Trail Running in and around Asheville, NC (Beer City, USA)

Destination Dirt logoSituated between some of the most stunning and tallest peaks in the Appalachian Mountains is a city that has become known as Beer City, USA. Sitting near 2,200 feet altitude, Asheville, NC is a thriving city of artists, musicians, adventurers, and most notably craft-beer brewers. In fact, Asheville has more breweries per capita than any other city in the United States with the number of breweries currently at 11 and still growing. This number doesn’t even include the other numerous craft breweries that dot the smaller towns surrounding the city. Asheville is also famous for popular tourist attractions such as the Biltmore House (the biggest private home in America) and the beautiful and winding Blue Ridge Parkway that flows right through the city.

Did we mention that Asheville has trails, too? And a lot of them at that. Within a 30-minute radius of the city, you have access to 500-plus miles of trail including the Appalachian Trail, North Carolina’s Mountains-to-Sea Trail, and Great Smoky Mountains National Park (This place is a destination in its own right.). This is thanks to the city being surrounded by the Pisgah National Forest, a 500,000-plus-acre forest of cascading waterfalls, southern balds, and rugged mountain terrain. Elevations around the city range from 1,400 feet all the way up to near 6,700 feet and the weather offers virtually year round trail running.

Due to the immensity of miles of trail surrounding the city, we will showcase the best easy, moderate, and advanced trail runs for both west of Asheville and east of Asheville. We will also showcase a local beer to enjoy after completing each run and include a list of good eateries and places to pick up some gear while in town. If you are looking for something a bit more epic while visiting, a couple of incredibly scenic and tough challenge runs are included as well. Finally, if you’d like to learn more about all that is Asheville, look no further than these additional resources.

Mount Mitchell - Asheville

View from trail near the top of Mt. Mitchell. Photo: Isaiah Mostellar

West of Asheville

Easy – Mountains-to-Sea Trail (Asheville Section)

Located within in the city and paralleling the Blue Ridge Parkway is the Asheville Section of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, a long-distance trail that stretches from Clingman’s Dome on the North Carolina/Tennessee border all the way to the Outer Banks of North Carolina about 1,000 miles away. This section is about 13 miles of rolling wooded terrain between the Folk Art Center and the French Broad River. There aren’t any climbs over 500 feet and the footing is mostly buffed to mildly technical with roots creeping across the trail. Park at one of the many pull offs on the parkway and go out for whatever mile out and back you are feeling for the day.

Insider’s Scoop: This trail is heavily used by locals so don’t be surprised to see multiple other runners, hikers, and their dogs. Be careful when crossing the parkway as well.

Beer: Head over to Highland Brewing afterward to enjoy the smooth and easy-drinking Gaelic Ale. This amber ale is a classic around the Southeast.

Moderate – Appalachian Trail to Big Bald

Just a 30-minute drive out of town and right off of Interstate 26, the Appalachian Trail crosses the interstate at Sam’s Gap. There is a nice parking area here to access the most iconic trail in the United States. The section to Big Bald (5,514 feet) is incredible and the views from the mountain are hard to beat anywhere. The trail from Sam’s Gap to Big Bald is pretty smooth most of the way and is a rolling uphill climb as it passes through open fields and woodlands. Big Bald is about 6.5 miles from the parking lot, making this out-and-back about 13 miles with nearly 3,500 feet of gain.

Big Bald - Asheville

The author across Big Bald. Photo: Mike Jackson/Adam Hill

Insider’s Scoop: There are multiple springs to fill up your water bottle along the route, so all you would need is one handheld. Make sure to bring a source of water treatment.

Beer: Located in Asheville’s downtown River Arts District, The Wedge is a great place to sit outside and relax if the weather is nice. We suggest trying their ever-so-popular Iron Rail IPA, a delectably intriguing IPA with a strong citrus flavor and a nice hop finish.

Advanced – Shut-In Trail

The Shut-In Trail is a very famous local trail that heads right out of West Asheville and climbs 5,200 feet over 18.5 miles of extremely beautiful singletrack. This trail is also a section of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail and hugs the parkway for most of the run. Don’t let the proximity of the parkway make you think that this run won’t feel remote. Once on the trail you won’t even notice the parkway until you have to cross it. The trail winds around steep coves, switchbacks up many shorter peaks, and offers some expansive views on its journey to the the parking lot for the summit trail to Mount Pisgah (5,722 feet). The first half of the trail is fairly smooth and extremely runnable. After halfway, the grades become a bit steeper and the terrain becomes much more rocky. This run is a western North Carolina classic and there has been a race held on this trail for 30-plus years called the Shut-In Ridge Run. This race is old school and still requires a paper registration.

Note: This run would require some sort of a shuttle.

Shut-In Trail - Asheville

A few local runners on the early miles of the Shut-In Trail. Photo: Tim Weed

Insider’s Scoop: Due to the fact that the trail crosses the parkway on numerous occasions, you can drop aid for yourself before you start your run. Also, if you have made it all the way to the Mount Pisgah parking lot, why not continue on up the summit trail to the top? A wooden deck and 360-degree views await at the summit. Just don’t mind that massive radio tower up there with you.

Beer: The best place to fuel back up after a long day on the trail would definitely be Asheville Pizza and Brewing Company. This place makes some of the best pizza in town as well as beer. While there, you can’t go wrong with the Ninja Porter. But don’t let the high IBV sneak up on you!

East of Asheville

Easy – Warren Wilson College Trail System

Just a few minutes east of Asheville rests the pastoral landscape of Warren Wilson College. A college most known for its sustainable agricultural programs, it also includes quite possibly the best gentle trails in the region. Landscapes that the trail system crosses consist of flat river banks, comfy hardwood forest, and open rolling pastures that offer amazing views of the Swannanoa River Valley. The three must-do trails in the system are the River Trail, Suicide Ridge, and the Dam Pasture Trails. A loop of about seven miles can be made by adding a few other trails to those mentioned above. Here is a link to the map of the system.

Insider’s Scoop: These trails are privately owned so follow the rules and park only in designated areas. Be respectful of the college’s generosity in sharing these trails with the public.

Beer: Just a short drive from the college is a brewery known for its delicious variety of organically brewed ales, the Pisgah Brewery. While there, we would suggest indulging in the Pisgah Pale Ale. This beer is very crisp and clean on the palate (Hey, it’s organic.), but if you happen to be there during the right part of the year you cannot pass up the Valdez. This coffee stout is made with locally roasted coffee and might be the best coffee stout we’ve ever tasted.

Moderate – Graybeard Trail/ Montreat College

Nestled in between two prominent ridges is the small Montreat College. The college owns most of the valley it sits in all the way to the peaks and has made some of the best trails in the area on their land and they are open to the public for free! The best trail in the 20-ish-mile system by far is the Graybeard Trail. From the trailhead the trail follows along a creek as it makes its ascent up the mountain until it joins into a section of trail known as the trestle switchbacks. This section is absolutely stunning and a joy to run. The grade is about 3% for almost two miles as the trail utilizes four long switchbacks to get up the mountain. After the switchbacks the trail becomes technical and steep all the way to the summit. A nice view of the Black Mountain Range awaits at the top of this 5,408-foot peak. Total climb for this 11-mile out-and-back is about 2,500 feet. The trail is very technical other than on the switchbacks, with many big rocks and roots in the trail. More info on the area and a trail map can be found here.

Graybeard Trail - Asheville

View from Graybeard Mountain towards the Black Mountains. Photo: Tim Weed

Insider’s Scoop: If you are looking for a bit more adventure on your descent we would suggest returning to the trailhead by taking the West Ridge Trail down the infamous Seven Sisters Ridge. Warning!!!! This trail is not recommended for the faint of heart or those with weak ankles as it is obscenely technical and very steep. Once you reach the junction with the Big Piney Trail, take a left and follow it down to the road you drove up on to reach the trailhead and then turn left and follow the road back to your car.

Beer: After bounding your way down the trail, travel over to the French Broad Brewery and get your taste buds jumping with the Rye Hopper Ale. This rye beer has an earthy flavor that is well balanced with a nice hoppy character (Excuse the pun.).

Advanced – Mount Mitchell/ Buncombe Horse Ridge Trail Loop

If you aren’t to go the tourist route and drive up to the summit of the tallest peak east of the Rockies, we would suggest this remarkable 20-mile loop to reach the top of Mount Mitchell (6,684 feet). Starting from the Black Mountain Campground, begin heading 3,700 vertical feet up the Mount Mitchell Trail to the summit. During the first 6.5 miles you will leave the typical southern hardwood forest and transition into a spruce pine forest.

Once you have huffed and puffed your way to the summit, enjoy the views from a very-well-made viewing platform. Make sure to pay respects to the mountain’s namesake as you pass by his grave at the summit. After you have soaked in one of the grandest views you have ever seen, it is time to head back down the mountain. Begin to follow the Camp Alice Trail down to the Buncombe Horse Ridge Trail. Once you reach this trail you can really open up your stride as it is almost perfectly flat for the next three miles, but soon enough you will begin a super-fun descent back down to a gravel road. At the gravel road, turn left and follow it all the way back to the campground. Make sure to dip your toes and aching quads into the Toe River once you finish.

Mount Mitchell Summit - Asheville

Some members of WNC Trail Runners at the summit of Mt. Mitchell. Photo: Isaiah Mostellar

Insider’s Scoop: After summiting Mitchell, there is a restaurant about a mile down an alternate trail called the Old Mitchell Trail. Bring some cash and enjoy some lunch after a hard climb. After stuffing your face, head back the way you came to Camp Alice Trail and then follow the same route above back.

Beer: Located right in downtown Asheville is one of the older breweries in the city, Green Man Brewery. Its brewpub, Jack of the Wood, is a popular hangout and offers a quality selection of beers. We would suggest trying the Green Man ESB. This beer is very well balanced with a dry finish.

Challenge Runs

 Art Loeb Trail

The Art Loeb Trail is a famous long-distance hiking trail that begins in Brevard, NC (30 minutes away from Asheville) and crosses the bald ridgelines of the 6,000-plus-foot Black Balsams. This trail is a true test as it climbs 9,000 feet on its 30.1-mile journey. The views from the trail are incredible, making this run as scenic as it is tough. Plan to carry all your food and water for the entire trip as there aren’t many places to drop aid other than on the parkway (which is usually closed during the winter) about 18 miles in. The trail is pretty technical the entire way and expect to finish this one in a range of seven to 12 hours depending on your ability.

Note: Once the trail enters the Shining Rock Wilderness there are no more blazes and following the trail can get confusing, especially at the intersections. Make sure to carry a map and beware of the trickiest intersection at Shining Rock Gap. A little more info can be found here.

Art Loeb Trail - Asheville

Local runner Kevin Lane during a recent winter traverse of the Art Loeb Trail. Photo: Matt Kirk


Birthed from the mind of local running legend Adam Hill, this popular FKT route is 67 miles, includes 16,000 feet of elevation gain, and is run between two of Asheville’s most iconic peaks, Mount Pisgah to the southwest and Mount Mitchell to the northeast. Other than the first 1.5 miles on the Mount Pisgah Summit trail, this route is fully run on the singletrack of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail. If you can tell by the numbers this run is not easy, but logistics and aid can be since the trail crosses or comes near the parkway at least every seven miles. The first 34 miles are mostly downhill as it follows the Shut-In and Asheville sections of the MST, but still has about 5,000 feet of gain. The rest of that 16,000 feet of total gain comes in the last 33 miles up to Mitchell. The trail is moderately technical the entire way and includes long climbs and short-but-steep descents as it roller coasters its way to the top of the east coast. The fastest known time on this route is 13:28 by another local legend, Mark Lundblad. More information on this run can be found here.

Pritchell - Asheville

Kevin Lane heading over Lane Pinnacle during a successful Pitchell attempt. Photo: Matt Kirk


Asheville is also well known for having excellent and abundant eateries and below are some of our less expensive favorites.

Asheville Pizza and Brewing Company – As mentioned earlier, this place has some of the best pizza and beer in town.

Tupelo Honey Cafe – Come here to try a delicate twist on traditional southern cuisine.

White Duck Taco Shop – A great, inexpensive place near the Wedge Brewery to chow down on some unique and delicious taco creations.


Below are a few great local places if you are in need of running gear. Most of the employees have good info to share on other local trails as well.

Jus’ Running

Black Mountain Running Company


Additional Resources

WNC Trail Runners – A great resource of very friendly trail runners that put on some stellar fun runs (fat ass) in western North Carolina.

HikeWNC – This site has good descriptions of almost all trails in the area and beyond, including maps and GPS files.

Bent Creek Experimental Forest – The Bent Creek Area is probably the most popular mountain biking and running location in Asheville. It has myriad trails and forest-service roads and was not included above because it would have been difficult to explain a loop to meet the criteria of any easy, moderate, or advanced trail run. Pick up a map locally and go explore this place on your own.

Art’s Hiking Maps (Mountains-to-Sea Trail) – A collection of detailed maps of the mountain sections of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail.

Explore Asheville – A resource containing other great eateries, lodging, and things to do while staying in Beer City USA.

Blue Ridge Outdoors – This free publication includes a ton of other things to do outside in the Blue Ridge Mountains besides just running.

National Geographic Trails Illustrated Maps #779 and #780 include most trails mentioned in the article.

Call for Comments (from Meghan)

  • Have you visited Beer City, USA, er, Asheville? If so, what are your favorite beers, er, regional trails?
  • Have we missed describing your favorite Asheville trail, brewery, restaurant, or resource? Let us know what you love in the comments section!

[Editor’s Note: The preceding was written by Brandon Thrower. Brandon is is an ultrarunner, physical education teacher, and a “fun run” race director living in the foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains in North Carolina. You can follow his adventures in western NC and beyond at]

There are 51 comments

  1. Emil

    Thanks so much for this! I've been thinking of planning a trail running 'vacation' to Brevard for a while now, mostly to one shot the Art Loeb.

  2. Cheryl Lloyd

    Did you know that Asheville is also the home of ChiRunning Founder, Danny Dreyer? Asheville is indeed a beautiful town where the entire ChiRunning / ChiWalking Instructor body consisting of nearly 200 ChiRunning Instructors from all over the world are invited to come spend a weekend running and learning from Danny in November. It's where all Instructor trainings are held and is also where the small parent company, ChiLiving, is. Thank you for highlighting Asheville. It's a hidden, unknown jewel that you won't be sorry you visited!

  3. Mike Hinterberg

    Thanks Brandon, great stuff!

    My wife and I enjoyed a visit there several years ago and really liked the town, and enjoyed Asheville Pizza and Brewing (looks like it would be a fun place to see a movie) and Jack of the Wood, both of which you mentioned. Sounds like there are a lot more breweries now, and didn't know about all those trails closer to town that you mentioned, so this is a good resource. Driving outside of town, I really liked Sliding Rock (natural rock water slide) near Brevard, that's a cool trip and pretty fun, and then we went to Tsali Rec area, which has an IMBA epic mt. bike trail — great flowy smooth singletrack and worth the trip. Not sure about the rules for running, I remember there was some alternate-use day policy for different trails, but it's the type of trail better suited in it's flow for mt. biking, IMHO, so it's worth checking out for some x-training fun, with bike rentals nearby.

    Enjoy your beautiful corner of the world! Looks like a great place to live and explore.

    1. Brandon

      Mike, thanks for the comments and they actually have a race out at Tsali called the Frosty Foot 50k, which is usually held in January.

  4. Doug K

    ran the shut-in trail ridge run a couple of times, once black ice closed the parkway so we had to cut the run short too..

    it's a great trail, loved the run.

    hiked over the Big Bald once and got caught by early storms, lightning out of a clear sky, the most scared I've ever been on a trail..

    New Belgium Brewery (Fat Tire and excellent seasonal beers) is also opening in Asheville this year.

    I'd live there if I could afford it.. ha.

  5. Joey

    Great article, Asheville seems like an awesome place to live.

    What part or parts of town would you say are best for a trail runner to live? Are there any neighborhoods that have easy access (walking distance, preferably) to downtown Asheville or a downtown-ish area (ie. with a grocery store, some night life, etc.) and also provide easy/daily access to trails without having to drive to a trailhead (ie. no more than a mile or two from a good trail system)?

  6. Paul

    Enjoyed reading about Asheville. One of my favorite places. I do take to heart Beer City, USA though. As it is a great city for beer, I don't think it deserves the title Beer City, USA. Beer City, NC or even Beer City of the East I think would be ok. I believe Portland, OR has the Beer City, USA wrapped up. We have over 30 breweries here in Portland, and looking at Asheville I believe there are about 10-12. I know Asheville won the title through an online vote though. So will just live our life out here in Portland walking to more breweries than imaginable

  7. Chris

    They are way too proud of that online poll. Lovingly, they are "little sisters of the poor" so to speak. My friends live there and it is almost cute how they think they are 'beer city'…

  8. Jason

    I used to live in Asheville and certainly miss it. While there, I coached XC on the south side of town and we ran most every day in the Bent Creek Recreation Area and UNC Arboretum. These are both great places to access the trails of the Pisgah NF and the Shut-In Ridge Trail. I've been lucky enough to run both Shut In and the Mt. Mitchell Challenge (once each), but would love to do so again.

    Some other great trails are north near Hot Springs (a destination in it's own right) and south near Brevard (Mills River are and Dupont Forest). Maybe someone still local knows, but I seem to remember reading that the legendary coach, Jack Daniels, had moved to Brevard and was coaching at the college?? Is that true?

    Also, another great food/beer spot is Barley's Taproom…located right downtown.

    1. Jay Curwen

      Jack Daniels was here for a while, coaching the Tornadoes in Brevard…I understood he moved here more for health reasons…possibly for his wife…

      In any event, coach Daniels left and returned to Flagstaff early this past summer…Norm Witek and Thomas Cason are back coaching the track and xc programs at Brevard…

      Jay C.

  9. Dusty

    Joey..absolutely! West Asheville. It is 5 minutes from downtown but has its own commercial corridor (Haywood Rd) that has a Main Street feel and packed with amenities. Grocery stores, natural organic markets, pubs, restaurants, organic bakeries, coffee roasters and shops, a thriving weekly tailgate market with local farmers, microbreweries, tattoo parlors, record shops, etc. Leafy community-centric neighborhoods radiate around Haywood which make them all very conducive to walkers, runners, etc. to go from their homes to the commercial area on foot.

    The largest city parks along the French Broad River (along with a growing riverside greenway system) are here in West AVL and we are also the closest in the city (a quick 5-10 minute drive) to the city's trail running mecca of Bent Creek /Mountains to Sea/Shut In, etc. Men's Journal named us as the Best Neighborhood in the Southeast 4 years ago and we have grown and improved immensely even since it was published. Definitely worth exploring…we have lived on this side of town since 2008 and love every minute of it!

    [Broken link to Men’s Journal removed]

  10. Dusty

    I agree that Portland has some decent beer but I think also it's worth pointing out that although a dozen current breweries may seem paltry, Asheville is a mountain town with a population hovering around 80,000…not a full fledged city with more than a half million people like Portland. So I think the per capita element probably helps to drive to Asheville's beer reputation. Also, it says something when the largest and most successful national craft breweries decide to open their second breweries in Asheville (New Belgium and Sierra Nevada…also CO's Oskar Blues).

  11. Jay Curwen

    While Portland certainly has the quantity…and the heritage…for the title…Asheville is not to be discredited…with 19 craft breweries, Sierra Nevada, Oskar Blues (Brevard) and New Belgium all in the area…

    in terms of population –

    Asheville – 84,000… craft option for every 4400 people.

    Portland – 593,000…one craft option for every 17,000 people.

    So, while I enjoy Portland…and it's big city feel…I will take the trails and pints, easily found and enjoyed in my cute hometown…

    Jay C.

      1. Chris

        I find it funny that Asheville claims a brewery from California (Sierra Nevada) and one from Colorado (New Belgium) in their list of 12.

        Also remember that all those great hops that make your IPA so great…they come from the Northwest…

          1. Chris

            Well played, Rick, well played :) Unlike many (or ALL politicians), I will both answer your question and give you credit for making a point! I am from Virginia, specifically in the mountains. I did, however, choose to live in Oregon.

            I suppose I made the leap of thinking 'local' where that was not in the discussion. My error.

            I, for one, think Beer City, USA and Beervana, USA should partner up as Sistah Cities! ;) Happy running this weekend.

  12. Matt Frazier

    Thanks for this! I moved to Asheville last year and have explored the Bent Creek trails a bit, but really haven't taken advantage of all the trail running Asheville has to offer. The beer is a different story…

  13. A Keller

    As a native western North Carolinian concerned about overcrowding, I must emphasize that Asheville is a terrible town with lousy trails, worse breweries, and mean people. Please don't move there. ;-)

    1. Chris

      I totally understand. These articles are both good and bad. Every magazine or top 10 makes me uneasy. I'd rather places like Asheville stay under the radar. There are simply too few places like it left that haven't been taken over! Thanks for the post!

  14. Thad

    Having lived near Asheville for 58 years i have to agree that there is only plentiful bad beer, no eateries or bars to walk into downtown every 3 steps.

    There are not many places to ride fixed gear Mtn Bikes or races such as PMBAR.

    It is so bad i think ill just register for Cradle to Grave and make myself go to the new Wicked Weed Brewery and force down another Oak Wood casked Bourbon Stout..yuck..

    Oh and then maybe tomorrow ill go run with Kellie as she is tapering for Black Mtn Marathon, she moved here from Portland and prefers to stay here, pitiful as we are.

    Cheers to the beer and i have enjoyed visiting Portland its a nice great big city

  15. Anonymous

    Good article however the MTS section you first write about is East (not West) Asheville as it is East of the French Broad River, which divides the city. It's one of the reasons I chose to live on the east side of town. I can run from my house to get on either MTS or Warren Wilson trails.

    1. Brandon

      Good point. I was aware that the Asheville section of the MST spans from east to west Asheville, but included it in the west so I could highlight Warren Wilson's trail system as the easy east side trails considering WWC is definitely east of Asheville, while the MST runs right through Asheville.

  16. Aaron K

    Woods is that you? Watch it or I'll carpetbag my way into Boone next and start a brewery or something. You guys have any local beers worth drinking these days?

  17. Scott

    I've been trying to get the family to move to Asheville for years. Something about having to have a job and can't be all about "my" running. gees. They're probably right. I'd spend so much time on those trails I'd probably look like Anton within a year.

    If ya'll want/need a project manager and need him to relocate I'm your guy!

  18. adam

    I ran the River Trail and Dam Pasture trails today. There was easy access to parking and it was a nice change of pace from my usual routes through Umstead (in Raleigh). Afterwards I went to the Asheville Brewery (on Coxe) because it was within walking distance to my hotel. The beer was great but the food was inedible. It was so bad that I couldn't even choke it down, so I left and went to Tupelo Honey Cafe and had great beer AND food!

  19. Blake

    Thanks for publishing this. I moved to Asheville a year and a half ago, and I've been mostly sticking to the Mountains-to-Sea trail west of the river and east of the Folk Art Center. Epic running and almost never anyone else on it. I don't understand why everyone crowds into Bent Creek…

  20. askasheville

    Awesome post with lots of info and great photos. Folk are always asking me for trail info like this. Scheduling it to go out on the AskAsheville Facebook Page later today. Thank you for sharing.

  21. whatda

    Beer City??? Please check your sources before writing an article. Great information on the city and trails, but not even close with the breweries. If you checked your information before writing you would notice the city of Grand Rapids, MI has beat out Asheville for the last 2 years.

    1. Meghan Hicks


      Using the 'Beer City, USA' moniker was not meant to denigrate the beer qualities of Grand Rapids, MI or any other town that goes big with craft beer. As you know, Asheville is very well known for its craft breweries and has previously been awarded the 'Beer City, USA' nickname through the annual online poll. Using the nickname in this article was only meant to help readers understand that Ashville-ites in part define themselves by their high-quality beer making. Thanks for reading.

  22. Hoteluri Felix

    Can I just say what a relief to find someone that really knows what they
    are discussing over the internet. You definitely know how to bring an issue to light and make it important.
    More people need to read this and understand this side of your story.

    I was surprised that you’re not more popular because you most certainly
    have the gift.

  23. Brian

    Thanks for a great list! Just returned from Asheville and followed these awesome suggestions, starting with the 13 miles of the AT, then a rainy Greybeard Mtn (I didn’t do the Seven Sisters due to the rain), and finishing my last two days with two 10+ mile sections of the MTS. Definitely a great week of running, and I couldn’t have done it without your suggestions. Very much appreciated!

  24. Kristi

    We just ran/hiked the Appalachian Trail to Big Bald. The discription, length and gain were exactly as stated. The trail & views were SO beautiful and well worth the effort. Thanks for the suggestion, we plan on picking out a few more off this site.

  25. Michael Dickson

    Pisgah is full of great trails, including those mentioned. Bent Creek too, as mentioned.

    I am often in Cedar Mountain (45-60 minutes from Asheville, depending on traffic) and for convenience from there (or Brevard in fact) you cannot beat Dupont State Forest. The trails there are not nearly as epic as, say, Shut-in or Mt. Mitchell, but they are very accessible and excellent for short to medium-length runs and the area is pretty with several waterfalls and some good views, especially from the top of Big Rock (a trail). I’ve even strung together a 50K ‘tour’ of the forest that hits many of the highlights and manages to get in around 4K of ascent, with some technical sections. If you are in that area, it is worth a visit. There is terrain for all abilities, from relatively flat to rolling to steep climbing. (No real scrambling, though.)

Post Your Thoughts