Bailey Mountain Bike Park is located just 20 minutes from Asheville, and it is the perfect destination for riders looking for a world-class downhill and mountain biking resort. In the article below, we will explore all that the park has to offer so that all that’s left for you is to book a pass, get the best MTB helmet and your bike and enjoy the unforgettable trails.
A quick presentation
Bailey Mountain Bike Park is a favorite attraction for anyone looking for adrenaline-filled downhill riding since it is one of the best gravity-specific bike parks in North Carolina, and it features over 1000 vertical feet of elevation. The high elevation is coupled with loads of hardwood trees and boulders that are bound to test the skill of the rider.
The mountainside land has been developed specifically for downhill riding, and it also offers some breathtaking views that will appeal not only to the rider but also to any spectator who might like to observe the action on the trails.
The facility offers a shuttle service for most of its downhill riding trails. The shuttle service is available on weekends and some weekdays and holidays. If you’re curious to learn more about this, you can check out the park’s website since there you will find the latest and most accurate information since the schedule can change.
What’s more, if you are interested in giving Bailey Mountain Bike Park a try, then you will need to reserve your pass in advance since the facility limits the number of riders each day. This is done to prevent excessive wait-times for the shuttle, and at the end of the day, we think that this is a good business decision since it helps make everyone happy.
If you want to ride the park at the last minute, and you have not reserved your pass in advance, you can head over to the online store section of the park’s website, and there you can check availability for the date you have in mind. If you are lucky, you might be able to find an available spot.
The passes are available for sale approximately five days out, and the people working there recommend to book at least a few days in advance. You should also check the weather since if the forecast is nice, the passes tend to sell out faster. If the shop displays “sold out”, it means that the park has reached capacity for that specific date.
Also worth noting is that Bailey Mountain Bike Park does not cater to beginner riders since all the available trails are designed for intermediate, advanced, and expert riders. However, if you are interested in improving your techniques for riding, cornering, braking, and getting down the mountain, then you can consider getting a mountain guide.
The facility allows you to hire experienced mountain bike guides that can coach and help you fine-tune any particular skill. The guides can coach both individual riders and a group of up to five riders. You will need to reserve the guide in advance at an hourly rate of $40 per rider.
Guide for first-time visitors
Bailey Mountain Bike Park puts a big emphasis on the safety of the riders, which is why a full-face helmet is recommended if you want to ride on the trails. If you bring any other type of helmet, such as an Enduro-style helmet with an attachable chin bar, you will not be turned away, but the staff will advise you to get a full-face helmet that provides more protection.
The good news is that if you forget your helmet or you don’t have a full-face helmet, you can rent one at the park. The helmets that are available for rental are only in adult sizes, namely Small, Medium, Large, and Extra Large. These won’t fit children and certain teens.
While kneepads and protective gear are not mandatory, the staff will highly recommend that you wear them since most of the trails are quite intense, and you don’t want to experience them without protection. Knee and elbow guards are also available and can be rented at the park.
Currently, the facility doesn’t rent bikes, which means that you will need to bring one with you or otherwise you won’t be able to ride. The park recommends using a bike that has at least 6” of travel. If you want to experience all the features and the trails, then you will need a full suspension bike with 8” of travel.
The resort is very lenient as far as the types of bikes that are allowed, but you can’t ride a bike with rim brakes since the policy of the park is to allow only bicycles with working disc brakes. It is the responsibility of the rider to make sure that their bike meets these recommendations and that everything is in proper riding condition.
If you happen to damage your bike while riding on any of the trails on Bailey Mountain, the facility carries all the simple repair tools and gear that are needed to keep you riding. This includes tubes, sealant, brake pads, chains, and more.
For more extensive repair jobs, there are multiple local bike mechanics that the staff at the park will gladly guide you toward.
What trails are available?
As mentioned earlier, Bailey Mountain Bike Park serves mountain bike riders and professionals who want to have a dedicated downhill and mountain biking facility. There are 14 downhill trail segments available that range in difficulty from intermediate level to advanced and expert levels.
The intermediate trails are the Skywalker, Dr. Jekyll, Salvador’s Slalom, Mr. Hyde’s, Cowbell, and Little Red Riding Hood. Wormhole, Tunnel of Love, and Banshee are the advanced trails. Riders looking for more technical advanced trails can try the Welcome 2 The Jungle and Jumanji trails.
While all the trails are worth exploring, below, we will talk a bit about some of the most popular ones in each of the three difficulty levels so that you can have a better idea of what you can expect from Bailey Mountain.
Mr. Hyde’s is one of the first downhill trails at Bailey Mountain, and it is a single track that measures 0.45 miles. This trail is a great starting point for first-time visitors since the difficulty level doesn’t provide a big challenge, yet the trail has enough twists and turns to keep your heart pumping.
Another mellow offering at the Park is the Little Red Riding Hood trail, which is even shorter than Mr. Hyde’s at just 0.31 miles. This is recommended for riders who are not yet fully certain of their skill since the difficulty level for this intermediate trail is very low. There are only a few steep turns, most of which are easy to tackle.
Banshee is one of the most popular advanced trails on Bailey Mountain since it measures 0.6 miles, and it allows for speeds that can easily exceed 25 mph with many opportunities to catch some airtime. Riders who are looking for a tighter and more technical trail should consider the Tunnel of Love.
Welcome 2 The Jungle starts just off the top of the shuttle road, and it leads through some of the most difficult segments of the mountains. Near the end of the trail, there’s a bailout that lets you hop back on the shuttle road and connect back to the top of the mountain. The trail is 0.1 miles long.
The Jumanji trail is very popular among riders, and it starts right at the end of Welcome 2 The Jungle. The trail is 0.4 miles long, and it offers a natural downhill run with plenty off-camber switchback turns. It is very steep, which is why it is only recommended for expert riders.
This advanced trail will lead the rider through rock gardens, and it has mandatory drops that cannot be bypassed. When it has rained, and the ground is wet, Jumanji will become even more challenging since part of it can turn into a small stream that can prove quite difficult to navigate.
When is the best time to visit?
When it first opened its gates in 2015, Bailey Mountain Bike Park was the first year-round resort in the United States dedicated to downhill mountain biking. This means that once the downhill season is over and your local bike park has locked up or started to prepare for some white pow, you can count on Bailey Mountain to be open for you.
That’s right, ever since they opened for the first time in 2015, the park has managed to keep its promise of being available to mountain bikers year-round. If you want to avoid peak times, then you will need to pick any other time of year apart from summer since starting from mid-May through late September, the park tends to be very busy.
In recent years, Western North Carolina, particularly the areas within a close radius of the city of Asheville, has become more and more of a mountain bike destination. Summer is the time of year that people all over the country flock to the park.
However, if you are a social person, then summer can be the best time to visit since you will be able to meet new people, make new friends, and you’ll also get to enjoy all the fun events that happen in the area.
How does the weather affect the park’s operation?
The park is open year-round, but there are circumstances where it can close due to bad weather. If it rains heavily, the trails can become unsafe, and if this happens, shuttling is stopped. Light rain or snow doesn’t create issues, and in these conditions, the park will still stay open.
If the park closes due to bad weather, the resort will offer a raincheck or a refund to any rider who has purchased a pass for the date that the park has closed.
All customers will be contacted in advance, so after purchasing a pass, it is recommended to add the park’s phone number into your contact list so that you can know that it is the park trying to contact you and not a robocall.
During the winter, if the schools are closed due to icy road conditions or snow, then it is very likely that the park will be unable to operate as well. It is also worth noting that during the winter, the riding conditions tend to be wetter than in the summer and spring, particularly through mid-December until late February.
This can make the trails more challenging, and you should expect some mud when riding in winter, which can be good for some riders and bad for others. Riders who are looking for less challenging trail conditions should visit the park in the summer or fall.
Food and drinks
Bottled water is available at the park, but food and snacks are not. You are, however, permitted to bring any snacks you want. If you are looking for places to eat or just hanging out, you can either ask the staff for a recommendation or check the official Bailey Mountain Bike Park website for a comprehensive list of restaurants that are in close vicinity to the resort.
What about camping and hiking trails?
The resort doesn’t currently offer formal camping sites, but there is limited space available for primitive camping. There are plans to add formal camping sites in the near future. To reach the primitive camping sites, you will need an all-wheel-drive or four-wheel-drive vehicle since it can be difficult to reach the location in inclement weather. There are also no RV hook-ups.
While the park offers truly majestic natural views, there are no hiking trails available, and hiking is not permitted. The park is bike specific only. However, the neighboring Bailey Mountain Foundation allows hiking, and you can access those trails from the MHU side of the mountain.