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My buddy and I are heading up from FL to NC for some MTBing and rafting. Any tips on what MTB trails to hit on particular days would be appreciated, we were thinking of 1/2-day rafting on Sat morning and biking Saturday afternoon, all day Sunday, and Monday morning.

Also, could someone tell us which rafting oufitter and river to hook-up with as I spoke to someone at NOC and they suggested Chatooga River, but I'm afraid that won't be much of a challenge... Website says its good for families and mostly Class III (little mention of Class IV). I've rafted Class III-IV in Maine and that's what I like to stick with.

We want to make this worth our while, cuz here in Miami FL, whitewater rafting is a little hard to come by...
 

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Big Mac
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Chatooga

guppie said:
My buddy and I are heading up from FL to NC for some MTBing and rafting. Any tips on what MTB trails to hit on particular days would be appreciated, we were thinking of 1/2-day rafting on Sat morning and biking Saturday afternoon, all day Sunday, and Monday morning.

Also, could someone tell us which rafting oufitter and river to hook-up with as I spoke to someone at NOC and they suggested Chatooga River, but I'm afraid that won't be much of a challenge... Website says its good for families and mostly Class III (little mention of Class IV). I've rafted Class III-IV in Maine and that's what I like to stick with.

We want to make this worth our while, cuz here in Miami FL, whitewater rafting is a little hard to come by...
I'am not sure what you looked at, but the Chatooga is the premier commercially rafted river in the area. You may have looked at a section 3 trip, which is pretty much as you described. What you want is a section 4 trip. Lots of class v on a designated Wild and Scenic river. Go with a co. called Wildwater for sure. As far as bikes go, Tsali wont be much of a challenge. Try Pisgah,which is closer to the Chatooga anyway. Have fun.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'm going based on what the NOC website says... According to what you're saying, that's exactly what I was hoping for. I need to find out if its section 3 or 4, then, huh? Glad you told me that Pisgah is near Chatooga area, because that works out perfectly in the sense that we get some primo MTB action after our rafting trip - exactly the info I needed to know. Could you give me 1-2 bike shops that we can rent full susp bikes for 1/2 day?

Damn, I'm getting excited about this trip!
 

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I don't think any shops are doing 1/2 day rentals- only full days. In Brevard, Sycamore Cycles has a good selection. In Asheville, BioWheels has mid-level hardtails and high-end full-suspension for rent. Liberty Bikes probably does some rentals as well.

Different riding:

Tsali- fast, flowing, I've only ever done it in races so I think of it as very aerobically challenging. There's another area near there, Fontana Village, that has a great network of more technical riding.

Pisgah- Longer climbs, more tecnical descending. It's the favorite...

When doing research, "Pisgah" referes to the Pisgah Ranger District of Pisgah National Forest. Key trails to build rides off of include Caney Bottom, Laurel Mountain, Black Mountain, and many more. There's lots of other threads about this, do a search.

Peace, Mike
 

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Big Mac
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You may want to consider......

guppie said:
I'm going based on what the NOC website says... According to what you're saying, that's exactly what I was hoping for. I need to find out if its section 3 or 4, then, huh? Glad you told me that Pisgah is near Chatooga area, because that works out perfectly in the sense that we get some primo MTB action after our rafting trip - exactly the info I needed to know. Could you give me 1-2 bike shops that we can rent full susp bikes for 1/2 day?

Damn, I'm getting excited about this trip!
... that a section 4 trip on the Chatooga will take all day. And you will be tired. Harvey at Backcountry Outdoors, at the entrance to Pisgah, may do a 1/2 day rental of some sort.
 

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Section IV of the Chattooga is a remote and beautiful run that is a solid class IV run at current levels. I don't know how soon you're planning on your trip, but this river is a free flowing stream, which means that there is no dam release to guarantee water for your trip. Water levels tend to drop fairly quickly the warmer the weather gets. The current level is about 1.75' on the paddler's gauge, which is a good medium level. The level is holding pretty well now, but won't be as good if you're coming later than the next few weeks. Five Falls will give you all the excitement you want at current levels. And this is one of the most beautiful rivers in the Southeast. You'll see nothing but unspoiled wilderness from the time you leave the put-in at Hwy. 76 until you hit Lake Tugaloo below Five Falls. Unlike the dam release rivers like the Nantahala and the Ocoee, you won't be overwhelmed with raft traffic like rush hour in LA. However, it is an all day trip as stated in a previous post, and you're at least an hour and a half from either NOC or Brevard. Just look for Clayton, GA on a map and follow US 76 to the SC-GA line and that's the put-in. If I was planning your trip I would sacrifice the half day of riding for the Chattooga trip, then hop in my car and head for Brevard for two days of primo riding in Pisgah. It doesn't get any better than that for a three day weekend in the mountains.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Bill C. said:
If I was planning your trip I would sacrifice the half day of riding for the Chattooga trip, then hop in my car and head for Brevard for two days of primo riding in Pisgah. It doesn't get any better than that for a three day weekend in the mountains.
You see... This is exactly the information I'm looking for. Since we don't know jack about the area and distances/drive times, I just want to thank you guys.

Just so there is no confusion and I don't want to try something unreasonable: we are staying at the NOC Inn. We booked the Section IV Chatooga 1/2-day rafting trip. I believe we start early in the monring but not sure what time we get done. I was hoping to hit some of the MTB trails in the Pisgah area (as someone mentioned we would be near it), but from what I understand, we won't have time??? Any suggestions as to what to do with the rest of the day after the rafting trip? Since we live in FLATLAND (Miami, FL) I want to make the most of rivers/mountains/trails while we can! We have all day Sunday to ride and Monday morning and leave out of Atlanta, GA at 6:00pm Monday evening. Perhaps we hit should hit Tsali on Monday morning since its the closest to the Inn?

Basically, what I'm asking is: can someone please give me an itinerary? Like, what days to hit what area? Is it possible to bike after the rafting trip? If so, where? We are coming from Atlanta, GA so is there a bike shop besides NOC that we should rent bikes from that we can return on the way back?

I was thinking, should we even be staying at the NOC area? Perhaps we should be staying somewhere more south? We've read and heard only great things about Tsali, which most people say "don't leave NC without riding Tsali" so that's the only reason why we picked the NOC area cuz it was close...

Thanks for all the input! Much appreciated guys!
 

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Since you you already have reservations at the NOC, I would suggest you take your raft trip Saturday morning and head for Tsali as soon as you get settled in the afternoon. There should be time for you to hit Thompson and/or Mouse Branch which are open for bikes on Saturdays. Sunday you could go to Fontana Village and ride some more technical trails that are similar to Pisgah area riding. Depending on how many miles you are up for, you can always hit Right or Left loops at Tsali on your way back. Then another spin at Right or Left (or one big loop) before you head out Monday morning. There are also some trails at the NOC now, but I've never ridden them. I don't think they are too many miles there. After the flatlands of FL, you will be guaranteed to have a grin plastered on your faces for the ride home after the above.

One other option would be to look for some N. Georgia trails either on Saturday afternoon or on your way back on Monday. I've never been riding there, you'll have to find info on that riding from someone else. From what I've heard there's some really good riding down that way.

Hope you enjoy your trip. It's making me itch for another trip to the mountains soon.
 
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