Overall the real estate market shifted from solely a seller’s market to being more balanced in the first quarter of 2019. In Asheville, the number of New Listings increased by .6% while Buncombe County increased by 7.3%. The number of Closed Sales in Asheville decreased by 4.2% whereas Buncombe County showed a 2% increase. These numbers suggest that the Asheville real estate market is slowing more than Buncombe County. Comparing the Median Sales price between the two for Jan-March shows that there’s a bigger median price decrease in Asheville for the first quarter. The year-to-date Median Sales Price in Asheville decreased by 1.9% while Buncombe County only decreased by .7%. However, both areas showed an increase in Median Sales Price in March, suggesting that the market is slightly more favorable for sellers as we move into warmer months.
Real estate is local and to get the best, most in-depth knowledge be sure to contact your Agent today!
Real estate Agents do more than help their clients buy and sell their houses, they help them find that little slice of paradise they can call home. Part of finding that slice of paradise is getting to know the things that make up your community. We thought there’s no better way to help you find the best spots in Asheville than to consult with our Agents. We like to think of them as unofficial ambassadors to the city. Read below to see our Agents’ favorite spots all around Asheville.
Let’s start with one of the most important things on the list: food! One restaurant that kept coming up is Zambra. Bethany, Jens, Michelle, and Suzanne all love their menu. Suzanne said, “(Zambra) has terrific tapas, an extensive wine list, great service, and a cozy ambiance.”
As far as type of food goes, Mexican tops the list. One restaurant in particular, Limones, is a favorite of Julie’s, who says she loves the California-Mexican fusion and the intimate size of the restaurant that makes it a great spot for a night out. A close second is Italian, loved by Desirae, Casey, and Chris. Vinnie’s in particular is beloved by Chris, while Casey just loves pizza. Period.
A couple of other favorite spots include Jargon and White Labs (we have a real pizza theme going here).
Favorite Recreation Area:
The votes for this category were all over the place, which is just reflective of how diverse and numerous our outdoor opportunities are!
Jeff, Pete, and Tad all love the Bent Creek area for the proximity to town and awesome trails. They love to bike and agree this is one of the best places for it. Jeff says, “There’s a bit of everything out there. You can go for the great trails to hike or bike, the lake for summer swimming, camping, or just for a day trip.”
For a recreation area closer to town, Bethany likes Carrier Park. She enjoys the nice, flat trails for running, walking, and biking with her family. She’s also onboard with the tubing, as Bethany points out there are many places along that stretch of the French Broad to put-in.
Again, we got all kinds of different answers for this category, although one overwhelming theme is waterfalls! Jeff loves the Little Bradley Falls Trail and thinks the best time to go is the summer. Michelle recommends going to Triple Falls in Dupont Forest, you’re rewarded with incredible waterfalls after a short hike. Pete’s not picky, he’ll take any trail that involves stream crossings and leads to a waterfall!
Casey, who has lived in the Black Mountain/ Swannanoa area for almost 20 years, votes for the Lookout Trail in Montreat. He points out that it’s not too difficult of a hike and has one of the most rewarding views of the Swannanoa Valley. Bethany loves John Rock in Pisgah National Forest during the summer. Desirae loves to take her girls to Jump Off Rock in Hendersonville. Another notable spot is Black Balsam off the Blue Ridge Parkway in Fall. Tad loves taking his family because it’s an easy hike and you’re rewarded with panoramic views.
Best Thing to do Downtown:
Well apart from the obvious of stopping by our office, our Agents have a couple of different recommendations. Pack Square Park is a popular choice because of all of the different festivals and events held there. Our Agents love to people watch, too! Jens explains that it makes him proud to call Asheville home. Bethany points out that we can’t forget to mention the Friday night drum circles that happen right outside our office! It’s always fun to watch and then go grab a great dinner afterwards. Julie also likes to check out the live music wherever she can find it, 5 Walnut Wine Bar never disappoints. Liz points out that we’re so lucky to have great music and art venues and loves to catch a show at the Diana Wortham Theatre or a movie at the Fine Arts Theatre.
Describe the Perfect Day in Asheville:
Our Agents agree on one thing here: your day must start with coffee! Jeff recommends Hi-Five Coffee while Michelle is partial to coffee and doughnuts at Vortex. Brunch is a must as well. Suzanne loves Early Girl Eatery and Liz prefers checking out the eclectic menu at Sunny Point Café.
Once they’ve fueled up, our Agents also love to get outside. Julie loves to get out on a trail, either on horseback or foot. Suzanne’s go-to is a hike at Craggy Gardens or a walk around the Arboretum. Michelle enjoys hiking sections of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail. Jens is partial to anything that involves flip flops and a waterfall.
Our Agents are also active in various sports so getting a game or match in is a must. Our resident Tennis Pro, Pete, loves to get a game of Pickleball in (check out Pete’s article about Pickleball here!). Chris also enjoy tennis and can be found at the Aston Park Tennis Courts. Biking is big with our group. Tad enjoys mountain biking and gravel riding at Bent Creek where he’s likely to run into Pete or Jeff.
Unwinding is the best way to finish such an eventful day. Liz loves to spend time soaking in the hot springs we’re so lucky to have close to town. Jeff is a fan of checking out the Spa at Grove Park Inn. Tad prefers a slightly more vigorous approach to unwinding with a bike ride or running.
We hope you find these recommendations helpful. If you want to learn more about our Agents’ favorite spots please reach out! They love to share this great area of ours.
After a long, cold winter, many of us look forward to a fresh start in the spring. Wash away the winter grime, open the windows, and prepare your home for warmer weather and backyard barbecues. I’ve compiled a Spring/Summer House Care Checklist to make your cleaning endeavors easier!
Inside ❏ Conduct Annual Spring Cleaning – Be sure to tackle those areas that may have gone neglected—such as your blinds, baseboards and fan blades—as well as appliances, including your refrigerator, dishwasher, oven and range hood. Clear out clutter and clothes you no longer wear, and toss old and expired food and medications.
❏ Shut Down Heating System – Depending on the type of heating system you have, you may need to shut your system down when not in use. Check the manufacturer’s instructions for proper procedures.
❏ Tune Up A/C – If your home has central air conditioning, schedule an annual tune-up with your HVAC technician. If you have a portable or window unit, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper maintenance.
❏ Check Plumbing – It’s a good idea to periodically check your plumbing to spot any leaks or maintenance issues. Look for evidence of leaks—such as water stains on the ceiling—and check for dripping faucets or running toilets that need to be addressed. Inspect your hot water heater for sediment build up. Check your sump pump (if you have one) to ensure it’s working properly.
❏ Inspect Smoke Alarm and Carbon Monoxide Detectors – Check that your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are functioning properly. Batteries should be replaced every six months, so change them now and again in the fall. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to test your individual devices. And even properly functioning devices should be replaced at least every 10 years, or per the manufacturer’s recommendation.
Outside ❏ Inspect Perimeter of Home – Walk around your house and look for any signs of damage or wear and tear that should be addressed. Are there cracks in the foundation? Peeling paint? Loose or missing roof shingles? Make a plan to make needed repairs yourself or hire a contractor.
❏ Clean Home’s Exterior – Wash windows and clean and replace screens if they were removed during the winter months. For the home’s facade, it’s generally advisable to use the gentlest method that is effective. A simple garden hose will work in most cases.
❏ Clean Gutters and Downspouts – Gutters and downspouts should be cleaned at least twice a year. Neglected gutters can cause water damage to a home, so make sure yours are clean and free of debris. If your gutters have screens, you may be able to decrease the frequency of cleanings, but they should still be checked periodically.
❏ Rake Leaves – Gently rake your lawn to remove leaves and debris. Too many leaves can cause an excessive layer of thatch, which can damage the roots of your lawn. They can also harbor disease-causing organisms and insects.7 However, take care because overly vigorous raking can damage new grass shoots.
❏ Seed or Sod Lawn – If you have bare spots, spring is a good time to seed or lay new sod so you can enjoy a beautiful lawn throughout the remainder of the year. The peak summer heat can be too harsh for a new lawn. If you miss this window, early fall is another good time to plant.
❏ Plant Flowers – After a long winter, planting annuals and spring perennials is a great way to brighten up your garden. It’s also a good time to prune existing flowers and shrubs and remove and compost any dead plants.
❏ Mulch Beds – A layer of fresh mulch helps to suppress weeds, retain moisture and moderate soil temperature. However, be sure to strip away old mulch at least every three years to prevent excessive buildup.
❏ Fertilize Lawn – Depending on your grass type, an application of fertilizer in the spring may help promote new leaf and root growth, keep your lawn healthy, and reduce weeds.
❏ Tune Up Lawn Mower – Send your lawn mower out for a professional tune-up and to have the blades sharpened before the mowing season starts.
❏ Inspect Sprinkler System – If you have a sprinkler system, check that it’s working properly and make repairs as needed.
❏ Check the Deck – If you have a deck or patio, inspect it for signs of damage or deterioration that may have occurred over the winter. Then clean it thoroughly and apply a fresh coat of stain if needed.
❏ Prepare Pool – If you own a pool, warmer weather signals the start of pool season. Be sure to follow best practices for your particular pool to ensure proper maintenance and safety.
Interested in learning about how Asheville and Buncombe County looked overall last year, as well, as how the markets closed out 2018? Read below for the Asheville real estate report, including the Buncombe County real estate report. The 2017 Asheville housing market was marked by renewed optimism because of a strong stock market and higher wages while 2018 delivered a more reserved approach toward real estate. Home buyers have been seeing rising prices and low inventory over the past several years. As a result, buyers have become more selective in their purchase choices as housing affordability reached a ten-year low. The overall median sales price increased 5.4 percent to $255,000 for the year. Single Family home prices were up 5.5 percent compared to 2017. A booming economy would seem to indicate more sales, but fewer homes to choose from coupled with lower affordability made it tougher for buyers in 2018. Despite the low affordability, there is still a strong desire for home buying, driving up prices in virtually all the U.S. markets. Prices have been rising so much the last few years that we’ve seen over a 50% price increase from February 2012 to September 2018. Accounting for inflation, that increase comes to about 40 percent. The national median household income was last reported with a year to year increase of 1.8 percent, while home prices have gone up 5.5 percent in roughly the same amount of time. That kind of gap is unsustainable, but for now prices are expected to rise, but at a slower pace.
Sellers received about 93.8 percent of their original list price at sale, that comes out to about a 0.1 percent improvement from 2017 to 2018. If demand shrinks in 2019, original list price received at sale could drop as well. Consumer optimism has been tested by four interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve in 2018.
For a closer look at our 4th quarter real estate markets we’ve included line graphs below to show the differences in new listings, closed sales, and median sales in Asheville and Buncombe County in 2017 and 2018.
4th Quarter New Listings in Asheville 2017 vs. 2018. The number of new listings in Asheville overall decreased during the same period in 2017 and 2018.
4th Quarter Closed Sales in Asheville 2017 vs. 2018. Although we saw the same general trend during this period for 2017 and 2018, the number of closed sales decreased by about 10% in 2018.
4th Quarter Median Sales in Asheville 2017 vs. 2018. The median sales price was at its highest in November of 2010 during this period when it stood at $314,500 then showed the most dramatic decrease in December 2018 at $290,000.
4th Quarter New Listings in Buncombe County 2017 vs. 2018.
4th Quarter Closed Sales in Buncombe County 2017 vs. 2018. Closed sales in Buncombe County showed similar trends for the same period from 2017 to 2018. The biggest decrease we saw was from November-December 2018 when the closed sales decreased from 330 to 275.
4th Quarter Median Sales in Buncombe County 2017 vs. 2018. Median sales showed the highest spike in November 2018 at $298,950 then decreased by more than $10,000 to $285,000.
Real estate is local and requires a high level of local knowledge. Our Agents understand the Asheville and Buncombe County markets and they know the best ways to help you Move Smarter. If you would like to learn more about our market insights or are interested in buying or selling a home, please don’t hesitate to contact us!
The Chiles house designed by architect Ronald Greene.
Kenilworth is considered a downtown neighborhood. Although it is located about a mile south of the vibrant downtown scene, it feels remarkably quiet and peaceful. Residents live conveniently close to shopping, restaurants, and schools, yet enjoy the feeling of living in a forest retreat.
My husband and I put down roots in Kenilworth in 2008. We were searching for a quiet neighborhood near amenities, where privacy would be equally as valued as making new friends and sharing activities. We both work from home and were looking to reduce driving time for errands, and enjoy the benefits of living in town.
Every morning we walk the dogs and greet the other early risers. Even though by now the neighbors have become our friends, we still refer to them as “Bailey’s mom” or “Jasmine’s dad.” Dogs and babies — nature’s icebreakers. We stop to share news or just to say hello. I take comfort in the rhythm of routines encouraged by good neighborhood design.
The home of architect Ronald Greene.
Kenilworth is distinguished as the oldest established neighborhood in Asheville. In fact, it used to be an independent city, and was annexed to Asheville in the 1920s. Intriguing nuggets of local history are hidden in plain view on every street. Many of these tidbits are only noticeable if you’re on foot, or take the time to get to know the people who live here, who will pass on the stories.
For example, Waverly Street looks like an ordinary blacktop road to anybody zooming over it in a car. But a closer look at the ground reveals that beneath the asphalt lie lovely old red bricks, placed there by hand more than one hundred years ago. These roads, that once echoed with the rhythm of horse hooves and carriage wheels, curve and wind uphill and down because they were originally paths trod by the horses kept in the stables at the historic Kenilworth Inn at the top of the hill.
A beautiful winter scene at Lake Kenilworth.
People from outside the neighborhood are often surprised to learn there is a small lake at the heart of the Kenilworth community. There are few lakes in Asheville where it’s possible to own a waterfront home. 18 acre Kenilworth Lake is one of them, where lakefront homes with modest docks and kayaks wait at water’s edge. The lake is small enough to freeze over in winter, and last year while on my dog-walk during a cold snap, I noticed a lone figure out ice-skating across the glimmering surface. An older resident who has lived on the lake for decades, once told me about a time way back in the 1940s, when a pilot traveling through had made a frightful emergency landing on the small gleaming bit of ice inside the thick forest, in his private plane.
The lake is cherished by locals, and supports countless numbers of wildlife. I’ve seen fish jump, turtles amble, hawks study, owls stare, and Canada geese fly in formation overhead. Flashing red cardinals dash and dart through the rhododendrens and azaleas. Ducks, foxes, rabbits, and a generous population of wild turkeys all live here. Gazing out my window into the stream below one afternoon, I spotted a tiny blue river heron—no bigger than six inches tall—move like a master martial artist to snap up a brilliant silver fish.
This being Asheville, we also live respectfully with a few families of black bears, who can occasionally be spotted lumbering through the streets or uncannily vanishing into swaths of forest. I once witnessed a mama bear and her cub swim across the lake. We respect the wildlife, it keeps away from us, and the neighborhood seems to maintain a natural equilibrium. I think one of the big reasons people are drawn to WNC is because, like me, they’re looking for an environment just like Kenilworth with its blended mix of urban enjoyments and natural beauty, spiced with a pinch of wildlife—just enough to keep us on our toes.
Kenilworth neighborhood signs.
Active families eager for a game of tennis or soccer, or a quiet morning run have their pick of possibilities here. Looking for a basketball hoop and a playground? Impromptu games and neighborly chats often occur at the Leah Chiles Park, one of Kenilworth’s many neighborhood city parks. This park sits nestled beneath maples and oaks on the gentle slope below the Chiles house, a historic Spanish Revival home recently restored by its loving and devoted owners. Catty-corner to the Chiles house is another architectural gem, a gothic beauty with steep slate roof tiles, that was designed by renowned architect Ronald Greene, who also designed the Jackson building downtown.
Made up of single family homes, Bed & Breakfast Inns, and multiplexes, Kenilworth is a mix of old Arts & Crafts gems, Tudor homes, angular modern houses overlooking the city, lake cottages, and new construction.
My husband and I fell in love with it because of the proximity of the lake, the forested spaces, and most of all the friendly people we were meeting. All that and only a mile from downtown? It didn’t take us long to figure out that the Kenilworth neighborhood was what home should feel like.
Asheville is a place that keeps you busy. There’s so much to do in this town that even if you’ve heard of the racquet sport called Pickleball you may not think to seek it out here. But you should. Like Asheville itself, the Pickleball community is growing, it’s welcoming and it’s downright fun.
The game was founded on Bainbridge Island, Washington in 1965 by three guys who were trying to cure their own kids’ boredom. It worked not only for them but for thousands of others, clearly, as Pickleball is now the fastest growing sport in our country. And as the years and decades have passed, Pickleball has evolved from a backyard game to a sport that features national championships and play around the world.
Some of the allure comes from how easy it is to learn, the quick back and forth points and a court that’s a fraction of the size of a tennis court. While the smaller court benefits an older crowd (read: less running), all ages are having a blast playing pickleball. It can be a social game, too, as doubles is most popular. There are also courts indoors and outdoors so the action continues year round.
Pickleball is played with short paddles and a modified whiffle ball. Games are played to 11 and points are only scored when serving. Unlike tennis where you get a second serve after missing your first attempt, you’re allowed only one serve and it has to be struck underhand from below your navel. Oh, and the first two shots of every point have to bounce. This is known as, you guessed it, the double bounce rule. There are some other rules you’ll want to pick up on, too, but perhaps the most unique aspect of Pickleball is something called “the kitchen”. The kitchen is a zone that extends seven feet back from the net that you cannot stand in and simultaneously hit the ball in the air. This keeps players from completely blanketing the net because you lose the point if you volley in the kitchen. Thus short, low touch shots are constantly in demand until your opponent finally pops the ball up high enough to smash while standing outside the kitchen. It’s perhaps this combination of touch and power that I find most addicting.
Pickleball player enjoying a game.
There are a variety of places to play and people to play with in town and the surrounding areas. Local player, Rob McKown, says “Asheville is ideal for pickleball, where there’s a nearly-perfect 12 month climate and a healthy number of adults who are still physically able to play sports. By my count, there are 15 or more places to play pickleball around Asheville. This number will undoubtedly grow. Some subdivisions are starting to recognize Pickleball by putting in dedicated courts. A lot of people are retiring to Asheville and what a great way to make new friends, play Pickleball!”
Lastly, because I know you’re curious, I’ll tell you where the name came from. Most people say the game was named after one of the founder’s dogs who was called Pickles. This is the most common name origin story. The other circulating theory is that it was named after the pickle boats in rowing. Take your pick. I just know that it’s fun to play.
If you’re interested in talking about places to live and places to play Pickleball in Asheville please contact me. I’d love to help you in any way possible.
Written by Pete Anderson, Broker, REALTOR. Connect with Pete at [email protected] or (302) 563-2193 to see how he can make buying or selling your home in Asheville easier for you.
Of all the decisions we make, buying and selling real estate, are some of the most important and consequential. Many of the clients I have worked with had unpleasant experiences working with Realtors, as have I, previous to becoming a Realtor. Over the years I have come to realize that this may be partly due to the way we hire the realtors we work with. Many people will hire a friend, or someone they know from their social circles without properly interviewing them and getting the information they need. Usually first-time homebuyers are the most vulnerable since they don’t have experience dealing with such a transaction.
The first step I always recommend is to speak in-depth to at least a couple of Realtors. Interview them the same way you would for anyone that you would be hiring to work for you. In a real estate transaction you will be sharing your personal financial information, so one of the most important qualities to seek in a Realtor is trust. Sellers are often dealing with situations such as divorce or serious illness and you should have a Realtor that you feel comfortable with discussing these types of personal issues. Buying and selling real estate has a naturally built-in stress factor as with anything involving legal contracts, timelines, and usually lifetime commitments to large sums of money, so having a great Realtor on your side will help minimize these concerns and keep the transaction on track. If you feel comfortable with the professionalism and work ethic of a Realtor then the last bit of advice is to find someone you really like and feel comfortable with.
For buyers, purchasing a home is a very personal journey, and they trust you to understand their needs and guide them to purchase the best home for them within their parameters. With sellers you are helping your clients disengage from a home that usually holds memories and sentimental value. At the end of the day, Real Estate, is a service industry, so find a Realtor that loves serving their clients.
The real estate market in Asheville is leveling off a bit from what we’ve seen during the first two quarters of 2018. Comparing the 3rd quarter of median home sales in 2017 to 2018, the median home sales in 2017 was lower than in 2018. However, that number remained relatively the same from the 2nd quarter of 2018. New listings and number of sales are down, which usually means prices are increasing. In this case, though, the median sales price decreased from July to September. We’re also seeing a decrease in inventory and, proportionally, a decrease in closed sales for Asheville. While homes are still not on the market for very long, we’re seeing more time on the market and as a consequence, more price reductions. Generally a market is considered to be a seller’s market if homes sit less than 6 months and a buyer’s market if homes are on the market for more than 6 months. Asheville and Buncombe County are still considered to be seller’s markets, but if sellers aren’t aware of the current market trends then they risk their home sitting on the market well into winter. If the price of a home is reflective of the market then sellers are more likely to be under contract quickly. Interested in learning more about Asheville and Buncombe County Real Estate Reports? Please contact us – we would love to help you Move Smarter.
New Listings in Asheville in the 3rd quarters of 2017 and 2018. New listings decreased significantly from Aug – Sep in both years.
Closed Sales in Asheville in the 3rd quarters of 2017 and 2018. While inventory decreased, the number of closed sales stayed relatively the same from July-Aug.
Median Sales Price in Asheville in the 3rd quarters of 2017 and 2018. Prices were highest in the summer and have steadily been decreasing as we approach winter.
New Listings in Buncombe County in the 3rd quarters of 2017 and 2018. Like Asheville, the number of listings decreased sharply from Aug-Sep, which perpetuates our already challenging inventory.
Closed Sales in Buncombe County in the 3rd quarters of 2017 and 2018. We’ve seen a steady decrease in the the number of closed sales from July-Sep.
Median Sales Price in Buncombe County in the 3rd quarters of 2017 and 2018. While median sales price has decreased slightly from Aug-Sep, the prices are still higher when compared to the same quarter of 2017.
Real estate is local and requires a high level of local knowledge. Our Agents understand the Asheville and Buncombe County markets and they know the best ways to help you Move Smarter. If you would like to learn more about our market insights or are interested in buying or selling a home, please don’t hesitate to contact us!
Mountain biking in Western North Carolina is a rider’s dream. As a mountain bike mecca, there are hundreds of miles of trails across a variety of terrain. Here in the Asheville area, we’re fortunate to have close access to Pisgah National Forest, Dupont State Forest, and Bent Creek Experimental Forest. We’re even within a close drive to trails at Tsali in Nantahala National Forest, Dark Mountain and Warrior Creek on the Kerr Scott Reservoir, or Paris Mountain in South Carolina. Trail terrain can be rocky, rooty, sandy, or muddy, and with levels available for beginners up to advanced, there is something for every rider. As the weather turns more cool and crisp with the changing seasons, the conditions become prime for some long Fall weather riding!
However, with all these trails to choose from, picking a route from the massive variety-pack of trail systems in this area can sometimes be a bit intimidating. I grew up near Hendersonville in the small town of Tuxedo. From a young age, my dad would take me riding in Dupont and Paris Mountain, and when I went to summer camp I enjoyed bike trips to Pisgah and Tsali. My passion for riding turned into a passion for racing, and I joined the Appalachian State Cycling Team in 2014. Though I have experience in road racing, all styles of mountain bike racing, gravel grinders, and even some cyclocross, my passion has always been with cross country style mountain biking. After graduating from App State, I returned to this area to continue to ride and train on what I consider to be some of the best concentrations of trails anywhere. I’ve pieced together some of my favorites routes in the Brevard/Hendersonville area for you to enjoy just a small portion of what this place has to offer.
As a side note, don’t forget to ride prepared: be sure to pack enough water and food to last you through the ride, and it’s always a good idea to have a map (a good rule of thumb for me is at least a bottle of water and a snack for every hour I plan to be on the bike). I also always carry a “flat kit” on rides in my saddle bag or just stuffed in my jersey pockets. This is usually just as simple as an extra tube, a tire lever or two, and a CO2 cartridge or mini pump to inflate a new tube in case of any flat tires. Though these route suggestions can get you started, they are hardly scratching the surface. I’d recommend going to your local bike shop for more trail suggestions, group ride info, and route advice. Enjoy!
Dupont Forest Beginner Loop
Highlights: skills area and Wintergreen Falls swimming option
Ride Profile: 7.5 miles, 758’ of elevation gain
This route begins at the Guion Farm parking lot where there is a great “kids loop” to work on skills before you hit the trails. It includes balance beams, a seesaw, log rides, and wooden bridges as well as an easy trail loop surrounding the area. It’s not just for kids! From there, you can ride the 7.5 mile loop around Dupont’s single track and gravel road mix, perfect for those just starting out or those who may not want a technical and challenging ride. Towards the end, I like taking the Wintergreen Falls trail off of Tarklin Branch for a quick out-and-back to cool off at the Wintergreen Falls swimming hole. Dupont is my favorite place for flowy, rolling, singletrack. It’s a smooth entry to trails for the beginner mountain biker, and it’s a fun place to string together a full day of trails for experienced riders as well.
Map of Dupont Forest Beginner Loop. Link to route info.
Bent Creek Sorba Beginner’s Loop
Highlights: a taste of everything, but still tame enough for introductory riding
Ride Profile: 6 miles, 650’ of elevation gain
This route is recommended by the Pisgah Area SORBA (southern off road bicycle association), and is a great route for the beginning rider with plenty of singletrack, creek crossings, berms, and fun rock sections to practice. It starts at the Hard Times trailhead off of Wesley Branch Road in Bent Creek. The route starts off by heading down the Homestead Connector descent, turns left onto Homestead, and then goes around a loop of Deerfield, Pinetree, and Explorer. After finishing back onto the Pinetree loop, you’ll come out onto a paved road that will take you back around to the parking area.
Map of Bent Creek SORBA Beginner’s Loop. Link to route info.
Dupont Forest Beginner/Intermediate Ride
Highlights: tour of waterfalls, ends with a Ridgeline descent, option to shorten route
Ride Profile: 13 miles, 1557’ of elevation gain
This route starts at the Lake Imaging Parking Lot in Dupont and combines some of my favorite trails. The route passes several waterfalls (Hooker Falls, Triple Falls, High Falls, and Grassy Creek Falls) that you either ride by or can quickly walk to nearby. There are some gravel roads, but the route is full of fun and flowy singletrack. There is an option to shorten the route by cutting out the Isaac Heath/Jim Branch/Hilltop loop, and one of the best parts about DuPont is how easy it is to change routes and mix up the trails you choose based on how you feel throughout the ride. You can also opt out of Hickory Mountain Loop (though that is one of my favorite descents so it is well worth the climb). The route finishes with a fast and fun descent down Ridgeline, one of the most popular trails in the forest.
Map of Dupont Forest Beginner/Intermediate Ride. Link to route info.
Pisgah Lower Black Mountain Loop
Highlights: gravel climbs that lead up to a technical and fun descent down lower Black Mountain
Ride Profile: Intermediate, ~9.5 miles and 1300’ of elevation gain
This is a fun Pisgah sampler that climbs gravel double track and descends a fun and technical section of the lower Black Mountain trail. Beginning at the Pisgah Ranger Station on 276, you turn right out of the parking lot and continue down paved 276 for a brief time (less than a mile). At the sign for the Pisgah Horse Stables, turn right onto the gravel forest service road 477 (Avery Creek Rd.) About a mile and a half in, you will veer right and go behind the horse stables, beginning the gravel climb up Clawhammer (5058). Take the first right and continue to climb up Maxwell Cove. This merges with the intersection of Turkey Creek and Lower Black Mountain, and you will turn right for the final technical climb section of the ride. After the peak, you’ll be rewarded with two miles of rocky, exciting downhill back to the Ranger Station. The end of Black Mountain opens up into the intersection of Thrift Cove and Stames Branch, and you’ll turn right down Stames Branch to descend back to 276. When you T into 276 again, look to your right and you’ll see the Ranger Station again, just down the road. Want to ride the Black Mountain descent again? When you come out of the trailhead at that final intersection, just turn left to climb up Thrift Cove instead of right to return to 276, and you’ll be back at the start of Lower Black Mountain in a couple miles.
Kitsuma Loop in Black Mountain Pisgah Area
Highlights: technical switchback climb that rewards with an awesome descent
Ride Profile : Intermediate, 9.7 miles, 1,824’ of elevation
For those of you closer to Asheville than Brevard, the Kitsuma and Point Lookout loop is one of the most popular routes in the Black Mountain Area of Pisgah. It begins with a singletrack climb, but the long descent is well worth the effort. The parking for the trailhead is right along I40/old hwy 70, but immediately leads you into a switchbacking climb up the mountain (with a great view at the peak to catch your breath). You’ll then follow the Kitsuma trail along the ridge and down a fun and technical descent into a picnic area. To return to the parking area, take a left onto old hwy 70 and climb back up the road (it turns into Point Lookout Trail and then back into hwy 70 by the top). Take the first left back onto Royal Gorge Road to return to the parking area.
Map of Kitsuma Loop in Black Mountain Pisgah Area. Link to route info.
Pisgah Gravel/Singletrack with Cove Creek and a Butter Gap Loop
Highlights : Cove Creek trail descent and the option to extend with a Butter Gap loop
This is a longer ride, with a sample of gravel climbs, technical singletrack descents, flowing trails, and a small amount of pavement. Just like the Lower Black Mountain Loop above, after beginning at the Pisgah Ranger Station on 276, you turn right out of the parking lot and continue down paved 276 for a brief time (less than a mile). At the sign for the Pisgah Horse Stables, turn right onto the gravel forest service road 477 (Avery Creek Rd.). This time instead of turning right at the stables, you’ll continue straight and begin the climb up Avery Creek Rd. You have to settle into this one for about 5 miles, but the steady gravel never gets too steep, and the Cove Creek descent is well worth it later. Avery Creek crests and descends into 276, and you’ll turn left down 276 for less than a mile before veering right onto gravel again on 475B. After about a mile and a half, you’ll make a sharp right and then left to stay on 475B. The next turn will be a sharp right onto Cove Creek Rd, which continues into Cove Creek Connector, and finally Cove Creek Trail. This goes right by the Cove Creek Group Campground, and opens up onto the gravel road (Lower Cove Creek Road). As you fly down the descent, keep an eye out for the bridge on the left – this way you can cross the creek without getting wet. When you T into the trailhead/parking lot outside the Cove Creek campground, you’ll turn right and start the gravel climb up 475. If you feel like cutting it short here and knocking off 10 miles, you can turn left and head towards Davidson River trail (skip down to see the directions from there). Otherwise, 475 will climb for about 3 miles, and come to an intersection where you can take a sharp left (over 90 degrees) to continue on the gravel on Cathey’s Creek. Turn left and climb up Low Gap and continue toward Butter Gap, where you’ll be rewarded with a fun singletrack downhill. After the nearly 2 mile descent, turn left up Long Branch, and then take a right down Searcy Creek back to 475. After this loop, you’ll make a right back down 475 and pass the Cove Creek Campground trailhead again. Right after the road turns to pavement, there will be a Davidson River Trail on your right. This trail runs parallel to the road, but conveniently allows you to bypass the huge elevation gain by going around the climb on the road above. The trail will put you back on the road, and you’ll turn right and head down the paved road, past the fish hatchery, for about two miles until the intersection with 276. From here, it’s just an easy 3 or 4 miles of rolling paved road back to the Ranger Station, which acts as a great cool-down on the way back to the car.
Annie Pharr is a Pro Mountain Biker who grew up riding in WNC. To learn more about Annie check out her blog: Annie Rides Bikes
Imagine if you could live in a place where beauty is everywhere and the lines between work and play seem to blur. What if you could have mountains and nature intertwining with new and historic homes and have easy access to a charismatic and charming downtown? How about a choice of amazing food, great music, world class beer and outdoor activities that are only a stones throw away? Asheville is a place like that. So how does anyone decide where to live in a town with so many great neighborhoods? For most, lifestyle and proximity to work factor in largely. For my wife and I, we wanted a blend of great community as well as nature and privacy while still having quick access to all that we love downtown. That meant the Haw Creek neighborhood in Asheville.
Nature is wrapped up into every day living in Haw Creek.
Haw Creek is a beautiful valley on the east side of town that sees no thru traffic because of its natural mountain borders. The valley’s east ridge line is secured by the Blue Ridge Parkway. Piney Mountain, Cisco Mountain and Rich Knob separate it on the west and north sides while Tunnel Road creates a southern border and entrance.
There’s some great history with Haw Creek too. In 1902 F. A. Sondley, George Vanderbilt’s lawyer, built a beautiful stone house near the top of the valley. Back then the area was largely agricultural and, while over the years it has gradually been transformed to accommodate a growing number of families, there is still some of that same rural feel. In fact, we have neighbors who have horses and chickens. Yup, fresh eggs are good.
If you want nature just step outside and go for walk. There is a trail that leads up to the parkway from Haw Creek and if you cross the parkway you’ll run into the Mountains-to-Sea trail which blazes from Clingman’s Dome in the Smokey’s all the way to the Outer Banks. I can literally hike to the ocean from house. I haven’t found a weekend long enough to actually do that yet but it remains an option. In the meantime I like the views I’m afforded.
Baseball field where I love to take my kids to play.
In addition to location, nature and accessibility, we’ve fallen in love with Haw Creek for so many other reasons. We’re minutes from multiple playgrounds and a library. I drive by our neighborhood restaurant and coffee shop every day as I leave the valley. There’s a rec center that includes a pool and tennis courts and the three baseball fields off of New Haw Creek Road always seem to be in use. The two elementary schools within the valley, one public and one a charter school, garner strong reviews.
Penny Cup coffee in Haw Creek.
Clementine Danielsen, the manager at Penny Cup Coffee, really loves their Haw Creek location as it’s supported almost entirely by locals. “We know 98% of our customers. It’s a very kid and family-centric space” she says. This is a tune you’ll hear from many who live or work in Haw Creek. A bartender at Creekside Taphouse named Luke Brown says he loves working there because of the “Cheers effect.” Many of you will remember the theme song of the 1980’s tv show Cheers… “Sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name and they’re always glad you came…” To this point, a neighbor of mine, and a regular at Creekside, was in the hospital for surgery and after he was released it was a while before he could do much on his own. But he kept going to Creekside and they refused to charge him for the meals he ordered until he was healed and back to normal.
That story sounds just like Haw Creek and it makes me want to stay a while.
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