Mountain Biking the Big Ivy (Coleman Boundary) Area
Big Ivy, long known by locals as Coleman Boundary, is a section of Pisgah National Forest near a community of the same name below the Blue Ridge Parkway as it runs across the ridges of the Great Craggy Mountains to the east.
While the valley floor is around 2500 ft elevation, peaks in the range top out at over 6000 ft, making for a difference in elevation of over half a mile. This contributes to the variety of ecosystems found here, and the resultant rich, invigorating forest cloaks miles of trails ready for your exploration.
The area is located northeast of Asheville and encompasses the watersheds of Carter and Dillingham creeks - headwaters for the Big Ivy River, which give the area its official name. These lands are draped across the Great Craggy Mountains and the westernmost fringes of the Black Mountains. This mountain area, bordered by the Blue Ridge Parkway to the east, contains some of the most rugged and scenic terrain in Western NC. In fact, at the time when there was a push to create a National Park in the Southern Appalachians, this area was under consideration for National Park status (as was the Great Smoky Mountains).
The Smokies won out in that debate, but much of the area is now under National Forest Service ownership. Many significant attractions can be found here: large waterfalls and cascades (notably Walker Falls and 70 foot free falling Douglas Falls); sheer rock cliffs which draw rock climbers from afar; and scenic forests and streams. Rare old growth and virgin forests with enormous trees make the area ecologically significant; the Craggy Mountain Scenic Area encompasses a section of Big Ivy.
Mountain Biking Trails
Mountain biking is allowed on seven trails in the area. An 8-mile gravel road traverses the slope, FS 74, and it is popular with mountain bikers for linking the trails together into loop rides. Horseback riding is also popular in this area, so be extra aware of horses when riding here.
All of the trails (except one - Laurel Gap, an 80's era logging road) are fairly steep, and most follow the routes of old logging paths except limited stretches where they've been re-routed for sustainability in more recent years. The Bear Pen, Corner Rock, Elk Pen, Perkins, Staire Creek, Little Andy, and Walker Creek trails all follow this paradigm, climbing through mixed forests from lower to higher elevations. There are streamside areas and drier areas on each.
This is just an overview of the trails in the Big Ivy area. For complete trail details, visit the Big Ivy Trails page.
Here's a map of the Big Ivy area. For more maps, including printed publications, see our Big Ivy maps page.
Download GPS Data
Click on a route, trail, or point on the map and select the GPS Data tab to download its data.
KML (Google Earth)
KML is the main file type used by Google Earth. If you have Google Earth installed, clicking the KML link should open the trail or point directly in Google Earth for viewing. This is the native file format used by Google Earth, but many other map applications can use and understand KML as well, so if you're not sure which one to download, KML is a good bet.
The GPX format stands for GPS Exchange - a free, open, XML format for exchanging GPS and map data. GPX is compatible with Google Earth, many other mapping programs, and most GPS devices (such as Garmin). Load the file directly into your GPS to help find your way on your next trip!
GeoJSON is a newer, lightweight data exchange format which can be used to quickly share map data and may have a smaller size than KML or GPX. Many professional mapping and GIS applications support the GeoJSON format.
About the Map
Base layers provided by OpenStreetMap, the US Geological Survey, the US Forest Service, and NC OneMap. Base layer images are subject to the respective copyright policies of their owners. Base layers may not be available at all times due to system maintenance or outages.
WNCOutdoors Base Layer
The WNCOutdoors Base layer is provided by WNCOutdoors.info. It is licensed by Creative Commons Attribution 3.0.
Trail and Marker Overlays
Trail layers and downloadable data are all original works created by WNCOutdoors with guidance from a variety of sources, including ensembles of our own GPS tracks, user contributed GPS tracks, official maps and GIS data from government agencies, and field observations. WNCOutdoors data is made freely available under the Open Database License - you are free to copy and use it for any purpose under the terms of that license (summary).
- Hover over a trail to see it highlighted. Helps to see start and end points for an individual trail.
- Scroll and zoom the map before printing, and that view will persist into the printed image.
- Click a trail for more details and to download it individually.
Places to Stay
No developed camping is offered in this area. Backcountry camping is allowed as long as you are 500 feet from roads and the picnic area, and not in designated wildlife openings.
The towns of Weaverville and Mars Hill presents options for lodging closest to this area and Asheville has most major chain hotels/motels, about a 40 minute drive.
Dry Ridge Inn
Most important to your Asheville getaway is a warm welcome and courteous attention. This is what you will receive at the Dry Ridge Inn, located in Weaverville, NC. Our historical three story home has eight rooms and all include private baths, gas fireplaces, and Cable TV and DVD Player. Some can be combined to make suites for large families. Our bed and breakfast country inn is just a short drive from the Blue Ridge Parkway - ideal for recreation or simply to enjoy the enchantment of the Blue Ridge mountains. The Biltmore Estate and downtown Asheville are also just 10 minutes away, and the Coleman Boundary area is a scenic 20 minute drive. The inn provides a wonderful getaway for those romantic special occasions: honeymoons, an anniversary, or any other time when romance is in the air! Our desire is that your stay with us at our bed and breakfast accommodation be a comfortable, happy, and memorable one. You will find our home comfortable, food delicious and our spacious grounds inviting and relaxing. Enjoy a book on the porch swing or gaze into the water garden and let the waterfall soothe you.
From Asheville, take future I-26/US 19-23 north (4-lane) for about 11 miles. Take the Jupiter/Barnardsville (NC 197) exit. Turn right toward Barnardsville and follow NC 197 (2-lane highway) about 6 miles to the town of Barnardsville. Turn right onto Dillingham Road just past the fire station. It's about 6 miles to the National Forest - stay on Dillingham Road. You will cross a one-lane bridge and the road will turn into gravel FS 74. Several rides start at the Corner Rock picnic area, about .4 mi up this road, on the right, across a concrete bridge.