More and more people are finding the small-town ambience of Western NC mountain communities to be an attractive alternative to the hurried-up pace they’re used to in larger cities. And the town’s unspoiled natural surroundings and breathtaking views are a great incentive for those who plan to maintain and improve their health and physical fitness in the best retirement places in North Carolina.
One of those places is Lenoir. Right in the middle of the city, you’ll find the new Zacks Fork Mountain Bike Trail. Just over three miles long, but with great flow, plenty of berms and switchbacks and a 250-foot elevation change. It’s like riding the Overmountain Victory Trail but much shorter.
People come from all around to challenge the trails. From cities like Asheville, Wilmington and Boone. It’s Caldwell County’s first purpose-built surface trail for mountain bikes, described as both a perfect single track experience for beginners and a fast-flow trail for the experienced rider. The trail is shared by hikers, runners and folks enjoying a leisurely stroll with their pooch.
Zacks Fork Mountain Trail was designed by Jim Horton who is known for designing mountain bike trails which include the Warrior Creek Trail and Dark Mountain Trail. The land was donated by the City of Lenoir, and fund-raising for the project was spearheaded by Shawn Moore and Jeff Welch of Luna Cycles and Bob Giduz of Caldwell County Pathways. Welch conceived of the idea as his customers frequently asked for suggestions about where to ride. It took nine months and over 1,100 volunteer man hours to build, at a cost of $38,000 and is maintained by the Northwest North Carolina Bike Alliance.
Lenoir native Kent Burns described the trails as “I love it. It’s world-class mountain bike riding…I enjoy it more each time I ride”. Running between the Lenoir Aquatic Center and the Lenoir Rotary Soccer Complex, the Zacks Fork Mountain Tail connects directly to the Lenoir Greenway for easy access.
Since opening in 2014, it’s become one of the must-ride mountain bike trails in North Carolina and is located right in the heart of Lenoir, with easy access to all the amenities of historic downtown just a 15 minute bike ride away, and only five minutes from Highway 321 for the long distance riders. Luna Cycle co-owner Jeff Welch describes the trail “Even though you’re within the city limits, you get the feeling like you’re far away from the city.”
Cited as one of the best retirement places in North Carolina, Lenoir has charmed everyone from young professionals to retirees with its easygoing lifestyle and friendly residents. Nestled in hardwood forests between the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains to the west and the Brushy Mountains to the east, Lenoir is an easy drive from Charlotte, Asheville and Richmond. But it’s worlds away from the noise and stress – a place where you’re surrounded by plenty of opportunities to stay active, healthy and physically fit, like hiking and riding trails, fishing and water recreation on the Catawba River, Lake Rhodiss, Lake Hickory and Wilson Creek and so many more.
Those who have chosen to live in NC mountain communities in the foothills rate the area as one of the best retirement places in North Carolina. The Coves Mountain River Club in Lenoir borders five miles of the mountain-fed Johns River, has its own mountain bike trails in North Carolina, a mountain-top lodge, infinity edge swimming pool and hot tub and community gardens. HOA fees are less than $1,000 a year. Settle here, and you’ll enjoy mild four season Lenoir weather and have plenty of ways to stay active enjoying the great outdoors.
Take a peek at the architectural styles at The Coves Mountain River Club.
Imagine waking up surrounded by spectacular mountain views and then deciding how to spend your day. Will it be horseback riding or maybe even a country ride on the 20-miles of mountain bike trails in North Carolina? Maybe you’d rather attend a concert or other cultural event in the area. Or, maybe you’ll just enjoy a quiet morning in Isabel’s Garden, where both the experienced gardener and the novice can experience nurturing a seed to maturity. Walk along the river’s edge, cast a line or lazy up under the river pavilion to read your favorite book. Of course, there’s always a brisk workout at the lodge’s fitness center followed by one of the community’s cook off competitions.
No matter what your lifestyle, you can be just as busy as you like – or just relax and take in the magnificent natural beauty of the area. That’s life at The Coves River Mountain Club, a beautiful 3,600 acre gated community nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
We invite you to bring your mountain bike and test out our trails and those at Zacks Fork. Call us directly at 828.754.0700 and we’ll send you trail maps for the area.
If you’re exploring the area for the first time, ask for our 84 page complimentary Western North Carolina Visitor’s Guide which will provide more information about living in the foothills.