29 miles, 2,678 ft elevation gain, 94 ft/mi. Route ridden clockwise but either direction works.
Light. A beginner friendly route with smooth terrain and moderate elevation gain.
Gravel, greenway pavement, and country roads. Preferred bike rank: Gravel bike, Rigid MTB, Hardtail.
Established campgrounds, reservations encouraged.
Number of Nights
1 night ideal.
Food & Water
Resupply options only at start and finish in Hot Springs.
Bikepacking Arts and Crafts
Arts and Crafts is a beginner friendly route leaving from Hot Springs, NC staying at the the Paint Creek Campground. The terrain is smooth gravel, greenway pavement, and country roads allowing bike trailers and beginner bikepackers to join in. Highlights include easy riding along the French Broad River, swimming at Dudley Falls, and a soak in the hot springs before or after your ride.
- Riverside gravel riding
- Hot springs soak
- Swimming at Dudley Falls
- Petroglyphs on Paint Rock
The route leaves from the Appalachian Trail parking area and rolls through the hiking town of Hot Springs, NC. The first sections follows the French Broad River north towards the Paint Rock landmark. Paint Rock gets its name from the discovery of painted images on the face of the rock which date back to approximately 2500 B.C. To see the petroglyphs, find the cliff face where the route takes a sharp right away from the French Broad River. Look up about 20-30 feet on the rock face to find faint geometric and swirly markings on the rocks.
Once ready, begin your gravel climb away from the French Broad which tops out at the Paint Mountain Trailhead. Next, enjoy your descent to Houston Valley Road where you have a smaller, paved climb to the Paint Creek Campground. After setting up camp there is good swimming at Dudley Falls (which you will also pass on the way out) or you can explore tails and smaller creeks closer to the campground. Leaving from the campground take Lower Paint Creek Road all downhill back towards the French Broad River where you’ll follow the gravel back into town. More East Coast S240 routes can be found on our Routes Page.
- Paint Creek Campground is first come, first served. It’s recommended to arrive early on summer weekends. ($10 for a tent site)
- If you’re looking for lodging before or after your ride, Hot Springs Resort and Spa has a campground on the river ($30-35 for tent sites). They also offer hot tubs filled with water from the hot springs starting at $25.
Terms: Routes on Rockgeist.com are partial planning resources only, primarily for providing potential locations and initial mapping, and may not cover trail surface and challenge details. Please complete your own research before starting your trip. These routes are often remote and require proper knowledge of safety; including bike repair, bail out options, navigation, and resupply locations. Additionally, because of the remote nature of these locations, you may not have access to wireless or cellphone when onsite. You should also be aware of and prepared for weather and conditions. Users are required to obey all road, land, and trail rules, while practicing Leave No Trace principles. While all routes are diligently prepared and presented, Rockgeist does not guarantee accuracy of routes, trail conditions, or any points of interest detailed herein. It is your intention to fully assume all risks when following these routes. Rockgeist LLC, its collaborators, partners, or volunteers are in no way liable for actions, personal injury, damage to property, or any events that arise directly or indirectly from the routes presented on Rockgeist.com.