biking at Pilot Cove

Best Mountain Biking Near Pilot Cove!

Where to Mountain Bike Near Pilot Cove

Mountain biking isn’t just a great workout. It’s also a preferred way to enjoy the Pisgah National Forest, DuPont State Forest, and the Brevard NC area.

Throughout Transylvania County, there are many excellent mountain biking trails to choose from. Whether you choose an advanced ride or one meant for beginners, it’s recommended not to attempt any of these mountain bike rides without taking a map with you. It can be very easy to become lost if you don’t know where you’re going.

Here’s a look at some of the best mountain biking options found near Pilot Cove, leave the car at your cabin and hop on your bike!

Thrift Cove to Lower Black Mountain to Upper Sycamore Cove

Sycamore Cove, Thrift Cove, and Lower Black Mountain are the closest mountain biking trails to Pilot Cove. Together, this loop runs about seven miles in length. This loop is intermediate in difficulty and is a good introduction to riding in Pisgah National Forest for visitors.

This set of trails is the closest you will find to the bike shops located at the entrance of the Pisgah National Forest. Many locals frequent these trails after work. However, if you choose to go during the day, you can find solitude.

Maxwell to Black Mountain

Another mountain biking trail near Pilot Cove best for intermediate and advanced riders, Maxwell to Black Mountain is good for a longer excursion. It’s a 12 mile ride that will take more than 2 hours for most bikers. It’s known as a classic Pisgah ride with a big climb at the beginning and a portion of the ride on the popular Black Mountain Trail.

Laurel Mountain, Pilot Rock, Squirrel Gap

For those looking to ride for many hours to tackle a challenging ride, the Laurel Mountain, Pilot Rock, Squirrel Gap mountain bike loop is a classic choice. This ride is only for advanced riders and will go for 25 miles. It will take most riders over 5 hours to finish.  It’s considered to be very difficult with steep, rocky descents off Pilot Rock.

Access for this bike ride is found on Turkey Pen Road off NC 280. You’ll find access at the Turkey Pen Trailhead, which is very close to the Transylvania and Henderson County line. The trailhead is approximately 10 minutes from Pilot Cove.

Farlow Gap

Another trip for the advanced rider, the Farlow Gap route is considered one of the most difficult trails in Pisgah National Forest. Advanced riders seek this trail out for its technical rock gardens, stream crossings and beautiful views. If you’re not an advanced rider, this mountain bike ride isn’t for you! Parking for this ride is at the Fish hatchery near the Looking Glass Rock trailhead, about a 10 minute drive from Pilot Cove.

biking adventures 2

Cove Creek To Daniel Ridge

At about 10 miles in length, the Cove Creek to Daniel Ridge mountain bike ride will take more than 2.5 hours to complete. It’s a good ride for intermediate and advanced riders, and can also be tackled by beginners as an introduction to riding in Pisgah National Forest. The ride includes an easier climb up the Cove Creek Trail and a few crossings over streams. There’s a traverse across to Daniel Ridge and you will enjoy the old jeep road, which has become a single-track. You can even enjoy a good swimming hole found at the bottom of Daniel Ridge.

For this ride you’ll also want to park at the Fish Hatchery parking lot.

Clawhammer Road to Avery Creek Trail

An 18-mile ride for the advanced mountain biker, Clawhammer Road to Avery Creek Trail isn’t for the faint of heart. This is a classic Pisgah National Forest mountain biking ride with plenty of challenge and an exhilarating downhill section. This mountain biking ride offers beautiful views with a long fire road climb on gravel.

Parking for this ride is at the Pisgah Ranger Station on US 276, or you can ride directly from Pilot Cove!

Cantrell Creek to Squirrel Gap

This loop offers some history and insight into what Pisgah National Forest was like when it was private property. It’s a 13-mile ride for advanced bikers and will take more than 2.5 hours to complete. You’ll find a chimney that remains from one of the old Vanderbilt lodges, along with a few stream crossings and so much more.

Access for this ride is at the Turkey Pen Trailhead bout 10 minutes from Pilot Cove.

Cove Creek Loop

A bit of an easier mountain bike ride, the Cove Creek Pool is only 7.5 miles long and will take around 90 minutes to complete. It’s a great choice for intermediate riders and even for those experiencing their first ride in the Pisgah National Forest. The loop includes a gravel road climb and some great views from Looking Glass Rock.

This trail is best accessed near the parking lot at the Fish Hatchery.

Bracken Mountain Loop

Another shorter ride perfect for the intermediate mountain biker, the Bracken Mountain Look is about eight miles long and has some nice climbs and descents. This is a newer choice in trails as the Bracken Mountain Preserver trails were built only a few years ago.

Park in the Bracken Mountain parking lot near the Music Center or park in Downtown Brevard and ride from there! Bracken Mountain is a great morning or evening choice when you can grab a meal in Downtown Brevard immediately after the ride.

DuPont State Forest

DuPont State Forest offers incredible mountain biking with approximately 100 miles of trails and gravel roads to choose from. The Ridgeline trail is a highly rated trail in Dupont State Forest known for its fast, flowy descent that will leave you smiling! Other notable trails include Big Rock Trail, Hickory Mountain Loop, Corn Mill Shoals, Cedar Rock Trail, and more. There are options for every rider here including beginners, and it’s easy to ride for as long or as short as you’d like. DuPont State Forest is also known for its incredible waterfalls, most of which can be seen along your mountain bike ride!

The closest parking area for DuPont State Forest is about 15 minutes from Pilot Cove.


Please explore the links below for maps, descriptions, photos, and local resources for the best rides in the area! Also please give us a call at Pilot Cove with any questions, also to book the perfect base camp for your mountain biking adventures. [email protected] or 1-866-PLT-COVE.

Bike Transylvania Mountain Bike Routes

DuPont State Forest Mountain Biking

The HUB and Pisgah Tavern

Sycamore Cycles

Squatch Bikes and Brews

Red Wolf Mountain Bike Tours

Pura Vida Adventures