Our WNC region has long been home to some of the highest quality and most challenging mountain biking in America.
Consider the trails at Pisgah, DuPont, Bent Creek, Kitsuma and Mount Mitchell.
So, it's no wonder that as word travels about the mountain biking trails at Buffalo Creek Park in Lake Lure, our community will attract some accomplished riders looking for that next cool challenge.
While cycling has always been popular in North Carolina, the opportunity for mountain biking in the Lake Lure, Chimney Rock Village area has been limited until now.
The park offers
the first opportunity for a mountain experience that will challenge
your fitness and offer great views and varied terrain. This trail is
the first loop at Buffalo Creek Park and provides a strong shot of
climbing without harsh technical difficulty. Itís smooth and flowing
and popular with hikers and trail runners.
Here's What you Need to Know:
The public trail head has room for 5-6 vehicles and is an interim parking solution. Work is underway to build a large parking area on an adjacent acre of land. Overflow parking is OK along Buffalo Creek Road.
There are two trail heads: the northern, public parking area on Buffalo Creek Road and a southern parking area inside the Rumbling Bald Resort, which is private in that it serves the residents and guests of the resort. These are connected by a 1/3 mile flat pathway - which is a nice, flat walk in itself - that follows Buffalo Creek. Midway between is a bridge and the start of the trail.
After a short distance, the trail crosses a small footbridge and reaches a fork that starts and finishes the loop. From here, riders will travel in the opposite direction of those on foot. A sign indicates the directions which reverse daily.
In either direction, the trail has three sections: The Head, the Heart and the Tail (HHT). After a brief warmup, a stout climb gets you 500 feet up the mountain, but intermediate descents mean you earn about 1,000 feet of total climbing. Then, there's a smooth traverse in the middle section that takes you through a large boulder field that attracts climbers and the rare Green Salamander.
You then finish with a fast, flowing descent on banked switchbacks. The trail has an average grade of nine percent with short sections of 15-20 percent.
More about the Park
Buffalo Creek Park is the gateway to 1500 acres of conserved land that protects the northern headwaters of Lake Lure. When fully developed, it will offer over 10 miles of intermediate to advanced mountain biking trails and picnic facilities along Buffalo Creek.
It is the only mountain bike trail system within a 20-mile radius of Lake Lure and Chimney Rock State Park.
An additional 1 Ĺ miles of trail was completed in mid 2014, bringing the total trail distance to five miles in this first phase.
In the next phase, the trail will head west for an additional 5-7 miles to connect with state park property at Eagle Rock near Shumont Mountain. This will be the first leg of the Lake Lure Summits Trail, which will eventually circumnavigate mountain peaks around Lake Lure and connect the areaís recreational lands, offering day hiking and through-hiking opportunities.
While the park was designed and grant-funded as a mountain biking park, it is a real treat for various outdoor enthusiasts:
- Mountain bikers seeking to improve their climbing skills and to enjoy fast, flowing descents.
- Trail runners in search of a serious aerobic workout.
- Hikers wishing to spend a couple of hours on a smooth, pleasant trail through wooded terrain with a moderate amount of climbing.
- Dog owners intent on exercising themselves and their pet companions.
- Naturalists who will enjoy exploring the Park's ecosystems that support several unique species, including the rare green salamander.
- And, for rock climbers, the trail intersects a boulder field with many new problems to be solved.
Follow a pictorial journey of the park's construction captured by Clint Calhoun, naturalist and environmental control officer for the Town of Lake Lure. Clint has posted a great image gallery here