Bikepacking is the perfect fusion of camping and cycling, an opportunity to escape the everyday and explore on two wheels. The Appalachian Gravel Growler is a remarkable bikepacking route that perfectly encapsulates this spirit of adventure, offering an unforgettable journey through the breathtaking Appalachian Mountains in western North Carolina. For cyclists seeking a taste of the Appalachian beauty while also enjoying local craft beer, the Gravel Growler is an adventure waiting to unfold.
A blend of idyllic scenery, thrilling trails, and quality breweries, the Appalachian Gravel Growler was designed to offer the best that western North Carolina has to offer. Picture yourself cycling through rolling hills, breathing in the crisp, clean mountain air, all while anticipating your next stop at a local brewery offering unique craft beer. Sounds like an ideal trip, doesn’t it?
The route is challenging yet approachable, designed with drop-bar gravel riding in mind but is rideable on nearly any bike. Over a course of 4-6 days, you’ll traverse a varied landscape made up of 50% gravel (some primitive), 7% singletrack, 38% paved backroads/parkway, and 5% dedicated/carless bike paths. The Appalachian Gravel Growler isn’t merely about reaching the destination; it’s about relishing the journey.
Along the way, there’s much to admire. You’ll find yourself winding through ever-scenic stretches of the Blue Ridge, where the mountains seem to roll on forever into the horizon. And you’ll experience the thrill of cycling an epic segment of the iconic Blue Ridge Parkway. Although the route requires solid fitness levels due to the climbing involved (nearly 5,000 feet per day if finishing in five days), the rewards of accomplishing this feat are immeasurable.
But it’s not all about gravel and gears; this journey is also about beer. Asheville, also known as “Beer City, USA”, forms a vital part of this route. This town, along with several others along the path, contributes to North Carolina’s reputation as one of the top craft beer destinations in the US. When your day’s ride is done, what could be better than relaxing with a local brew in hand?
The Appalachian Gravel Growler is a point-to-point route, starting in Morganton and showcasing the best breweries and gravel riding areas in the region. It’s an adventure that combines the best elements of bikepacking – the freedom, the connection to nature, the physical challenge – with the chance to explore the unique craft beer culture of the Appalachians.
If you’re planning to conquer the Appalachian Gravel Growler, we invite you to consider Riverbreeze Campground as your base or resting point. Just 2 miles from the route, our campground is an oasis of tranquility that offers the perfect respite for weary cyclists. We understand what cyclists need after a long day on the trails – a quiet, comfortable place to rest, recharge, and prepare for the next day’s challenges.
As you plan your adventure on the Appalachian Gravel Growler, don’t forget to pack your essentials, wear bright clothes, and carry lights. Remember, it’s not just about reaching the destination; it’s about the journey. We wish you a safe and enjoyable ride!