A longer, more challenging alternative to the traditional Avery Creek/Headwaters Loop.

Statistics

1,491

m

1,491

m

8

max°

Difficulty

FATMAP difficulty grade

Severe

Description

This route is a local spin on the traditional [Avery Creek/Headwaters Loop](https://fatmap.com/routeid/764103/avery-creekheadwaters-gravel-loop/@35.2930866,-82.8063056,21400.6993010,-90,0.5795625,916.6639695,normal).

As mapped, you begin with a couple of miles of road, then remain on gravel or doubletrack up until Bracken Preserve.

While bracken is known as a mountain bike trail, many locals will tell you that the left (south) side of the preserve is passable on a gravel bike if you're comfortable on easy, groomed trail.

The final leg follows a paved greenway through town. This route begins at [The Hub & Pisgah Tavern](https://www.thehubpisgah.com/), though there are plenty of options for parking along US-276, Avery Creek Road, or even at the Fish Hatchery.

Since this route follows the Brevard Greenway at the end, you could also start from your house, hotel, or Airbnb. As mapped, ride up US-276 to Avery Creek Road and turn right when you see the sign for the Pisgah Horse Stables.

Though you could ride the route in either direction, counter-clockwise gets most of the climbing out of the way early.

Avery Creek is also loaded with roadside camping opportunities for anyone interested.

Avery Creek Road starts with a gentle climb, but after passing the Horse Stables, it steepens.

If you're running a larger chainring or CX gearing, expect to be out of the saddle and that you may need to catch your breath a couple of times.

The brunt of the climb is over after you reach the junction with Bennett Gap and Buckwheat Knob.

From here, most of the route is downhill.

Avery Creek Road comes to an end at US-276 just after passing Club Gap Trail.

Keep left to continue the loop. After a bend in the paved road, look for a gravel road that spurs right.

This is Headwaters Road (475B) and the start of a long, steady descent around Looking Glass Rock.

At times, you may be able to snag a few views of what many consider to be the centerpiece of Pisgah National Forest.

You will also pass three approach trails utilized by rock climbers: North Face, Sunwall, and Slick Rock Falls.

If you have the time, Slick Rock Falls is well worth the stop—it's less than a few hundred feet from the trailhead. Turn into the Fish Hatchery and cross the gate directly across the parking lot, this is the start of Horse Cove Road (475C).

Follow it until it ends at the top of Bracken Preserve, then drops onto the south/left side of the [Bracken Preserve Loop](https://fatmap.com/routeid/31538/Bracken_Preserve).

This section is challenging, but doable on most gravel bike setups.

It's also the only way to link Horse Cove Road to town, thus the reason many locals choose this route. The final part of the route follows neighborhood roads to the Brevard Greenway, then back to The Hub.

Along the way, you'll pass the following local breweries: [UpCountry Brewing](https://www.upcountrybrewing.com/tap-rooms/brevard-taproom), [Oskar Blues](https://www.oskarblues.com/location/brevard-nc-oskar-blues-taproom/), and [Ecusta Brewing](https://ecustabrewing.com/).

Bring your ID and some money along if you want to stop in for a post-ride brew.