Our last destination this month is a bit closer to home, but still a great spot for some outdoor exercise! Who says you have to travel far to work out in some fresh air?
The Bent Creek Experimental Forest is a mere 15 minute drive from the heart of Asheville, and is filled with countless trails for you to explore. It’s an ideal site for a quick afternoon hike with friends and family. For those of you looking to push your fitness, the web of trails spread throughout the area are a runner’s delight.
Within this forest lies Lake Powhatan, providing camping and recreational facilities. It’s a good center for scoping out several loop trails, including the Deerfield Loop, Pinetree Loop, and Explorer Loop. You can also take a lap around the lake itself by following the Homestead Trail.
Beyond the area around Lake Powhatan there are plenty more paths to be explored. If you’re just out for a walk on your own or with some company, look up a new trail online or just pick one when you get there! See what you can find and enjoy yourself.
Those of you looking to log some serious mileage, you can search for different routes using several online resources (see below). Be sure to check the difficulty of the trail and its elevation change, so you can find the right one to match your abilities. No one wants to start off an easy jog only to find himself crawling up a grueling hill.
If you’ve never taken a whack at trail running, by all means give it a try! Sometimes it helps to keep the motivation high when you change up the scenery, and you may find that your legs enjoy the change from hard roads to softer trails.
For you thrill seekers out there, Bent Creek also serves as a major hub for mountain bikers. Ranging from novice trails to exciting downhill, you have yet another opportunity to head outside and, maybe, try something new.
As always, remember to bring some water along whenever you go outdoors, especially with the summer heating up. And whether you’re out for a stroll, getting in that morning run, or biking down a steep trail, be aware at all times. Most of the trails are shared by everyone, so let everyone enjoy the experience!
Asheville Trail Running by Trish Brown