, there will be child care for members, a bar, a yoga studio, meeting space and much more. This will change the landscape of much of the adventure and bicycle community in Brevard and beyond. The Riveter is a creation of Elizabeth Jackson, a Brevard local, and I'm excited to go south again this winter to see this place firsthand!
2) Brevard offers many more adventure opportunities beyond the bicycle. Brevard is truly an integral outdoor paradise. Whitewater, climbing, waterfalls, fly fishing and more are offered, and presented in a first class manner. Take time on your trip to include some adventures off the bike. Here is a useful website to help.
3) Check out the farmers market. This is an amazing way to support local farmers and artisans, while trying some tasty local products and products. Transylvania Farmer & # 39; s Market is open every Saturday throughout the year, with schedules that change according to the season. You can find it in downtown Brevard, near East Main Street, behind Comporium, at the corner of Jordan and Johnson streets.

Mountain biking trails in Brevard

Mountain biking trails in Dupont State Forest


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