Mountain Biking the Big Ivy (Coleman Boundary) Area

Overview

The "Coleman Boundary" area, as it is locally known, is actually called Big Ivy by the National Forest (a sign at the entrance to FS 74 attests to this fact). However, people have called it by the former name for many years, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future, so we call it both.

Unnamed Cascade beside FR 74 - near Walker Falls - Big Ivy Area - Barnardsville, NC
Douglas Falls
Douglas Falls, one of the highlights of the Big Ivy/Coleman Boundary area.

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 Pisgah National Forest lands are draped across the Great Craggy Mountains and the westernmost fringes of the Black Mountains, which also contain Mount Mitchell, the highest point east of the Mississippi River. This mountain area, bordered by the Blue Ridge Parkway to the east, contains some of the most rugged and scenic terrain in Western NC.

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. At the time when there was a push to create a National Park in the Southern Appalachians, this entire region was under consideration for being made into a National Park (as was the Great Smoky Mountains). Now, however, much of it is under National Forest Service ownership and mountain biking is allowed on most of the trails.

Riding here is made more worthwhile for the rugged, backcountry nature of the trails and the incredible natural beauty. An 8-mile gravel road, FS 74, traverses the area, and is popular for mountain biking. Seven singletrack trails are also open to mountain bikes. Horseback riding is also popular in this area, so be extra aware of horses when riding here.

Places to Stay

Camping

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.

Lodging

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.
http://www.dryridgeinn.com

Directions

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.

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