Situated near Bryson City, North Carolina, the Tsali Left Loop trail offers mountain biking enthusiasts an exceptional ride filled with breathtaking views, challenging climbs, and flowing descents. This trail is part of the world-renowned Tsali trail system and is often considered a must-do for avid bikers.
To reach the Tsali Left Loop trailhead, take Highway 19 from Bryson City toward Andrews, then go right onto Highway 28 North. About 3.5 miles in, you'll spot Tsali on your right. Follow the gravel road for approximately 1.5 miles to reach the parking lot and the trailhead.
The trail starts at the parking lot, guiding riders toward the Left Loop trail. For the first four miles, the terrain is relatively flat, providing an excellent warm-up before the challenges that lie ahead.The singletrack trail leads you toward Fontana Lake, passing an old homesite with only a stone chimney remaining. As you approach the lakeside, the trail's character shifts to include a series of tight singletrack hills winding up toward the ridge line.
During fall, expect a lot of leaves and a few fallen trees, though recent reviews indicate the Right Loop to be clearer. The trail was described as mostly dry, fast, and with some technically challenging spots, such as a short rock garden along the lake edge.
Riders have praised Tsali Left Loop for its excellent flow, moderate climbs, and beautiful views, especially during mid-May when the mountain laurel is in full bloom. Though some find the Right Loop slightly preferable, many regard the Left Loop as the crown jewel of the Tsali trail system.
Whether you're in it for the scenic vistas, technical challenges, or the pure joy of mountain biking, Tsali Left Loop offers a comprehensive experience. So gear up, follow the suggested clockwise route, and enjoy one of North Carolina's mountain biking gems.
For those looking to make it a multi-day adventure, camping options are available at Tsali. Contact the local USFS - Nantahala National Forest Office or the SORBA - Nantahala Area Local Club for more information.Land Manager: USFS - Nantahala National Forest OfficeLocal Club: SORBA - Nantahala AreaSafe riding and see you on the trails!