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Lots of options to make this trail a good XC ride or a difficult and fun all-mountain gem.

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399' 122 m


270' 82 m


632' 193 m


636' 194 m



Avg Grade (1°)


Max Grade (6°)

Dogs Unknown

E-Bikes Allowed

-All riders must wear a helmet ($100 fine)
-Riders should sign in at the upper trailhead prior to riding (this is how the park justifies funding these trails!)
-Do not modify the trail
-Allow time to finish outings before the park closes
-It is recommended to ride with someone else
-Ride only on officially marked trails


Though this trail comes in as a Black Diamond, the most technical/difficult sections can be bypassed or taken slowly enough that they lose their bite. Typically there are a few riders at this park. The loop runs one way and has lots of options and ride-arounds for technical features. Lots of great rock gardens and berms throughout.


To find the start from the MTB parking lot, head down to where you drove in. Go up the road to the upper parking lot and pass the camper parking. Look for The Gorge trail that heads back into the woods, and you'll find good trail signage.

Once you're on the trail, you find an initial section of uphill. From there, the trail goes through some nice rollers and berms as it carves through both sides of the gorge.

Jump off on the first technical section Bouldergeist, and then reconnect with The Gorge which flows directly into the Gatewood trail, which represents more of the same.

Gold Rush picks up where Gatewood leaves off. The trail flows well and has some jumps that if taken slowly are quite moderate.

There are two short technical spots that you can walk your bike through. Skydive is a steep drop that can be handled with relative ease. The other is the Ledges area that consists of ledgy (surprise) rock formations that can be bypassed with a steep climb to the left.

Most of the uphills are pretty even and relatively comfortable except for one climb near the end that can be a bit vigorous.

As Gold Rush ends, you can jump on The Gauntlet. This section mostly consists of navigating some rock gardens. This is one of the less difficult technical sections.

As soon as The Gauntlet ends, you are soon on the main trail where you can peel off onto the Free Fall area.
If you are not a technical rock hopper, this could be the longest 0.8 miles of your life. The trail weaves back and forth through boulders and other rock features. There are various named features (The Jaw, Chia-head, Dragon's Back, etc) that would be painful to fail on.

Free Fall will spit you out on the Owl Hollow, which starts with some tight turning in a thick pine forest then soon gives you a lot of speed and good overlooks of the lake. As long as you ride the brakes, there is nothing too technical, but you'll miss out on a lot of the fun.

Turn off on another short technical rock garden called the Rock Nest Monster.

Enjoy a river crossing and you come in to the Slick Rock trail.This Slick Rock trail starts as you'd expect with a slick rock section. Like most trails at San Lee, there is an easier and harder start. Pay attention to the signs.

The trail trends uphill with some nice rolling sections and tricky work on rocky terrain. The trail designers really squeezed a lot into this small area. Enjoy cutting through the Twin Peaks rock formation. The trail ends at the Gravity Park.

At the Gravity Park, you have various options to head down with the potential to take huge jumps and fly around big berms.

After finishing at the Gravity Park, make your way down to a rocky creek crossing and arrive at Dragons Tail. Splash through the creek and switchback your way uphill. Stay left as you pass the Bailout to MTB Parking Lot and continue through some rolling switchbacks that eventually drop you off near the entrance to the park. Head back to the parking lot.


Land Manager: Lee County, NC

Shared By:

Russell Hobart with improvements by Larry Conger

Trail Ratings

  4.4 from 69 votes


in San Lee Park


  4.4 from 69 votes
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in San Lee Park


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22,212 Since Aug 10, 2014
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Beginning of the Free Fall section. Take the bypass to avoid this very technical trail.
Oct 1, 2017 near Sanford, NC
Beginning of the Gautlet.
Jul 11, 2016 near Sanford, NC
Creek crossing on Gold Rush
Jul 21, 2018 near Sanford, NC
Gold Rush Trail along creek
Jul 21, 2018 near Sanford, NC
Creek crossing on the Gorge
Jul 21, 2018 near Sanford, NC
The Gorge Trail
Jul 21, 2018 near Sanford, NC


Current Trail Conditions

Add Your Check-In


Nov 12, 2023
Brady Deal
Fun if you are in the area, wouldn't go too far out of the way to visit
Dec 28, 2021
Don Childrey
May 19, 2021
Jennifer Sutherland
First half, exit before jungle 4.5mi — 1h 30m
May 14, 2021
Thomas Briley
Took us a while to find the trailhead since we had never been there before. But once we found it we had a blast! Somewhat technical riding with lot…
Apr 25, 2021
Brett Davenport
Apr 6, 2021
John Warren
Mar 21, 2021
Cory Liverman
8.6mi — 2h 41m
Dec 29, 2020
Brian Lord
10.3mi — 2h 52m

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