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Tsali Left Loop - Entire Ride

Consensus:    (details)
 4.2 from 6 votes
  Intermediate from 1 vote
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Rank: #3 in Nantahala National Forest
#19 in North Carolina
#375 Overall
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“A tour of Tsali Recreation Area with views of the Great Smoky Mountains and Fontana Lake.”
Zack Butler on Jun 24, 2013
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11.0 Miles 75% Singletrack 968’ Ascent -964’ Descent 1,716’ Low 2,037’ High
Restrictions
Open to mountain bikes on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday and horses on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.
Overview
2:15 average ride time for 16.0 miles. Details

The Tsali Left Loop - Entire Ride combines the Tsali Left Loop and the County Line Road to form a complete loop out along Fontana Lake and back to the trailhead. This ride is part of an IMBA Epic trail system. The Tsali Left Loop itself is entirely singletrack, while the County Line Road is an old gravel-surfaced fire road.

Along this ride, you'll encounter very little in the way of technical challenges, although a few sections along Fontana Lake have become somewhat technical.
Description
The Tsali Left Loop itself is entirely singletrack, while the County Line Road is an old gravel-surfaced fire road. Along this ride, you'll encounter very little in the way of technical challenges, although a few sections along Fontana Lake have become somewhat technical due to erosion and undercutting from the lake causing some trail sections to become narrow, and in some places, almost collapse.

The singletrack section is very scenic, mostly smooth, and flows relatively well in spite of steep drop-offs toward the lake. Shortly after beginning this ride (which goes clockwise), you'll pass an old homesite on the left; only a stone chimney remains. Towards the end of the singletrack section, the trail rises to a bluff overlooking Fontana Lake and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park across the lake. This overlook is even more spectacular in the late spring (May and June) when the mountain laurel are blooming.

The singletrack eventually gives way to the old fire road--a 2.5 mile gravel lane leading back towards the trailhead. Although the County Line Road is wide and generally smooth in spite of the gravel, it has a few steep sections and some sections suffer from erosion. This section snakes its way along the backbone of the peninsula jutting out into the lake. It doesn't require much skill, but it's challenging enough to require that you be in decent shape.
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COMMENTS
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PHOTOS of Tsali Left Loop - Entire Ride
 4.0 from 4 votes
Great Smokey Mountain National Park (Bryson City, NC)
 3.8 from 4 votes
Fontana Lake, from the Tsali Left Loop. The Great Smoky Mountains Natio... (Bryson City, NC)
 3.0 from 5 votes
Left Loop view (Bryson City, NC)
 2.6 from 5 votes
Taking a break on the Left Loop (Bryson City, NC)
 2.3 from 4 votes
The remains of an old home on one of the Tsali Left Loop. (Bryson City, NC)
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