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Suggestions for gravel and dirt roads around Asheville, NC

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Suggestions for gravel and dirt roads around Asheville, NC

Old 03-19-21, 10:00 AM
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Suggestions for gravel and dirt roads around Asheville, NC

I'll be in the Asheville, NC area soon for a bit and have the opportunity to bring along my Warbird. I'm wondering if anyone is familiar with the area and has tips on the best dirt roads to hit? I'm not looking for great technical challenges, more just places where I can get good scenery, and a good workout without too many cars. Compared to what I'm used to in SE MI, gravelmap looks a bit sparse so I'm hoping Bike Forums has some tips!
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Old 03-19-21, 11:11 AM
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Perhaps you can also check Strava heat maps (if you are a subscriber).
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Old 03-19-21, 11:56 AM
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Countless good places to ride in Pisgah, which is just southwest of Asheville.


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Old 03-20-21, 06:11 AM
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Hopefully someone with first hand riding experience can help you because that kind of recommendation is the best. An alternative if you don't find it, is ridewithgps.com. I found great routes when I was new to a cycling area. There are sometimes photos and descriptions which make it more informative. Happy Riding.
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Old 03-22-21, 08:05 PM
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Originally Posted by blakcloud
Hopefully someone with first hand riding experience can help you because that kind of recommendation is the best. An alternative if you don't find it, is ridewithgps.com. I found great routes when I was new to a cycling area. There are sometimes photos and descriptions which make it more informative. Happy Riding.
For the record, my recommendation is based on firsthand experience.
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Old 03-23-21, 06:58 AM
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Originally Posted by sarhog
For the record, my recommendation is based on firsthand experience.
That's the kind of information that should have been added to your first post. Adding four words "I've ridden this route" would have been more helpful that the stupid wtf emoji that you added above. This is why I am losing patience with BF. Nobody can be just helpful, there always has to be a dig.
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Old 03-23-21, 07:26 AM
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Originally Posted by blakcloud
That's the kind of information that should have been added to your first post. Adding four words "I've ridden this route" would have been more helpful that the stupid wtf emoji that you added above. This is why I am losing patience with BF. Nobody can be just helpful, there always has to be a dig.
The OP asked for someone familiar with the area to respond with recommendations. I did. Apparently my response didn’t meet your stringent requirements.
By the way... the “wtf” emoji was for you, not the OP. With that in mind, I believe it was helpful to the readers who are wondering “wtf is wrong with this blakcloud dude”?
P.S. It’s not helpful to tell us you’re losing patience with BF. [insert helpful emoji here]
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Old 03-24-21, 09:20 PM
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Originally Posted by sarhog
Countless good places to ride in Pisgah, which is just southwest of Asheville.
Cool! I guess I'm used to just looking for unpaved residential roads that we ride in Mi. Where is the best spot to park to get into the roads out there? I'm seeing some parking at the NC Arboretum, or maybe some parking areas along the Blue Ridge Parkway?
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Old 03-25-21, 06:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Caliper
Cool! I guess I'm used to just looking for unpaved residential roads that we ride in Mi. Where is the best spot to park to get into the roads out there? I'm seeing some parking at the NC Arboretum, or maybe some parking areas along the Blue Ridge Parkway?
There is parking at Bent Creek, and there is parking as soon as you get on the parkway near the arboretum. I always park at the Pink Beds trail head on Hwy 276, but that wont be very convenient for you if you’re coming from Asheville. If you’re going to ride on the parkway, bring a light. A couple of the tunnels are very long.
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Old 03-25-21, 08:45 AM
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Originally Posted by sarhog
There is parking at Bent Creek, and there is parking as soon as you get on the parkway near the arboretum. I always park at the Pink Beds trail head on Hwy 276, but that wont be very convenient for you if you’re coming from Asheville. If you’re going to ride on the parkway, bring a light. A couple of the tunnels are very long.
Thanks for the tip on the light! I do have one with me.

Is the parking you're mentioning the Bent Creek River Park? I was seeing some rides on Strava starting from the road to the arboretum, but it looked like there was a $16 parking fee?
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Old 03-25-21, 09:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Caliper
Thanks for the tip on the light! I do have one with me.

Is the parking you're mentioning the Bent Creek River Park? I was seeing some rides on Strava starting from the road to the arboretum, but it looked like there was a $16 parking fee?
I got this screen shot from a hiking site, but it talks about the parking. There is free parking along FS road 479. Then you can ride that same forest road up to and under the Blue Ridge Parkway, all the way to Hwy 276 (near Brevard). Disclaimer: FS road 479 will be a climb to get to the parkway crossing.
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Old 03-28-21, 08:55 AM
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Those unpaved roads in Michigan are pretty unique in my experience. The ones near my brother's house were white, so strade bianche
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Old 03-28-21, 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Caliper
I'm seeing some parking at the NC Arboretum, or maybe some parking areas along the Blue Ridge Parkway?
Since you mentioned it, if you have the time, a morning or afternoon at the arboretum is time well spent. It is a beautiful area.
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Old 03-29-21, 10:14 AM
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I live south of Asheville near the arboretum. Caliper , where are you staying? Its not a whole lot of fun to ride out of actual Asheville city, especially in the southern direction. Its one of the reasons (besides home price, lol, its bonkers there) that I didn't buy a house Downtown or West Asheville. I've PMed you some of my favorite gravel routes. I'd post them here, but most of my Strava rides are from my house so I feel a little weird posting my address on the internet for everyone that searches.

Originally Posted by unterhausen
Those unpaved roads in Michigan are pretty unique in my experience. The ones near my brother's house were white, so strade bianche
Yeah, most gravel roads in this area are national forest roads, I'm not aware of any gravel roads that are actually used for traffic in any meaningful capacity. I guess in the great white frozen north they're covered with snow half the year though, so it doesn't matter if they're gravel or paved. In that vein, just be aware that the gravel can be a bit gnarly here in spots, and you'll likely want to go a tad more aggressive on your tire selection than you would otherwise. You don't need a full on mountain bike to hit the gravel in Pisgah, but leave your Extralight Bon Jons at home.

Originally Posted by Caliper
Thanks for the tip on the light! I do have one with me.

Is the parking you're mentioning the Bent Creek River Park? I was seeing some rides on Strava starting from the road to the arboretum, but it looked like there was a $16 parking fee?
Yep, the arboretum costs big dollabills to park, but I'll second the above poster, the NC Arboretum is gorgeous. Bent Creek River Park is right across the street, its free and you can ride in for free, though it tends to flood when it rains and I know several friends that have had their cars broken into in that lot. One of my buddies even had his hitch rack stolen from that lot, so hide and lock your ****. You can park at Rice Pinnacle or the Hard Times Trailhead, but those lots are tiny so make sure you get to the trail early. Past about 9-10am on a nice weekend day and you're screwed. Same deal with Dupont, FWIW, if you go down there.

Also, parkway tunnels are really dark and curvy and traffic can be pretty damn heavy on the parkway in peak season. I'm to the point where I only ride the parts of the parkway with tunnels when the parkway is closed.

Lastly, be careful with the Strava heat maps, there's lots of gated communities around here to keep the poors out and a few of them have roads that look like the hit the parkway, but you can't get in the neighborhood. So do a google streetview before you commit to the route.
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Old 03-29-21, 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted by blakcloud
That's the kind of information that should have been added to your first post. Adding four words "I've ridden this route" would have been more helpful that the stupid wtf emoji that you added above. This is why I am losing patience with BF. Nobody can be just helpful, there always has to be a dig.
Relax man.
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Old 04-04-21, 04:23 AM
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If you do Facebook, there’s a Western North Carolina Gravel Group, “WNC Gravel” that has some good ride info. I used it for a trip I just finished, riding near Asheville and down around Brevard. Pisgah NF has some fine routes.
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Old 04-05-21, 04:57 PM
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Originally Posted by sarhog
Countless good places to ride in Pisgah, which is just southwest of Asheville.


I don't know this route at all but will also be in this area later this year thus this post peeked my interest. I have to say the numbers make this route look really hard. 6500ft climbing over 40 miles is stout! Know what you're capable of riding.
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Old 04-06-21, 06:44 AM
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Originally Posted by balto charlie
I don't know this route at all but will also be in this area later this year thus this post peeked my interest. I have to say the numbers make this route look really hard. 6500ft climbing over 40 miles is stout! Know what you're capable of riding.
Haha, yep. That's a pretty crazy route. I've never strung them all together like that before, but Yellow Gap Road is a big climb and so is Bent Creek Gap Road. In fact, I'd probably ride that route the other way. Maybe ride roads to Brevard, get a coffee and a scone and then hit the gravel for the rest of the day.
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Old 04-06-21, 09:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Phatman
you'll likely want to go a tad more aggressive on your tire selection than you would otherwise.
Are you talking tread, width, or durability, or all three?

I'm moving to Greenville SC this month and already figured that Loup-Loups wouldn't cut it but I'm curious about what you'd recommend.
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Old 04-06-21, 12:35 PM
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Originally Posted by abshipp
Are you talking tread, width, or durability, or all three?

I'm moving to Greenville SC this month and already figured that Loup-Loups wouldn't cut it but I'm curious about what you'd recommend.
All three, well at least tread and durability. You don't need a mountain bike tire, but I killed several Rambler Exos and WTB "Light/Fast Rolling" casings, and I don't think I'd want to run a slick since there's a lot of moisture around here and some of the gravel can be a little soggy. As for width, that's kind of a personal thing I think. I use a 700x38mm that blows up to 40mm and it works pretty well in most situations, though its the biggest that fits in my frame so I haven't tried bigger.

I'm big on the Specialized gravel casing right now, I've used Pathfinders and Tracers and the casings seem burly enough to survive here without being too stiff. The pathfinders have a strange cornering feel that you have to get used to, but the Tracers have been pretty excellent. I kinda want to try the Rambler SilkShield too, some of my friends I ride with have them and they're supposed to be more burly than the Exo casing.

With all that said, I haven't done much riding in Greenville, that's about an hour south of me. It could be different, gravel-wise.
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