Tsali Trail Network is a series of four singletrack loops that snake around the idyllic Fontana Lake in Bryson City, North Carolina. Boasting a total distance of 30 miles, the trail network is aimed at intermediate level riders. With well-maintained trails, varying terrains, and breathtaking views, Tsali has earned its reputation as an International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) Epic Trail.
Getting to Tsali is straightforward. From Bryson City, head toward Andrews on Hwy. 19 and take a right onto Hwy 28 North. Approximately 3.5 miles later, you'll spot Tsali on the right. A gravel road leads you 1.5 miles to the trailhead.
The network features alternating daily usage between horseback riders and cyclists, ensuring a safer and more enjoyable ride. The Thompson Loop Trail is a particular highlight, offering rolling singletrack alongside Fontana Lake and manageable climbs. Trails are well-marked, and some even include lookout points to absorb the scenic vistas.
Long-time visitors to Tsali praise its well-maintained tracks and excellent flow. According to multiple reviews, the trails offer "great flow, incredible scenery, and a real sense of being out there." Challenges like rocks, roots, and switchbacks add excitement without being overwhelming.However, those in search of highly technical terrains may find Tsali a bit lacking. The trail focuses more on cross-country (XC) riding rather than technical downhill or jumps. Some riders recommend wearing long sleeves and pants to protect against leaves and branches reaching into the trail.
Tsali offers a variety of trails suitable for riders looking to escape the city's hustle and bustle. Its proximity to several campgrounds makes it an excellent choice for multi-day excursions. While Tsali may not offer the technical challenges found in areas like Pisgah, its fast and flowy singletracks, moderate climbs, and serene surroundings make it an unforgettable ride for cyclists of all levels. If you're in the Bryson City area, Tsali is a must-ride destination.