Perhaps you saw The Hunger Games and, like me, marveled as Katniss Everdeen ran for her life, days on end, through dense mountain forests, and somehow never got tired. Yeah, right, I thought—more Hollywood mirage. But now I know differently.
These lush woods and hills in Western North Carolina’s Transylvania County (where the blockbuster film was shot) are so exhilaratingly gorgeous you forget everything else. Including the occasional grunting and fatigue involved in running or, better yet, biking through them.
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Cycle Capital of the South
Indeed, cycling is the preferred mode in these parts. The region’s network of 400 miles of single-track trails, 1,000 miles of easy-going gravel forest service roads, plus miles and miles gently rolling roadways, including the breathtaking Blue Ridge Parkway, are in large part why Transylvania County is earning its spokes as the cycling capital of the South. Add in savvy bike-oriented businesses, including The Hub (who doesn’t love a beer tap in their bike shop?), Squatch Bikes and Sycamore Cycles, as well as the glamping gurus at The Bike Farm, and you’re set for a two-wheeled adventure. The bounty of craft breweries, bakeries and restaurants for refueling in the scenic town of Brevard doesn’t hurt either.
But first things first—to tackle all those miles you need to be well rested, and that’s where The Bike Farm comes in. Nestled in the woods and off-the-beaten track but only four minutes from the entrance to Pisgah National Forest, The Bike Farm is an ideal base camp, or rather, base glamp, for exploring the region. All-season platform tents, complete with comfy queen and twin size beds (bring your own sleeping bags/bedding, or rent theirs) and a deck perfect for putting up those tired feet at the end of the day, offer a back-to-nature experience without the hassle of setting up camp.
Base Camp: The Bike Farm
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With hot showers, fire pits, a stove to borrow if you don’t have one—the Farm is a full-service operation, plus their team of “Bike Farmers” offer concierge expertise in all things cycling. Need a bike rental? No problem, they’ve got a swanky fleet. Recommendation for the best beginner trails?—just ask. Whether you’re looking for a guided trail ride and technical tips, or a lift to-and-from the airport or into Brevard for farm-to-table dining (recommended: Magpie), the staff has you covered.
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Tim Koerber Photography
Bike Farm guests enjoy the convenience of rolling straight out of bed and onto private trails or their pump track to practice your stump-jumping skills—all right on their 440 acres abutting majestic Pisgah. Chances are, you’ll be tempted to stay put and chill amidst the peace and quiet of this lush wooded enclave, but don’t. You’ll want to check out DuPont Forest’s well-marked trails, including the rollercoaster fun of Ridgeline Trail, all just 15 minutes away, and yep, the Bike Farmers are happy to transport you if needed.
Transylvania County’s convergence of hills, lakes and waterfalls (250 of them!) between DuPont State Forest, Pisgah National Forest and the less-known but no less lush Gorges State Park create an endless playground for the active traveler. All told there are more than 100,000 acres of public lands to roam and ride. And that’s just the mountain biking. Those who prefer pavement have the bike-friendly (limited cars, speed limit 45 mph max) and breathtaking Blue Ridge Parkway for pedaling pleasure, and challenge.
The Bike Farm
The Bike Farm
The Bike Farm
The Bike Farm
The varied terrain of Transylvania County isn’t always easy but it’s accessible for all levels and endlessly rewarding. From the postcard-perfect vistas of Bridal Veil Falls in DuPont or Looking Glass Rock in Pisgah, to the thrilling downhills on the Blue Ridge Parkway (after the iconic climb up Highway 276), you’ll realize that while The Hunger Games characters inhabited a dystopian world, the real one is a utopia for the adventure-minded.
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