The Mountain Bike Trails of Western North Carolina
This section includes details about all the individual trails on this site.
Each trail has its own bookmarkable page to make it easy to find later, with all the stats, photos, and a map (where available).
This is different from a ride in that rides may involve only parts of or more than one trail, as well as connecting roads.
Find a Trail
Trails by Location
To find trails by location, visit the Trailheads section of the site. Each Trailhead has a trails listing of all the trails in the network near that location.
Search for a Trail
You can also search for a trail if you know its name.
You can also browse a list of all trails.
The Best Rides
Sticking to an individual trail doesn't always make for the best ride. These trail listings are most useful for piecing together your own ride out of the trail network.
For guides that split and combine trails into what we consider to be the best in the region, go to the Best Rides section.
About Our Trail Listings
Trails are listed by their official name given by the managing land agency. We list, where available, the steepness, tread condition, and overall difficulty of the trail, as well as its length and overall elevation change.
Trail length is one-way. If you are riding a single trail out-and-back, then double the length. While some guides show the round-trip length by default, many people's rides combine trails or use only portions of trails, so the most accurate thing for us to do is just list a trail's actual length.
The US Forest Service, among others, separates trails into just three difficulty levels. We think that's a bit condensed given the variety of trails we have in our region. Even ski slopes usually have at least 4 difficulty ratings!
So, we have devised four difficulty levels for all of the trail and ride listings on this site. Here's a description of typical conditions you might find on rides with a given difficulty level.
|Gentle climbs and descents with a relatively smooth surface, sometimes on pavement or other trail structures. No tricky water crossings or exposed cliffs. Some trails may be wheelchair and stroller accessible. Family-friendly meaning almost anyone including children learning to ride should be able to complete these.|
|Some climbs and descents with a few obstacles on the trail surface. May contain water crossing that are not overly difficult and occasional exposure to drop-offs beside the trail that aren't too risky. With a little effort, most riders with some experience including older children should be able to complete these.|
|Significant climbs and descents with considerable elevation change, but falling short of the hardest trails in the region. A trail surface that can be somewhat rough in places, but short of dangerous rocks or drops. May contain tricky water crossings and some exposure to cliffs and drop-offs beside the trail. Experienced riders in good shape should be able to complete these.|
|Large climbs and descents with high elevation change. A trail surface that can be very rough in places, including possibly dangerous exposure to cliffs and drop-offs, or lots of bike carrying and rock scrambling. May contain very tricky water crossings. Only experienced riders in excellent shape should attempt to complete these.|
This does not take in to effect the overall elevation change on the trail (which is listed separately), but factors in more the way in which the elevation is achieved. Very short sections of the trail that are out-of-character for the rest don't affect this rating, but will be mentioned in the description.
|Level||No appreciable sustained climbs. The trail may not be completely flat, but it is atypically so for the mountain region.|
|Climbs Gently||A general slope from one end of the trail to the other. No sections are considered particularly steep.|
|Climbs Moderately||A general slope from one end of the trail to the other. Some sections may be moderately steep, but the trail is not extremely so overall.|
|Climbs Steeply||A general slope from one end of the trail to the other. Some sections may be extremely steep, and the trail may be very steep overall.|
|Few Hills||No general slope from one end to the other, but contains gentle to moderate climbs and descents along its length.|
|Hilly||No general slope from one end to the other, but contains moderate to steep climbs and descents along its length.|
This characterizes the general condition of the worst parts of the trail surface. Very short sections of trail that are out of character for the rest don't change this rating, but will be mentioned in the description.
|Paved||A smooth, pavement surface.|
|Graveled||A smooth, improved gravel or bonded surface.|
|Few Obstacles||A natural surface with only occasional small obstacles such as roots, rocks, and eroded areas.|
|Some Obstacles||A natural surface with sustained small or occasional medium-sized obstacles such as roots, rocks, and eroded areas.|
|Moderately Rough||A natural surface with sustained medium-sized or occasional large obstacles such as roots, rocks, boulders, and eroded areas.|
|Very Rough||A natural surface with sustained large obstacles. May involve tricky maneuvering over very deeply eroded gullies, large drop-offs and even light rock scrambling.|
These descriptors include typical conditions which may vary with weather, erosion, trail maintenance, and season. They may overlap within the difficulty levels somewhat. Determinations are subjective.