The moderately hilly region found in central North Carolina is one of the state's best kept secrets for perfect cycling conditions! Peaceful country back roads wind past peach tree groves, scenic thoroughbred horse farms, remote Revolutionary War historic sites, world renowned pottery studios, and the pristine landscape of some of America's most legendary golf courses. An authentic "southern hospitality" experience awaits you in NC's Heartland.
The terrain is moderately hilly to hilly, making it ideal for intermediate and advanced level cyclists. All routes are on paved roads, so road bikes or road oriented hybrids are recommended. Routes will total 40-75 miles each day. Opportunities to extend your miles, or shorten them with a "leapfrog shuttle" exist daily. All of the routes are on country back roads, and the scenery is beautiful, including hardwood forests, longleaf pine forests, peach orchards, cotton fields, equestrian estates, golf courses and small towns.
North Carolina Horse Country
From North Carolina Chapel Hill to Southern Pines
Tour DifficultyModerately Hilly
Duration5 Days, 4 Nights
Nearest AirportRDU Raleigh–Durham International Airport
PricingFrom $1695 per person
Chapel Hill, our rendezvous site, is a college town complete with a bevy of restaurants, shops, art galleries and of course, Tar Heel athletics and academics. Arrive early to enjoy touring the beautiful University of North Carolina campus, nearby gardens and arboretums, and to savor the charm of Chapel Hill and the surrounding area.
After meeting for a light lunch and orientation meeting, we'll start the trip rolling with a 35 - 40 mile bike ride into the gentle hills of central NC. Country roads take us past quiet crossroads communities and along the corridor once known as the Great Indian Trading Path which connected the Catawba in western NC with native Americans of the Chesapeake. You'll work up an appetite, which will be satisfied by an outstanding gourmet meal at a local eatery. Walk the lamp lit streets of Chapel Hill or indulge in one of the many opportunities for nightlife in this vibrant college town.
After filling up with a delicious hot breakfast, get ready to bike! Numerous distance options exist today depending on how you wish to spend your time. We pedal today toward Seagrove, the pottery capital of NC, where potters create handcrafted earthenware made in the same tradition that began here more than 200 years ago. An option exists to briefly explore this craft at the NC Pottery Museum on route. We continue our day by pedaling into the Uwharrie National Forest. This National Forest was named for the Uwharrie Mountains, which were created from an ancient chain of volcanoes. The 1,000-foot hills of today were once 20,000-foot peaks!
We end our ride today outside the small village of Norwood, NC at our inn located on a world class equestrian estate. We'll enjoy wine and cheese on the front porch with the horses grazing in the pastures surrounding our lodge. A gourmet catered dinner at our inn caps a great day on the bike.
After breakfast, we'll depart on bikes to continue our trek through the Uwharries. Our bike ride today takes us south and east, leaving the Uwharrie Mountains behind. We pedal through the famous Village of Pinehurst, which is a New England style town and home of renowned Pinehurst Resort. Both men’s and women’s PGA Tour events have been held on these fabled courses designed by revered golf architects such as Donald Ross and Rees Jones.
We continue a short distance to our end destination of Southern Pines, an invitingly walkable village imbued with southern hospitality, galleries, shops and numerous wonderful restaurants. We regroup for hors d'eourves on the outdoor terrace of our inn at sunset prior to dinner on your own this evening.
Our layover day in Southern Pines provides the option of biking a loop ride through the heart of NC's equestrian centers, or remaining in charming Southern Pines for the day for a stroll along the downtown streets or a visit to the local day spa. Our bike ride takes us past the historic House in the Horseshoe, a colonial and Revolutionary War era plantation home along the banks of the Deep River. Enjoy a short private guided tour of this home prior to pedaling the rolling terrain. In between stops, savor bicycling through quiet and quaint small communities as well as landscapes dotted with thoroughbred horse farms.
It's time to leave the "home of golf" to return to Chapel Hill today. We cap your vacation with a lovely bike ride on quiet country roads toward the shores of beautiful Jordan Lake. Verdant fields of soybeans and peach groves provide a green backdrop for today's final ride. Showers and a catered lunch will be provided prior to departure.
What's Included in Your Tour Price
4 nights at boutique inns
Dinner on Nights 1, 2, & 4; All lunches; All breakfasts; Snacks; and Hors d'eourves most nights.
Services of Expert Local Guides
Carolina Tailwinds maintains a guest to guide maximum ratio of 7:1 on all our tours. Guides are ready to show you the hidden wonders of each and every destination.
Full Route Support & Luggage Transfer
Service of 1 – 2 support vans on route every day.
More details on what's included:
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The Franklin Hotel, Chapel Hill, NC. The Franklin Hotel is simple elegance defined. You will experience classic style and warm, friendly hospitality from the moment you enter through the revolving doors into the domed, porcelain and mahogany lobby. The upscale hotel features 67 beautifully appointed guestrooms including 7 spacious penthouse suites with private patio balconies and stunning views, that combine with exceptional amenities and contemporary comforts to create an exquisite ambience that will satisfy your highest expectations.
The Fork Lodge, Norwood, NC. The Fork Farm is a 1600 acre outdoor paradise. The Fork is a working farm, world class equestrian event facility, sporting clay shooting facility, and more. From the front porch of the lodge, you can soak up a lovely view of show horses grazing in pristine pastures.
Nights 3 & 4
Jefferson Inn, Southern Pines, NC. A century old landmark in the heart of the Southern Pines Historic District recently received a multi-million dollar restoration, transforming it into the area’s only boutique hotel. Cottage style furniture; plantation shutters; custom-made down-filled duvets and pillows; 600 thread count Egyptian cotton sheets; flat screen LCD or plasma TV’s in every room; and free wireless internet service, as well as generously sized travertine-clad baths with claw foot and garden bathtubs, and oversized showers with regular and rain showerheads. The inn was recognized by Conde Nast Johansens in its 2009 Edition of Recommended Hotels, Inns, Resorts and Spas.
The terrain is moderately hilly to hilly, making it ideal for intermediate and advanced level cyclists. All routes are on paved roads, so road bikes or road oriented hybrids are recommended.
Routes will total 40-75 miles each day. Opportunities to extend your miles, or shorten them with a "leapfrog shuttle" exist daily.
All of the routes are on country back roads, and the scenery is beautiful, including hardwood forests, longleaf pine forests, peach orchards, cotton fields, equestrian estates, golf courses and small towns.
Tour Point of Origin:
Franklin Hotel, 311 W Franklin St, Chapel Hill, NC (919) 442-9000
Getting to the Tour Start (Chapel Hill, NC)
Driving: Approximate travel distance to Chapel Hill--
- Raleigh, NC: 18 miles
- Charlotte, NC: 143 miles
- Washington, DC: 270 miles
- Atlanta, GA: 381 miles
- Knoxville, TN: 334 miles
- Pittsburgh, PA: 477 miles
Airports: Raleigh-Durham International (RDU) is 15-30 minutes away, depending on traffic. It is served by most major airlines.
Ground Transit: Taxis, Ubers, limos, and rental cars are available at RDU. ( Link )
Parking: We have arranged for long term parking for the duration of your tour. We will end the tour in Chapel Hill, NC with an opportunity to shower prior to departure.
In order to participate in the Day 1 meeting and bike ride, please plan to arrive in Chapel Hill no later than 11:30 a.m. (10:30 a.m. if renting a bike).
On Day 5, we will return to Chapel Hill between 1 and 2:30 pm. You should be able to depart by 3:30 pm. Flight timing on our last day should not be booked before 5:30 p.m.
Extend Your Vacation
Before or after our activity packed tour, you may want to tack on a few days. Perhaps in the vibrant historic college town of Chapel Hill.
The Triangle Area: The "Triangle" is made by the neighboring cities of Chapel Hill, Durham and Raleigh. Durham is home to Duke University, the Durham Bulls baseball team, the American Tobacco Heritage Trail, and numerous museums. Raleigh is the state capital, home of NC State University, and location of the state museums of history, art, and natural sciences.
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.