The Bike Diva and her husband at Tsali Recreation Area
Tsali Recreation Area is located in Bryson City, North Carolina. My husband and I had a chance to ride our mountain bikes there two years ago while we were on vacation. We easily could have spent a couple of days exploring the trails at Tsali, however, our son and daughter don't share our love of biking. They decided to hang out with my mom back at the cabin we had rented in Maggie Valley.
Tsali was a 45 minute drive from our cabin in Maggie Valley. We only had time to ride one trail at Tsali while we were there. We went on the Mouse Branch Trail and added on the Mouse Branch Trail Loop which took us up to around 3500 feet. We had an incredible view of the house boats that were moored in Lake Fontana.
House boats in Lake Fontana, view from top of Mouse Branch trail
But we did have a bit of a problem breathing. Part of the problem is that we are old, and a bit over weight. But we've been living in Florida for over 16 years so have become used to being flat landers. There are some fantastic mountain bike trails down in Florida, however, they are flatter and more technical (tree roots, rocks, log overs, boulders) than the trails at Tsali.
Bike Diva at the top of the Mouse Branch Trail
Here's a brief description of the 4 trails at Tsali: Right Branch - 11 miles with creek crossing with options to do a shorter 4 or 8 mile loop. Left Branch - 11.9 miles with creek crossings. Mouse Branch - 9 miles. Thompson Loop - 7.7 miles with stream crossings.
Bike Diva's husband hiking up the trail while looking for his lungs
Tsali Recreation Area has 4 mountain biking trails covering approximately 40 miles. The trails, which are also open to hikers, are also available for horse back riding on a rotating basis. Two trails are always avaiable for mountain biking - there is a sign at the trailhead that details which ones are open on any particular day.
There is a $2.00 trail use fee for one day. You can also go camping, boating and fishing at the Tsali Recreation Area. There are a number of white water rafting outfitters nearby if you would like to turn your Tsali adventure into a multi sport opportunity. To see a detailed map of the mountain biking trails view the Tsali Recreation Area Brochure.
More climbing on the Mouse Branch trail
Lynn Smythe, AKA the Bike Diva