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Tsali Left Loop - Entire Ride

Intermediate
 4.3 (27) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

A tour of Tsali Recreation Area with views of the Great Smoky Mountains and Fontana Lake.


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Map Key

11.0

Miles

17.7

KM

75%

Singletrack

2,037' 621 m

High

1,716' 523 m

Low

968' 295 m

Up

964' 294 m

Down

3%

Avg Grade (2°)

13%

Max Grade (7°)

Dogs Unknown

E-Bikes Unknown

Open to mountain bikes on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday and horses on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.

Overview

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.

Contacts

Shared By:

Zack Butler

Trail Ratings

  4.3 from 27 votes

#625

Overall
  4.3 from 27 votes
5 Star
48%
4 Star
33%
3 Star
15%
2 Star
4%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#625

Overall
89 Views Last Month
5,489 Since Jun 24, 2013
Intermediate

0%
4%
70%
9%
17%
0%

Photos

Great Smokey Mountain National Park
Oct 15, 2013 near Bryson…, NC
The beautiful overlook at Tsali!
Feb 11, 2018 near Bryson…, NC
Fontana Lake, from the Tsali Left Loop.  The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is across the lake.
Jun 17, 2013 near Bryson…, NC
Left Loop view
Jul 31, 2013 near Bryson…, NC
Tsali Left loop Trail Along Fontana Lake/ Mouse Branch, Smokey Mountain National Park in the Background
Aug 9, 2014 near Bryson…, NC
Incredible view!!!
Sep 24, 2020 near Bryson…, NC

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Check-Ins

Jan 6, 2021
Chris Makowicki
11mi
Oct 17, 2020
Joseph Medeiros
Oct 17, 2020
Joseph Medeiros
Sep 6, 2020
Mike Go
I have mixed feelings after this ride. They've done and are doing quite a bit of maintenance. Wider than you expect now for a singletrack course. 10.3mi — 1h 18m
Jul 2, 2020
bethlynne Heller
Jun 12, 2020
Edward Bolt
Trails need a lot of work. Very overgrown, trees down, and mud puddles. Used to love visiting Tsali, but the trails have been neglected for some time.
Oct 12, 2019
Schandra Loveless
So much scenery and solo fun at Tsali! Right loop to Cliff Overlook to left loop to campground. 9mi — 1h 17m
Sep 16, 2019
Chris Taylor
Beautiful ride! 9.9mi