Brevard, North Carolina, is home to a challenging yet rewarding mountain biking experience—The Butter Gap Trail. Offering steep inclines, flowy downhills, and demanding technical sections, it's a must-ride for seasoned cyclists. However, take note: part of this trail is only open for mountain biking from October 15 to April 15, aligning with safety concerns due to heavy usage.
Follow US 276 north for roughly 3.5 miles, and make the first left onto FS 475, which is signed for the Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education and Pisgah Forest Fish Hatchery. Continue for another 1.5 miles until reaching the Pisgah Center. Park in the lot and follow the gravel road leading uphill from the center, making an immediate right onto Cat Gap Loop (#120).
Prepare your thighs for a workout. With an approximate elevation change of 1,000 feet, this trail will have you grinding uphill for nearly three miles. The route's surface is layered with roots, adding a level of complexity to the climbs.
From roots to rocks, the technical aspects of Butter Gap Trail are not for the novice rider. Skills in maneuvering through rocky and rooty terrain will be tested to the fullest here. Some describe the uphill struggle as "not fun," but assure that it's worth it for the downhill.
After the exhausting uphill journey, the trail rewards with exhilarating technical descents that are simply "sublime beyond description." Cyclists can expect a faster, flowier ride on the way down, complete with a picturesque waterfall on the lower section's right side.
Butter Gap Trail promises an unparalleled blend of technical challenges and natural beauty, especially evident in the waterfall that adorns the lower section. Though uphill sections may dampen spirits initially, the adrenaline-pumping descents and visual rewards more than compensate. Consider timing your visit between mid-October and mid-April to fully experience this demanding yet fulfilling trail.