Long a well-kept secret known only by pro cyclists flocking here to train, the Greenville SC area is now recognized nationally as one of the best cycling communities in the country. This newly popular travel destination is the starting point for our trip that takes us to the quaint villages of Saluda, Tryon, and Brevard; through horse country, river valleys, state and national forests, and finally tempting you with epic climbs used by pros for training. This beautiful, diverse terrain now offers equally impressive lodging and dining, much of which is designed specifically for the cyclist and outdoor enthusiast.
Greenville SC and the Southern Blue Ridge
Greenville, SC to Saluda and Brevard, NC
Tour DifficultyRolling Hills and a few Challenging Climbs
Duration6 Days, 5 Nights
Nearest AirportGSP Greenville Spartanburg International
PricingFrom $2450 per person
Dates5/3/20 - 5/8/20
Welcome to Greenville, SC, a charming, contemporary southern city recognized nationally as one of the top cycling communities in the U.S. We hope that you arrived a little early to enjoy Greenville's vibrant downtown scene as we will head for the countryside via the Swamp Rabbit Trail follwing bike fittings, introductions and a quick lunch. This popular rail trail is the ideal warm-up as it leads us out of the city, past the beautiful Furman University campus, through Traveler's Rest and then onto the back roads to our home for the first night, Hotel Domestique.
A true cyclist's hotel, Hotel Domestique is owned by George Hincapie, a 17-time Tour de France competitor and "domestique" teammate to several Tour champions. This charming, intimate hotel is a first-class basecamp for the start of our trip.
Dinner together at Hotel Domestique's award-winning Restaurant 17.
We start our day with a ride up one of the most well known and beautiful moderate climbs, the Greenville Watershed. So popular it may have more cyclists than cars on any given day, the "watershed climb" takes us into North Carolina past Lake Summit. An early option is a loop past the beautiful stone Poinsett Bridge, built in 1820 and believed to be the oldest surviving bridge in the Southeast.
Lunch is enjoyed at the regionally famous Purple Onion Cafe in downtown Saluda. Aftwards your afternoon is free to explore this quaint village or relax at the Orchard Inn, our home for the next two nights. Be sure to carve out time for a massage at the Inn's spa, just steps from your room. Not ready to relax? Stay on the bike for the 13 mile Fork Creek loop and Pearson's Falls, adding 1570 feet of climbing. (Spa treatments not included in tour price; advance reservations are required.)
Dinner tonight at The Orchard Inn is a trip highlight as the menu is always built around the Inn's own organic garden and mini-orchard.
The day starts with a fun descent down a popular route known as the Saluda Grade, once the steepest railway grade in the country. We arrive in the equestrian community of Tryon and begin peddling through quiet back roads dotted with horse farms and vineyards. A treat awaits us for lunch as our route takes us to the new Tryon International Equestrian Center, host of the 2018 World Equestrian Games. Be sure to capture a glimpse of this impressive complex while choosing from several restaurants for your lunch.
Back on the bikes we turn toward the Green River and the opportunity to climb the Green River Cove 17 switchbacks, one of the hallmark climbs in the Hincapie Gran Fondo. Never fear, shuttling up the switchbacks in the van is almost as exhilarating as the ride up on bike!
Dinner tonight is on your own in Saluda.
Say goodbye to the foothills as we head west to Brevard via DuPont State Forest, known for its spectacular waterfalls. Our little known route this morning is a local favorite that takes us past numerous summer camps and in the back door to DuPont State Forest. After a picnic lunch in this waterfall paradise we continue on the bike into Brevard via Oskar Blues Brewery, pioneer of the "craft beer in a can" craze. A short peddle along the Brevard Greenway will bring us to the entrance of Pisgah National Forest and our home for the next two nights, Pilot Cove Luxury Cabins!
We wrap up our action packed day with dinner at one of our favorite downtown Brevard restaurants featuring farm-to-table fare and local craft beer selections.
Today's riding begins alongside the French Broad River, considered one of the world's oldest rivers, and continues through the tranquil river valley with beautiful mountain views. Stop in the quaint village of Rosman for a coffee break and then we head back to Brevard for lunch where you can ponder the many choices for your afternoon. Bike into Pisgah Forest and up to the beautiful 60-foot high Looking Glass Falls with a stop at the Pisgah Fish Hatchery where thousands of trout are raised for the NC mountain streams. Or, you many decide on one of the many other popular outdoor adventures available at our doorstep such as fly fishing, mountain biking, hiking, river tubing, horseback riding, exploring art galleries and shops in Brevard or simply relaxing in the hammock on your cabin porch. (Additional fees and advance reservations may apply to some activities).
We celebrate our wonderful week of cycling tonight with catered cocktails and dinner under the stars at Pilot Cove's amphitheater.
We saved the best for the last as we shuttle you off to a favorite mountain cafe and a breakfast guaranteed to fuel you up for the Caesar's Head summit ride. This moderate but sustained climb rewards you at the top with a spectacular view of the SC and NC Blue Ridge Mountains. It's all downhill from here as you descend through the state park and into Greenville via the Swamp Rabbit Trail. As always we will have showers available and a lunch to go before we offer shuttles to the airport, or hopefully you extend your stay to enjoy more of Greenville!
Low end of tour price range reflects the 6 month Early Bird Discount. High end of price range reflects no Early Bird Discount.
What's Included in Your Tour Price
Optional Nights Prior
We have a block of rooms available at the Embassy Suites Golf Resort, 670 Verdae Boulevard, Greenville, South Carolina, 29607. This where the tour will start and end. The hotel is a 15 minute drive away from both the GSP International Airport and downtown Greenville. It has a restaurant and bar onsite as well as many other amenities.
Like the modern country house of a well-traveled friend, Hotel Domestique feels both international and inviting, worldly yet at home in its beautiful Blue Ridge locale. Established by world-renowned cyclist George Hincapie to share the same unforgettable hospitality, cuisine, rest and adventure he discovered during his travels abroad, Hotel Domestique is the perfect destination for relaxation.
Nights 2 & 3
The beautiful bed and breakfast just outside of Saluda, NC is surrounded by nature and home to a full service spa and award-winning Newman's Restaurant. Menus are built around local organic ingredients. Much of the produce is sourced from the onsite 4,000 sq. ft. organic garden and mini-orchard. Breakfast and dinner are served in the windowed dining room with breaktaking mountain vistas.
Nights 4 & 5
Immerse yourself in nature while enjoying modern design and luxurious furnishings. With Pisgah National Forest at your doorstep, enjoy direct access to hiking, biking, and outdoor recreation activitites, all within minutes of downtown Brevard - a quaint mountain town named on of the best small towns in America!
This tour is a roadie's dream, and is appropriate for intermediate or advanced bicyclists. We recommend modern road bikes, preferably with triple chain rings or large rear cogs to tame the hills. All biking is on asphalt roads except for a few short sections of packed gravel. Distance options each day range from 30 to 60 miles, with optional side routes available to add on miles. Terrain is a mix of rolling hills and strenuous climbs. The scenery is very beautiful and diverse, including valley farms, and forested mountains.
Tour Point of Origin:
Getting to the Tour Start
Driving: Approximate travel distance to Greenville:
- Atlanta, GA: 145 miles
- Richmond, VA: 389 miles
- Charlotte, NC: 101 miles
- Nashville, TN: 347 miles
Parking: Parking is provided free of charge by Embassy Suites Golf Resort, 670 Verdae Boulevard, Greenville, SC 29607.
Airports: GSP International Airport, 2000 GSP Drive, Greer, SC 29651. 864.877.7426.
Served by Allegiant, American, Delta, Frontier, Southwest and United
Ground Transit: Carolina Tailwinds will provide a courtesy shuttle on Days 1 and 6 of the tour to/from the airport.
We bike away from Greenville on the first morning of the tour. Try to arrive in Greenville no later than 11 a.m., 10 a.m. if you are renting a bike from us. Departure time from Greenville on the last day will be around 2 - 3 p.m.
Extend Your Vacation
Greenville is very tourist friendly small city. We will not be including time in Greenville as part of the tour itinerary, so you may want to add time on your own there.
The highest waterfalls east of the Rockies, cascades, glens, colleges, hamlets, valley farms, quaint towns and steep hillsides dotted with vineyards. All of this, in addition to the sparkling waters of long blue glacial lakes, make the NY Finger Lakes a special bicycling destination not to be missed.