Banner Elk mountain biking is a sport that requires a good grasp of local geography, so be sure to bring a map. The town of Banner Elk is accessible if you don’t mind a long drive. It sits at the intersection of Highways 184 and 194 , and it’s about 30 miles from each of the nearest interstates (I-40, I-26 and I-81). Once you arrive, your best bet for lodging is one of the Banner Elk vacation rental homes that are easily found in the area.
Getting to Banner Elk
The popularity of mountain biking is growing fast in the High Country region . If you visit in the spring, summer or autumn, you may have an opportunity to participate in one of the many biking events and races that are held throughout the year. If you prefer to ride solo, there are lots of places where you can do so. The best places for biking—as well as for hiking, fishing and other outdoor activities—are the two closest mountains, Sugar Mountain and Beech Mountain.
Banner Elk Mountain Biking Activities
While recovering from cancer in the mid 1990s, Lance Armstrong spent a lot of time riding Beech Mountain’s 51 miles of bike trails, and he is believed to have covered nearly all of them. Some of those trails are challenging—there are places where a mere 3½ miles of trail take you up 1,400 feet. Fortunately for those of us who are not superstar athletes, there are plenty of trails that are perfect for a gentler ride where you can just cruise along and enjoy the spectacular scenery. There are also group rides organized on the third Saturday of each month; these rides are led by experienced guides. Beech Mountain’s beautiful trails are maintained and cared for by the Beech Mountain Bike Club .
Biking Beech Mountain
Biking Sugar MountainOn the north slope of Sugar Mountain sits the village of the same name. An even smaller town than Banner Elk, Sugar Mountain village is home to fewer than 300 residents. The town is interwoven with bike trails, access to which is free during the daytime from May through October . Trail maps are available to visitors and can be found in a specially marked black mailbox at the base of the slope known as Flying Mile .
The town of Sugar Mountain does require that you wear a helmet while riding within village limits, so be sure to be respectful and comply with that and all other local ordinances. Sugar Mountain Resort also has a lift service available for those mountain bikers who don’t wish to take the arduous ride up the mountain, but would like to experience the downhill thrill it offers.