The end of summer doesn’t mean the end of cycling season. Now’s the perfect time to hit the trails! If you’re mountain biker, this is the season you’ve been waiting for; the days are still nice and long, but the humidity is finally falling. Hard core roadies, this is your season, too. You’ll be amazed at how your bike handling skills improve with a little time on the trails! The Charlotte area has so many great places to mountain bike, the hardest part isn’t deciding IF you’ll go, but where. So, in no particular order, here are a few of our favorite mountain bike trails in and around Charlotte:
Back Yard Trails:
As the closest trailhead to the shop, this trail network is easily one of the more technical trails in the area. No big climbs, but plenty of stunts, jumps, rock gardens, skinnies, etc. Don’t let the YouTube videos keep you from coming out and riding this in-town awesomeness – most of the obstacles have a route around them. The trails are next to the old Sugar Creek Waste Water Treatment Plant, and parts of the facility have been incorporated into the 13 miles of trail. Easily accessible by bike for folks who live close to town. If you’re driving in, park at the Marion Diehl Center on Tyvola Road.
US National Whitewater Center:
Natives or long-time Charlotteans remember these as the Catawba trails, and they’ve come a long way since then. There are over 20 miles of trail here, with something for riders of all abilities. All trails are shared with hikers, walkers, and runners, and are well-marked and graded to indicate their level of difficulty: green dot for beginner, blue square for intermediate, and black diamond for advanced skills. There have been any number of changes within the trails over the years, but alternative loops like Goat Hill, Toilet Bowl, and Carpet Trail, help keep the Catawba trails’ history in tact. Carpool, since there’s a $5 parking fee on the property.
A close-to-town trail with lots of twists and turns, and nearly 12 miles of rollers, rock gardens, bridges, planks, skinnies and man-made obstacles. Just off Albermarle Road near 485, this fast flowing single track trail is tons of fun for any skill level. And with only 600 feet of climbing, it’s a single-speeder’s dream. There’s a whole lot of trail packed into a surprisingly small space, so expect lots of twists and turns. The trails can hold some water after a big rain, so check for trail status before making the drive. Parking is off Rocky River Church Road and the lot fills quickly!
Anne Springs Close Greenway:
There are nearly 40 miles of mixed-use trail on the property, about a quarter of which are dedicated to mountain biking and hiking. The trails at Anne Springs aren’t ridiculously technical, but you certainly can’t go on auto-pilot here! There are enough small climbs, tight turns, and a couple of rock gardens to keep this trail interesting for any skill level. Pick up a trail map at the kiosk near the entry and keep an eye out along the trail for markers. Note: Trailhead is near the softball fields in the back parking lot of the Leroy Springs Recreation Complex down in Fort Mill, SC.
The Tarheel Trailblazers do a ton of work on these and many other area trails. Check them out and their website for directions, maps and other resources!