|   Rate it:

Level: Intermediate
Length: 45 mi (72.4 km)
Surface: Singletrack
Configuration: Network
Elevation: +744/ -694 ft
Total: 476 riders

Mountain Biking USNWC

*****   Add a review
#4 of 546 mountain bike trails in North Carolina
#54 in the world

The U.S. National Whitewater Center (USNWC) is home to more than 40 miles of singletrack trails and growing to enjoy and explore for mountain bikers of all skill levels. With a facility spanning 1,300 acres, the USNWC is dedicated to the promotion of the active, outdoor lifestyle. The USNWC Trail System features natural forest landscapes, steep downhill descents, and views of the Catawba River to create authentic and rewarding mountain biking trails in the Charlotte area. Please check usnwc.org or call 704-391-3900 for daily trail conditions.

First added by EZ-E on Jan 1, 2003. Last updated Apr 30, 2020. → add an update
Before you go
  • Drinking water: yes
  • Lift service: unknown
  • Night riding: unknown
  • Pump track: unknown
  • Restrooms: yes
  • Fat bike grooming: unknown
  • E-bikes allowed: unknown
  • Fee required: unknown
This trail information is user-generated. Help improve this information by suggesting a correction.
Getting there
From downtown Charlotte: Head west on Morehead St. Turn right onto Freedom Drive Take I-85 South (left entrance) Take exit 29 for Sam Wilson Road and follow signs for USNWC From Charlotte Douglas International Airport: After exiting the airport, head west on US-74 W/Wilkinson Blvd Turn left onto I-485 Inner North Ramp and continue onto I-485 N/Statesville Take exit 12 for Moores Chapel Road and follow signs for USNWC From I-85 Head towards the intersection of I-485 and I-85 on the west side of Charlotte Take exit 29 for Sam Wilson Road and follow signs for USNWC From I-485 Route 1: Head towards the intersection of I-485 and I-85 on the west side of Charlotte Take exit 12 for Moores Chapel Road and follow signs for USNWC Route 2: Head towards the intersection of I-485 and I-85 on the west side of Charlotte Take exit 14 for Mt. Holly-Huntersville Road and follow signs for USNWC
System trails (12)
Featured in
I Rode It!   Add to another list

USNWC Trail map

Add to or improve this map // Share this map on your website

Local Info

Club Sponsor


Local Bike Shop

Trail checkins

Upcoming Events

Add one

Trail conditions

Open (1 week ago)
login to update

Camping & Lodging

Coming soon!

USNWC videos

Add a video
These videos have been shared by members of the Singletracks community. Report inappropriate content here.

Mountain Bike Trails Near Charlotte, North Carolina

Advanced | 11 mi
Intermediate | 6 mi
| 1.8 mi
| 0.9 mi

Rider questions

Q: Can you bring your own mountain bike
A: Yes you can. There is a $5 parking fee. If you find that you go frequently, they have a $40 annual pass. Be sure to check the USNWC website to make sure the trails are open.

Q: Able to rent bikes? Is there a trail charge or just parking?
A: Yes, there is a trail center near the whitewater channel that rents bikes. As of 2019 they rent single speed hardtails with coil forks for $30, higher end geared hardtails for $40, and full suspensions for $45. Their whole fleet is either Giant or Specialized. Parking is currently $6 a day or $50 for an annual parking pass.

Add a review



  • bikeit420   ✓ supporter

    This is a great 7 mile (3.5 out and back) trail. Lots of wood bridges, elevation and some exposure. Some of the exposure can be narrow but doable. Parking is available at the beginning in Walnut Creek Park in Lancaster, SC. It's about 2.5 miles to Walnut Creek Bridge in Walnut Creek Subdivision (crosses over Twelve Mile Creek). The trail continues on across the bridge and gets steep, narrow and some exposure. Definitely in the upper intermediate category but worth the one mile ride to the end where there is a suspension bridge that is in both North & South Carolina. You can actually stand on the bridge and be in both states at the same time! It is surrounded by communities but there are plenty interesting features and wildlife to compensate. The suspension bridge is a highlight. This trail is multi use & two way so be alert to hikers and other trail users.

    Reply | Thank
  • bikeit420   ✓ supporter

    First time here and will definitely be back. The whitewater center is an amazing place. If you love outdoor stuff this is the place for you. Zip lines, high rope courses, whitewater kayaking and rafting. $6 to park in a huge parking area. Bike trails of all variety surround the facility. Was there several hours and only rode a small portion of the trails. Everything from beginner on up. Trails pretty well marked. Mostly packed clay and gravel. Lake and Parkway loops are good beginner trails. Awesome riding in the Charlotte area. Plenty of adventure options here and you could spend the whole day or several days here.

    Reply | Thank
  • Scott_Primrose

    Wow! What a great trail system with a decent variety of terrain and difficulty! Highly recommend!

    Reply | Thank
  • Cole_Walker

    Extremely varied and diverse trail system. Big parking lot and lots of crowds on the weekend, but they are here for a reason. This place is awesome!

    Reply | Thank
  • Collin Buth

    plenty of great riding. enjoyed a lot of the trails, even the XC stuff. also a really cool place in the Charlette area to hang out.

    Reply | Thank
  • mlombar17

    Slalom track is awesome!

    Reply | Thank
  • Jimmy Christensen

    Copy and paste the link below for an awesome highlight video from the National Whitewater Center in Charlotte, NC. This place has over 35 miles of trails and is mostly flowly XC, but there are some cool jump lines and downhill shoots if you check out Trailforks. I did over 17 miles and had an absolute blast. I have never seen so many mountain bikers in one place! Definitely worth checking out if you are in the area. I post new videos from different spots in the Northeast every Monday, so be sure to subscribe for more! Link: https://youtu.be/ViIDznpJ4ak

    Reply | Thank
  • sassyswede

    A great place to get a good ride in that is near home. Variety of trails from easy to difficult to meet everyone's skill/energy level. It doesn't hurt that there is a nice refreshing adult bevy available after!

    Reply | Thank
  • dhracer

    Great flowing trails! Well maintained and helpful staff for bike rental.

    Reply | Thank
  • mwh29

    As everyone says, there is something here for everyone, well worth the trip, lot's of fun and a very cool place to visit as there are many other great activities besides biking.

    Reply | Thank
  • Collin Buth

    Something for everyone. really great place to ride. had tons of fun here. wish I had more time.

    Reply | Thank
  • Mharding

    So many trails to choose from beginner to a slalom dirt course. Really, really fun.

    Reply | Thank
  • Ron Callahan

    Definitely worth another visit. I, too, was there for Cyclofest and rode a bunch of trails, but Figure 8 was my favorite. While USNWC rates it as a 'black diamond' there were only a couple of 'too technical' sections that I had to walk. There were some fun drops and flowy sections, and some really challenging climbs that I enjoyed tackling.

    Reply | Thank
  • amercycprod

    Attended CycloFest 10/20-23 and my first time at the National Whitewater Center. Well worth the visit! $5 parking fee and 35 miles of great trails that have something for all rider levels. Beautiful scenery and a lot of things to do other than ride!

    Reply | Thank
  • teambrun1988

    Great trail this place has it all, and if you time it right you might see micheal phelps

    Reply | Thank
  • EZ-E

    New additions for 2016 are the Academy Trail and the Full East Main Trail Extension...adds about another 6mi to the complex of trails. Both new sections are on the north portion of the park...Academy starts at the entrance of the north overflow parking lot, East Main can be accessed most quickly by the paved road that bisects the existing east main trail (go north).
    River Jam is still about the most happening event in town every Thursday from May-Oct with a featured live band, upside is it's a fun little party - downside, parking is still a nightmare that night.
    There's a River Jam on Saturday nights as well...great to grab beers after a ride and enjoy.
    Be prepared to pay $5 fee for parking or $40 for a season parking pass. You can't go wrong with any trails out at the usnwc...if you are a beginner try the Lake Loop first because you can get hurt on these trails. Check for green/blue/black ratings before you ride.
    If you are visiting make a day of it...there's rafting, kayaking on the recirculating whitewater river, zip lines, ropes courses, bike rentals, climbing walls and flatwater activities on the Catawba.
    Lock your bike if you leave it on your rack...thieves have been known to cruise the lots.

    Reply | Thank

  • *****

    This trail is the best in the area! Forget about backyard trails. Its got a bit of everything other than pure downhill, but we aren't in true mountains anyhow. Figure 8 trail is rough and technical with no shortage of little side features. Carolina thread trail is super flowy with jumping potential but best as a XC. Carpet trail has tough climbs followed by technical downhills but it does have some pretty washed out areas, 140mm of full susp. travel saved me twice. Then there's tower 98? Tower something... You badically take a climb and have a series of jumps and berms to crush the whole way down. Short but fun. It does cost $5 to park but worth it. Plus there's whitewater rafting, ropes courses, And rock climbing to make for an awesome day.

    Reply | Thank
  • WolfNSheepsClothing

    I've ridden the trails at the USNWC several times since moving to the area and they've done a pretty good job out there. For more experienced riders there's nothing technical, but there's some good jumps and for the area right around Charlotte you can accumulate some decent elevation gain if you ride all the trails.

    Reply | Thank
  • jlmcpherson1

    They are always adding new stuff. There is truly something for every rider here.

    Reply | Thank
  • Dan Zaccardelli

    I've been riding at USNWC for 4 years and every year it gets better. This spring they added the East Main trail extension-extension and this review is for that section of trail: Today was my first ride on this 1 mile loop and it was suuuuuper sweet. It gets my vote for the most challenging section at the facility with rocks, roots, bridges, jumps and drops.

    Reply | Thank