Mountain Bike Reviews Forum banner
1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
47 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm planning a vacation at the end of March at Tsali in the Great Smokey Mountains. I've checked out the trail system online and it looks awesome. I've heard it is one of the top ten places to ride in the USA. The campgrounds are at the trail head. Anyone ever been there? If so, do you have advice on what trails to ride, places to eat, etc...? :confused:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
34 Posts
I rode there with friends the first week of April a few years back and it was great. Easy fast fun middle chain ring trails, very smooth and non-technical. Great early season training for us New England snow hounds. We camped at the trail head and rode every trail--i believe there are only 4 or 5 in the whole park, and they are alternate day rides for bikes to allow for other users. We ate dinner every night at the NOC restaurant, the food was very good and inexpensive and we were the only ones there that early in the season.

This year we rode in Pisgah NC the same first week of April and the rides there are much more epic in nature, but we did get rain after the first 3 days and had to bail. camped at Davidson River in Brevard, a full-service campground minutes from lots of great trails. Check it out if you can.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,117 Posts
If you don't want to camp per se and are instead in the mood for super cheap cabins with their own mountain bike trails nearly right out the door, check out Fontana Village. There's an onsite bike shop, there, too. Maybe a 20 minute drive from Tsali. Lots of good stuff to ride there. Totally different from the super buff Tsali trip.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,675 Posts
The showers closer to the entrance are nicer, way nicer.
They are weird in the fact that they have TWO shower heads, one in the normal position, one aimed directly at your genitals, kinda nice. Both activate with the same push button you have to press every 5.4 seconds to keep water going.

at the outlook on right loop, we hiked down and went rock jumping/swimming. nice mid ride break.

we cooked a ton of pasta, hit the spot. we got grocery suplies in cherokee(think thats what the town was called,had an indian name at least), and cooked all our over fires.

we spent 2 days in Tsali, then 2 days in Pisgah. both absolutly great places.you could ride Pisgah for years and be content, its HUGE and WILD,and totally different.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
47 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you for the quality info. I've called the Tsali campground and they don't open until April or when the weather is warm enough to run water. I've talked to other campgrounds in the area and they say you never know what your going to get in late March. I'm praying for good weather.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
47 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Depends on the campground. There are a few to pick from. I'm pretty sure Tsali is first come first serve. That early in the season, you should be safe, but just in case I would check out Black Forest Campground 828-884-2267 as a backup. They seem to be the next best outfit (hot showers, variety of campsites, location, bike wash station, yada, yada, yada...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
74 Posts
I have biked on every trail in Pisgah and Tsali. Do yourself a huge favor and camp at the Pisgah-Davidson River campground outside of Brevard. You can access the best stuff in Pisgah from here. Also, you are a short drive to the trailheads at Mills River and Dupont State Forest. If you run out of trails go over to Tsali. Tsali is good but Pisgah is awesome.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
47 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I checked out Pisgah and your right, it is epic. Unfortunately, my friend rides a rigid single speed and I'm not sure he could handle the climbs. He has ridden Tsali before and says its mostly rolling single track that he could handle on his bike. We have two days to ride, so Tsali would be perfect. 2 trails day one, two trails day two.
 

·
pronounced may-duh
Joined
·
4,306 Posts
Tsali campground is very nice but first come first served. No reservations. You have to go to a private campground for reservable sites. The closest private campground to tsali is Turkey Creek http://turkeycreekcampground.com/

Tsali is fun but many people prefer Pisgah. Pisgah is bigger with many more miles of trail and much larger elevation changes and much more technical.

One other tip is the county out by Tsali is dry (no alcohol). Pick up your beer/booze in Bryson City.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
For dining check out Guayabitos Mexican Restaurant in Bryson City. It's required on every trip I make to Tsali. Also, the restaurant at the Nantahala Outdoor Center has some good food as well. Plus it sits on the riverside so it's scenic. There's a trail at the NOC as well but I've never ridden it myself.

My favorite section of trail at Tsali is the last downhill section on Thompson Loop as you head back to the trailhead. You can get stupid fast on it. Enjoy!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
671 Posts
kj69 said:
I checked out Pisgah and your right, it is epic. Unfortunately, my friend rides a rigid single speed and I'm not sure he could handle the climbs. He has ridden Tsali before and says its mostly rolling single track that he could handle on his bike. We have two days to ride, so Tsali would be perfect. 2 trails day one, two trails day two.
You mean "lucky for me my friend rides a rigid single speed" ;) If you are slow going up hills he won't beat you, if you are fast going up hills you'll get a nice break with a great view.

Climbing in Pisgah is really simple with a single speed. Pedal until you need to stand, stand and mash until you need to walk, walk until you either reach the top or want to try to peddle or mash again. There are lots of single speeders riding in Pisgah, including me :)

BTW - post over on the North & South Carolina forum when you come, you can usually hook-up with some locals for a ride if you like.
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Top