5 mountain biking spots in and around Charlotte that enthusiasts swear by

We may live in what sometimes feels like a concrete jungle, but if you know where to go, Charlotte has a complex system of mountain biking trails that everyone from beginners to experts can enjoy.

Want to discover more trails or get involved? Check out the Tarheel TrailBlazers, a group of 400+ enthusiasts that meet to bike together, and their website for trail conditions.

7 Oaks Preserve Trail

Location: 6500 South New Hope Road, Belmont
Length: 2.8 miles one way
Difficulty: Moderate
What people are saying:

“Great trails with lots of connecting options.”

“It’s excellent for fitness, taking an easy stroll, and a great starter trail for those newbie hikers.”

“Nice ride trail – could be a little wider though.”


Back Yard Trail

Location: 5539 Farmbrook Drive
Length: 8.2 miles one way
Difficulty: Hard
What people are saying:

“UBER CHALLENGING. People have broken bones and hurt themselves really badly at Back Yard Trail. It is not for the faint of heart.”

“If you like flow – this is the last place you want to go. This is a super technical trail, where you can never really grab speed. Tight turns, a lot of big roots and rocks. Not my type of riding – may be for some people but not for me.”

“Hands down some of the most creative and complex trails you never knew existed. A LOT of work has clearly gone into creating and cultivating these trails. Plenty of Single and Double Black obstacles, 85% of which you can ride around if you’re not comfortable. I wouldn’t recommend even coming here if you’re not pretty comfortable with roots and rocks throughout 50% of this trail. Over all difficult and a thrill ride start to finish. Two thumbs up.”


Itusi Trail

Location: 759 State Park Road, Troutman
Length: 30.5 miles
Difficulty: Intermediate
What people are saying:

“If you like fast-flowing single track, this is your place.”

“The only thing this trail misses is some new-school flow features, like some jumps or berms. However, now that I think about it, the lack of these features is one of the things I like about this trail. Just single-track, winding through the woods, without seeing the hand of man except for the occasional sign.”

“Very good beginner trail system. This is where I cut my teeth and still is one of my favorites for when I need a good lung and leg check.”



Sherman Branch

Location: 12501 Rocky River Church Road
Length: 11.6 miles
Difficulty: Intermediate
What people are saying:

“This has to be one of the best loops within a 20 minute drive of any major city on the East coast. Super “flowey” with some cool man-made obstacles and a few rock gardens. Main Loop + Roller Coaster is just under 9 miles. Amazed that they were able to create some many cool downhills without having any lung-crushing climbs.”



US National Whitewater Center

Location: 5000 Whitewater Center Parkway
Length: 35 miles of trails
Difficulty: Easy to difficult
What people are saying:

“This trail is the best in the area! Forget about Back Yard Trails. Its got a bit of everything other than pure downhill, but we aren’t in true mountains anyhow. Figure 8 trail is rough and technical with no shortage of little side features. Carolina thread trail is super flowy with jumping potential but best as a XC. Carpet trail has tough climbs followed by technical downhills but it does have some pretty washed out areas, 140mm of full susp. travel saved me twice. Then there’s tower 98? Tower something… You badically take a climb and have a series of jumps and berms to crush the whole way down. Short but fun. It does cost $5 to park but worth it. Plus there’s whitewater rafting, ropes courses, And rock climbing to make for an awesome day.”

“They are always adding new stuff. There is truly something for every rider here.”

“Definitely worth another visit. I, too, was there for Cyclofest and rode a bunch of trails, but Figure 8 was my favorite. While USNWC rates it as a ‘black diamond’ there were only a couple of ‘too technical’ sections that I had to walk. There were some fun drops and flowy sections, and some really challenging climbs that I enjoyed tackling.”

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