Hot Springs Gravel Loop
A difficult gravel loop near Hot Springs that pairs the French Broad River with killer views from Rich Mountain Fire Tower at 3,700'.
Mountain Biking Easy
- 42 km
- 1.2 km
- 1.2 km
- 3-4 hrs
- Low Point
- 377 m
- High Point
- 1.1 km
According to Wikipedia, the natural hot spring the town is named for is the only one of its kind in North Carolina, and in most of the southeastern United States. The Native Americans who originally occupied the area knew the spring to have natural healing properties, a belief that draws in countless tourists every year.
As mapped, this ride begins along the river where the Appalachian Trail climbs up to Lover's Leap, a popular short hike to an overlook. You could also park anywhere in town, or drive a few minutes up River Road to a parking area on the left. Just be mindful of any Private Property or No Parking signs around town.
For a steep climb early and a long, steady descent to finish, ride this loop counter-clockwise. For an easier but longer climb and steep descent at the end, start up River Road and ride the loop clockwise. Either way, take note that there is a lot of climbing on this ride, so lower gearing is a must.
This route can be ridden year-round but is best left alone during rain and snow. The French Broad River has breached its banks multiple times through the years, and the road will close while they make repairs. Hot Springs is also along the northernmost reaches of the mountains, so the nearby peaks see the worst of the winter weather, even though they are not that high.
Mostly smooth and non-technical singletrack with unavoidable obstacles 2in/5cm tall or less. Avoidable obstacles may be present. Ideal for beginner riders.