South Mountain State Park - TRAIL

South Mountain State Park - Trail, Morganton, Carolina

Double track ATV roads inside the state park. Well graded, no motorized vehicles (except for state park vehicles), very fast, extremely steep and sustained climbs. Excellent views in the winter. Be sure to stop by High Shoals falls and Shinny Creek. The area is remote, so come prepared (no stores close-by). For the overnighter, there are car campsites at the park entrance. There are also several backcountry campsites accessible by bike, allowing for some backcountry touring possibilites. The main loop is arguably as physically tough a ride (18 miles) as you will find anywhere in the southeast. Oh yea, the NC State Park system is still supporting Prohibition, so don't get caught with any alcohol in the park (i.e. leave it at home)

User Reviews (14)

Showing 1-10 of 14  
zod   Cross Country Rider [Jan 21, 2009]

First off South Mountain is all fire roads and no singletrack so if that's a deal breaker then you might not like it. This ride starts out with about a 1/2 mile or so of relatively flat trail and a few bridges over some real nice creeks. After that you start a big climb seems to go on forever but I'd say it's about 2.5 miles. Some of the climb gets steep enough that you have to hike-a-bike which is a common theme there. Single-speeders choose your cogs wisely. Gears and a front derailleur certainly would help but that being said, a lot of what you run into at South Mountain is too steep for even granny gears. At the top of the first climb you hit the main loop, I'd go to the right. Be prepared for 12-14 miles of steep climbs and hike-a-bikes with some DH and a little bit of flat. It's all fire-road and oddly enough a little section of pavement. Then once you get back to the beginning of the loop it's back down for 2.5 miles of DH on what you climbed at the start of the day and then back to the parking lot. Watch the DH, it can get too fast and the plethora of waterbars can throw you for a loop. Oh yeah be prepared for a stream crossing that you will have to walk...and you will get wet. In the winter the water is freezing so bring your courage and a towel!

Since it's a State Park you have bathrooms and all that good stuff on site however South Mountain is very rural so bring good supplies with you b/c there aren't many stores around. Also sign-in at the mountain bike kiosk and grab a map.

A good time with plenty of challenges and great views...too bad it isn't singletrack which is my main complaint. Other than that it is a great state park and a hidden gem in the middle of nowhere. Be sure to carry plenty of h2o, especially in the hot months. If you are not a strong rider I advise against attempting South Mountain. If you get to the top of the 2.5 mile climb to the start of the loop and you're not feeling too hot turn around b/c that's just the warm-up to what's in front of you. Leave a good +4 hours in front of your start time for this bike(and hike).

Customer Service

Counter-Clockwise at the loop. Either way is not easy but to me this seems like the route that's less painful. Then again I must admit I've never gone Clockwise so who knows.

Similar Products Used: Not much in this same area....you can be to Wilson Creek in an hour or so or to PeeWee's down in Lincolnton.
OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
5
threeheadedduck   Cross Country Rider [Nov 26, 2005]

This trail is physically challenging and shouldnt be underestimated, but if you think you are in good shape then give it a try

Customer Service

just follow the park service directions

OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
5
threeheadedduck   Cross Country Rider [Nov 26, 2005]

This trail is physically challenging and shouldnt be underestimated, but if you think you are in good shape then give it a try

Customer Service

just follow the park service directions

OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
5
Rob   [Dec 23, 1998]

Convenient to Charlotte. Comparable to the fire roads of Mt. Tamalpias, but more fun due to more challenging terrain on the fire roads. Nice climbs w/fast downhills. I didn't ride/see any single track, are there any? Great views with a beautiful river in area. Good place for a quick get away from Charlotte.

Customer Service

Map available outside of ranger station. Be curious to hear from other's who have ridden here as to where else to ride besides the fire roads (legally.)

OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
SAL ROSENBERG   [Dec 30, 1998]

ROB? I THINK I KNOW YOU! I SAW YOU GOING BY ME ON THAT 10 SPEEDA WITH BALOON TIRES! CALL ME UP IN COATS AND LET'S RIDE THAT SOUTH MOUNTAIN SICK DOWNHILL FIREROAD.
SWEET PLACE TO RIDE IF YOU'RE FROM CHARLOTTE. TRUST MY HOMIE ON THE REVIEW ABOVE!

OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
Rob   [Jan 30, 1999]

Wanted to add that I have ridden this ride a few more times, and that it drys up quickly. I like it better each time I ride there.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
Francis   [Apr 06, 1999]

Really fun trail!
Quite physical going up these hills but so much fun and fast going downhill with all the jumps!

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
KK   [Sep 28, 1999]

GREAT PLACE TO WORK ON YOUR ENDURANCE AND CLIMBING. FAST DOWNHILL FIREROADS. TAKE IT EASY AND RESPECT OTHERS ON THE TRAIL. DIDN'T SEE ANY SINGLETRACK. NICE CHANGE OF PACE FOR FALL SEASON VIEWS.

Customer Service

GET A MAP AT THE REGISTRATION OFFICE. START ON THE HQ TRAIL AND FOLLOW THE TRAILS MARKED WITH A BIKE SYMBOL (ON THE MAP)TO THE TOP OF BENN KNOB.

OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
Daren   [Nov 15, 1999]

Great endurance/hillclimbing ride. The climbing is well rewarded with very fast downhills and waterbar launches. I rode right after an inch of rain and hail with lots of autumn leaves covering the trails - seeing all the rocks was difficult if not impossible - but that added to the fun! I agree with other reviewers: the views are better with the leaves off the trees. The rangers do an excellent job of trail maintenance without making it a sissy ride - but some of their waterbars are pretty abrupt on the downhill rides, especially on the 2.5 mile HQ trail back down to the parking lot. Having the parking lot right in front of the office and Ranger's residence is good - I didn't worry about my truck being cleaned out while I was riding. Not the most tech ride out there, but a great workout nonetheless.

Customer Service

I rode the outer loop counter-clockwise; I'll try it clockwise next time out.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
Derrick   [Apr 01, 2000]

Very steep uphills. I had to stop at every other few waterbars to catch my breath. It is a long ride up, but it is all worth it when you start going down. You can gain maximum altitude when you hit the waterbars. When you start going down the HQ trail back to the parking lot, there is only about two annoying uphills, but the rest is all steep downhill. This trail is not for wimps. I suggest that you are in very good shape before you tackle this trail. There are no single tracks on the loop, it is all fireroad and one short pavement part. There is one big creek crossing and a few tiny ones. Be sure to try to stay out of that water. I cought a cold because of walking through it. Try to find the crossing and not get wet. I give this trail 4 stars. I'm not giving it five because of the stupid uphills that make your legs feel like rubber. And one more tip. Always yield to horses. They don't really like riders coming down a very steep hill at about 20 mph. They seem to want to kick whatever is going that fast by them. I was almost kicked in the head by one around a curb. But besides that, tighten all of the parts on your bikes because rough riding is ahead.

Customer Service

When I rode it, I got turned around and it took me forever to get back on track and get my bearings straight. Be sure to pick up a map before you ride.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
Showing 1-10 of 14  

THE SITE

ABOUT MTBR

VISIT US AT

mtbr.com and the ConsumerReview Network are business units of Invenda Corporation

(C) Copyright 1996-2018. All Rights Reserved.