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Our Favorite Bike Trails Near Bryson City


Great biking boils down to enjoying yourself outside and exploring new terrain. There's no better way to explore the outdoors than on a bicycle. Hit the trails in one of the nation's best biking destinations. Check out our favorite bicycle trails around Bryson City and Western North Carolina! Even if you only ever touch a bike while on vacation, there's no denying the enjoyment that comes with cycling along a scenic route. There's something for every rider on this list.

Deep Creek, Great Smoky Mountains National Park


The Deep Creek area is celebrated for its streams and waterfalls. Hikers can choose from several loop hikes leading to the waterfalls. Mountain bikers can take advantage of one of the few park trails where bicycles are permitted. Bicycles are allowed on Deep Creek and Indian Creek trails to the points where the old roadbeds end and the trail treads begin.


The Deep Creek Loop trail will take you through oak and hardwood forests deep in the Smoky Mountains backcountry. Visitors will enjoy miles of rushing streams and abundant wildlife throughout.


Right Loop and Left Loop:
Horses – Tuesday , Thursday, & Saturday
Mountain Bikes –Monday, Wednesday, Friday & Sunday


Mouse Branch and Thompson Loop:
Horses – Monday, Wednesday, Friday, & Sunday
Mountain Bikes – Tuesday, Thursday, & Saturday

Tsali Recreation Area


The Tsali (pronounced “SAH-lee”) Recreation Area’s four-loop trail system has become a popular destination for mountain bikers and horseback riders. It is best known as a challenging mountain bike course.

The Right Loop, rated moderately difficult, offers 13.9 miles of single track, with shorter 4- and 8-mile loops possible. The Left Loop, rated moderately difficult, is 11.9 miles of single track with views toward the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Fontana Lake. The Mouse Branch Trail, rated moderately difficult, is 8.7 miles of single track and includes old logging roads. The Thompson Loop, rated moderately difficult, is 7.3 miles of single track. There is a per-person day use fee for trail use. Fees can be paid at either the Tsali Bike or Horse Trailheads.

Hikers may travel the trails on any day, but mountain bikers and equestrians–the primary users–are kept separated by alternating days on the trails. Be sure to follow the trail schedule:


Right Loop and Left Loop:
Horses – Monday, Wednesday, Friday, & Sunday
Mountain Bikes – Tuesday, Thursday, & Saturday

Mouse Branch and Thompson Loop:
Horses – Tuesday, Thursday, & Saturday
Mountain Bikes – Monday, Wednesday, Friday, & Sunday

Jackrabbit Mountain Recreation Area


Open May through September, Jackrabbit Mountain Recreation Area lies on a peninsula of Lake Chatuge – a TVA reservoir that boasts more than 130 miles of shoreline. This destination recreation area offers a large campground and numerous day use activities such as swimming, picnicking, mountain biking and hiking trails, fishing and motorized boating access to the lake.


Ride your mountain bike along the area’s 15-mile stacked-loop system. Many of the trails border Lake Chatuge, while others meander through the woods or ridge-top. These trails appeal to riders of all skill levels.  

If you are interested in hiking, try the Jackrabbit Mountain Trail. With a trailhead just outside the campground, this 2.4-mile easy trail loops through open woods and offers glimpses of Lake Chatuge.

Oconaluftee River Trail

The Oconaluftee River Trail is a walking and biking path that is also pet-friendly. The trail travels 1.5 miles one-way from the Oconaluftee Visitor Center in Cherokee, NC,  to the outskirts of the city of Cherokee, NC.


It is relatively flat, but does have a few small hills. The trail runs through the forest along side the Oconaluftee River and offers beautiful views of the river.

The Oconaluftee River Trail is frequently used by joggers, walkers, and bicyclists.

Western Carolina University Trails (WCU)

The Western Carolina University trail system features 6.7 miles of narrow, single-track trail accessible from two points: the parking lot of WCU’s new Health and Human Sciences Building on Little Savannah Road and the pedestrian tunnel under Highway 107 near WCU’s softball complex.


The access point through the tunnel connects users to the trail via property of the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching. Click here for a map of the trail.

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