Biking with your kids creates wonderful memories for them and is a great way to travel together, but it can be challenging to find child-friendly biking when visiting new cities. Asheville is one of the top destinations in the country for biking, eating, and drinking, and this post will help you enjoy all three with your whole family. From your little one brand new to bike riding to your budding pro, we have trail recommendations for all ages and skill levels.
*Please note that COVID-19 restrictions may affect dining and lodging options included in this post. Check North Carolina’s COVID dashboard for up-to-date guidelines, and call restaurants and hotels ahead of time to make sure they’re open and to find out what precautions they’re taking.
Young learners (ages 2-6)
Where to bike: For little ones just learning to ride a bike, a small, mostly paved loop within the French Broad River Park provides the perfect setting. For slightly more comfortable riders, the half-mile stretch of greenway running from the French Broad River Park to the MellowDrome at Carrier Park offers enough space to stay safe from cars and pedestrians, while practicing skills like braking and dismounting. Once you reach the MellowDrome, a full playground with a basketball court and hockey rink awaits over the wooden bridge. If you’re feeling adventurous, add on a small quarter-mile loop through Carrier Park for some extra practice.
Check out the full Carrier Park GPS route here.
Where to eat and drink: After cruising along the French Broad River and enjoying the bustle of Carrier Park, you’re going to want to grab a meal and a drink. Luckily, HomeGrown West, just across Amboy Road, serves up some delicious (and mostly healthy) homestyle cooking, and the adjacent Cascade Lounge has a vast selection of local brews and cocktails. We recommend the buttermilk chicken with mashed potatoes and mushroom gravy, paired with a Hi-Wire Low Pitch Juicy IPA.
Practicing cyclists (ages 5-8)
Where to bike: Though many parts of Asheville are not bike-friendly for younger riders, North Asheville is perfect for cyclists practicing their skills with their parents. Start at Magnolia Park and head north on Reed Creek Greenway for a secluded, peaceful ride. At the end of the greenway, cross Broadway Street and find the wide pedestrian path that runs along W.T. Weaver Boulevard. You can stop at the Botanical Gardens on your left for a self-guided tour of southern Appalachia’s native plants and habitats, or keep on cruising another three-quarters of a mile up W.T. Weaver until you reach Luella’s Bar-B-Que on Merrimon Avenue. This is a very busy intersection, so cross with care.
Check out the full North Asheville GPS route here.
Where to eat and drink: Luella’s Bar-B-Que on the other side of Merrimon provides the perfect mid-way lunch spot. Enjoy some of Asheville’s best barbeque (quite the claim, we know!) with a local pale ale or IPA. You’ll love their slow-smoked, chile-rubbed brisket, and your kids will go crazy for their mac and cheese.
Budding pros (ages 7-12)
We’ve got two great options to share with you for your budding pros:
Where to bike option 1: Great news for more experienced riders—the City of Asheville recently completed a public bike skills park in Richmond Hill! This free track includes features designed to build specific skills needed for mountain biking, with options for all skill levels (though we recommend your child be a proficient rider). If you’re looking for more family activities, Richmond Hill Park has an extensive hiking and biking trail system and a disc golf course. Don’t worry, the trails all connect, making it difficult to get lost.
To access the bike skills park, park at the Richmond Hill picnic center (off Richmond Hill Drive) and follow the sign to the teaching loop.
Where to eat and drink: A few miles north on Riverside Drive, Zillicoah Brewing Co. offers great beer, plenty of indoor and outdoor seating along the French Broad River, plus a Mexican food truck. Tacos and fresh beer after a bike adventure? Sounds good to us!
Where to bike option 2: The Bent Creek area has over 30 miles of mountain biking trails for beginner to advanced riders, but we think your young pro will love their pump track. Located at the Bent Creek Community Park, this pump track is for more advanced riders, as it has some tight turns and rolling jumps. Families can enjoy a nearby playground, basketball court, and picnic area, or head a few miles down the road to Lake Powhatan for boat and kayak rentals. If your family plans on splitting up, be aware that cell phone coverage is notoriously unreliable in Bent Creek.
To access the pump track, head to the Bent Creek Community Park.
Where to eat and drink: Stoneridge Tavern off of Brevard Road offers something for everyone with their extensive family-friendly menu. After your ride, grab a gyro platter or some cajun shrimp pasta and a cold draft beer. Or—if you’re up for a drive—head 11 miles south to Sierra Nevada Brewing, which has its own full-service restaurant and flagship line of brews.
Where to stay in Asheville
While Asheville has one of the hottest Airbnb markets in the country, we recommend staying somewhere with local flair and history, like the Chestnut Street Inn or the Grove Park Inn. Check out our last blog for more local lodging gems, including an upscale tree fort!
Experience Asheville like a local
Let us put together your family’s perfect Asheville bike tour. Our comprehensive Asheville DIY bike tour package includes hundreds of miles of GPS cycling routes, tips on where to eat and drink, how to rent bikes, and so much more. Have questions or want to learn more about who we are and the guided tours we offer? Drop us a line.