Once again I find myself "stumbling" upon a completely well-known place. Brevard is probably one of the most talked about mountain biking destination in the Southeast but somehow I didn't know this. I'm glad I was able to ride these trails

The Trails of Brevard are frequently compared to Slickrock in Utah
Day: 20
Miles: 2,900

Thank goodness for friendly locals. I almost missed this place! Brevard, located in south-western North Carolina, is a favorite mountain biking destination for people across the south. This is because of two massive parks which offer some hundreds of miles of singletrack. Pisgah National Forest is unusually friendly to the rough and tumble mountain biking crowd and many of the trails are open to fat tires. Dupont State Forest also is completely mountain biking friendly and has trails that are moderately technical and great for cross country style riding. All of this new knowledge is due to some new friends in Brevard and The Hub - a mountain biking outfitter and tavern. Missing this would be a travel travesty!

It would take months or perhaps a lifetime to really explore this entire area. I had to limit myself to highlights. The staff at the Hub was completely open about everything in the area; I felt like a local. Ever thankful for the insider knowledge, I settled on checking out Dupont State Forest first. Pisgah NF would have to wait until the next time I came back.... hopefully soon!

The great trail up Big Rock
Starting at the Corn Mill Shoals Trailhead, I had several good loop options. This is the southwestern portion of the park that was the most recommended area. By the way, you will really need a good map for this area because there are perhaps a hundred miles of trails. All of them were well marked and easy to follow. So I took off on the Burnt Mountain loop which was a 2.2 mile loop. This was an excellent start! I went in a clockwise direction which had a moderate climb and a sharp decent. The bike shop folks told me this would be a moderately technical trail to a somewhat-experienced rider like myself. There were a few sections that I needed to walk but I had no shame. On other sections I was rocketing right along. I didn't even mind the steep ascents!

Well-maintained single track.
Next up was the Big Rock Loop which is a few miles of challenging singletrack. This trail is best done in a counter clockwise fashion but you'll see people doing it both ways. Either way you take it will involve the most amount of slickrock that you can get on a single run. The trails are beautifully marked and maintained. While there aren't as many of the tight turns and jumps, the challenge lies in the steep up-and-downs as well as the sections with lots of tree roots. Its a bumpy ride in some sections! When I finally made it to the top I was greeted with a magnificent view of the southern highlands. It was a nice lunch spot. Coming down was another roller coaster. I couldn't believe it was only 12 o'clock

I decided to try out the trails around Fawn Lake and Lake Julia for a change of pace. These trails are mostly wider and less steep but there are a few points of interest. Fawn Lake is within 20 minutes of the parking area and is a great swimming hole on a hot day. Further up the trail is the Airline trail which curiously crosses an old landing strip before descending down some twisted singletrack. That and Big Rock were my favorites. Lake Julia is a larger lake that has padding and swimming opportunities. It would be difficult for me to recreate all the trails I did in this section because they are numerous and maze-like. I needed to check the map as frequently as possible.
Coming in for a landing?
Canoes looked tempting!
Nice view from the overlook above Bridalveil Falls

My last rides of the day were the Laural Ridge and Mine Mountain loops which were middle of the pack in difficulty. The ascent was pretty tough and there were a lot of fallen branches slowing the pace. However it was a gentle descent which cooled me down.

All in all, I think I might have seen an 1/8th of the park? It isn't a wonder that the hardcore biking scene adores this park so much. I headed back to the Hub for a beer before leaving. The locals were so friendly and helpful that it was tough to get on the road again.

Read. Plan. Get Out There!