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Level: Intermediate
Length: 9 mi (14.5 km)
Surface: Singletrack
Configuration: Loop
Elevation: +571/ -529 ft
Total: 88 riders

Mountain Biking Rocky River Trail

****   Add a review
#77 of 546 mountain bike trails in North Carolina
#1,470 in the world

Used to be just called Steve's (land owner and trail builder). Parking is signed and on your left right when you pull in. Trailhead is up the gravel road a bit, marked by a yellow sign right after a Plymouth GTX on your right.

Switchbacks galore, offering twisting singletrack up and down the elevation. A good portion of trail is off camber with some roots thrown in there for good measure. Three major climbs (Gorge, No Name, Stairway to Heaven) which aren't afraid to attack the steep features of the elevation, River Climb is a warm up compared. You can find some speed here, but it offers more to handling and climbing, so bring your legs and lungs for this one. Great singletrack, nothing sanitized here.

First added by eastwood on Dec 23, 2012. Last updated May 2, 2020. → add an update
Before you go
  • Drinking water: unknown
  • Lift service: unknown
  • Night riding: unknown
  • Pump track: unknown
  • Restrooms: unknown
  • 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 Charlotte take N Carolina 27 E/Hwy 27 E/Albemarle Rd crossing over 485. Just short of 5 miles turn left onto Flowes Store Rd. Follow for about 4.5 miles and take a right onto Parks Lafferty Rd. Address is 2575 Parks Lafferty Rd and will be on your left 1.2 miles down the road. On your right will be a green mailbox with a bicycle wheel hanging against it.
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Rocky River Trail Trail map

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eastwood (on Apr 2, 2023)
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Dry (on Jun 7, 2020)
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Mountain Bike Trails Near Concord, North Carolina

| 4 mi
Intermediate | 5 mi
Beginner | 0 mi

Rider questions

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  • double_ewe

    At the start of the first climb, you will pass under an archway of rusty barbed-wire adorned with baby bottles and a scrawled sign that reads "This Ain't Sherman." If you shy away from rock gardens or get winded after a flight of stairs, RRT is the wrong trail for you. If you're more interested in a leisurely pedal past scenic overlooks than crashing down rocky slopes, there are better options in the area.

    This is not a flow trail or a scenic greenway, and the décor is more Halloween Express than Botanical Garden. But the climbs will burn your legs and the descents are fast and raw. If that's what you're looking for, then you're in the right place.

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  • Cole_Walker

    This place has some really challenging climbs. Overall, a lot of fun. Short drive from Greensboro.

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  • Have bike will travel

    First time on this trail. A father and son helped me figure out the "trail personality" and allowed me to follow until I got the gist of direction and flow. To give you a read of where i'm coming from, I'm 67 and loved the trail. Are there better trails? Yes but there are many worse. I am fortunate to ride all over this state and totally respect and love the individual personalities of each and every trai. Of the 25 trail I have ridden, I haven't scratched any off my plans to return. This one is unique like it should be. I could use adjectives that would be no different from any other trail but to me it's like meeting a new person - you either like them and enjoy their unique personality or you avoid them in the future. I plan to return!!

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  • scbiker

    Go to Tarheeltrailblazers.com for better direction. It is worth the little extra trouble to find these trails. Lots of fun.

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  • dallen1021

    The directions given sent me to a bogus address. Didn't get to ride today because of the pointless directions. Thanks who listed this. Spent 3 hours driving, and didnt even get to touch dirt!!! Thanks!!!

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  • Mason Blue

    I had a great time out there, the trail was in good condition and I liked the creepy manikins throughout the ride. I am going to continue going here until I greatly improve my skills.

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  • Alex88

    Truly a reminder of Beech Spring (Poplar Tent) where i learned to ride back in the late 90's.
    I actually love this trail and the "scenery" is funny/interesting to me, the trail has a sense of humor folks! Relax about the "junk"...think antique!
    Good downhills, well documented uphills that are not very long but certainly heart pumpers. It's raw mountain biking
    I'll be back.

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  • WolfNSheepsClothing

    Some recent reviews have compared the Rocky River trail to a junkyard, which isn't true at all. There are a few areas of the trail with a junky trailer or other similar things, but this is a tiny fraction of the trail. The trail is well maintained and does a great job with the space available.

    One thing that needs clarification is that the climbs on the Rocky River trail aren't what some are describing. I get it, Singletracks has riders of all skill levels, and many riding this trail are beginners or haven't ridden much outside of their small group of trails in the area. In the Charlotte area there are few trails with any real climbing, at least none that are sustained, steep climbs. Climbing in the NC mountains is worlds away from this, and climbing in the Rockies is worlds away from that.

    The climbs at Rocky River are actually quite tame with a couple of very short, steep sections. They're mostly switchbacks with a low tech level. Do not be frightened off by some of the reviews here.

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  • *

    Sorry for the rating but it's just not my style. I don't mind paying a small donation for well maintained tails that ride well. This trail however was not worth the $3 bucks I electively payed. It's like a huge junk yard with trails weaving through it. Complete with creepy props around every corner. Wouldn't recommend riding this trail without an up to date tettnis shot or some form of personae protection (i.e. Tazzer, pistol, knife, crossbow)

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  • bdotson

    I get it - people want some serious challenges and this provides some exciting terrain with great climbs. All of that is true. However, if you are looking to ride to enjoy nature and beautiful views, you know - the whole recharge in the beautiful forest thing - well this ain't it. Trash everywhere, old rusty appliances, abandoned trailers, beer cans, junk and more junk (did I really see steps/ladder to one of those above ground pool things?) old cars, you name it. I know we should be glad someone has a great ride on his own private property but ...

    Well enough said. I've been my biking since the mid 1990s so I'm kinda familiar with why we do what we do. Think of it along two extreme ends of the spectrum: If mt biking is like going to the gym for you (all about the thrill and the cardio - and there's nothing wrong with that at all btw) then RRT certainly will be what you are looking for. If however, your riding is also about the nature side of things then maybe Sherman's Branch would be more the ticket.

    Just my $.02 worth. YMMV.

    PS - on the other hand though, I have to admit the actual trail alongside the Rocky River itself is beautiful... Although 25' sheer cliffs into the water and only inches from the trail (serious - gorgeous views but crazy dangerous ride there) - probably closer to nature than I care to get.

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  • TINman73

    First time riding this trail and found it to be everything it was said to be. Very smooth and flowy with brutal climbs. This trail is Charlotte mountain biking at it's best. Very narrow, off camber, not over-ridden and therefore much less rooty than other area trails. If you are looking for something to test your skills, or improve them, this is the place! I will definitely be back. Thanks to the builders for such an awesome trail!

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  • BikinDad

    Awesomeness...makes me miss Beach Springs aka Poplar Tent

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  • BikinDad

    4 out 5..cause those hills suck! Loved the trail, really...thank's for it. Somewhat reminds me of 'ole Poplar Tent...oh, how I miss thee...

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  • leamsi

    Very hard trail

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  • jclloyd

    Technical enough to make you focus....tiring enough to break that focus. RRT is one of a kind for the charlotte area and is a must ride. It is not a beginner trail as it has several very tough climbs and sick downhills with some technical spots and options along the way. All in all this is one of the best trails around and well maintained by steve the owner. Will ride whenever I can.

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  • Chase Carlson

    This Trail is a mixed bag it has some truly awesome moments like a steep hill right into a river gap and some really nice climbs and rock gardens. But for every moment of really good trail theirs at least 5 sections of basic uninspired trails. However the reason I only gave it three stars was it was poorly marked with many by passes but don't tell you which direction the trail goes. I ended up going 2 miles in the wrong direction.

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  • Vladconnery

    I started mountain biking 10/14. I have approximately 40 rides under my belt the majority of them were at Sherman Branch, a few a whitewater. I live about 10 minutes from both Sherman and RRT. I had stayed away from RRT because of what I heard about the climbs. I have conquered all of the obstacles at Sherman and can ride it with relative ease and was looking for something more challenging as I am planning to take a 30 mile ride in Dupont Spring of 15 and I needed something that would challenge me (climbing).

    Well I found it and I love it. This trail has a great flow to it and is well marked even the mileage is marked and it is 12 miles now. It reminds me of Sherman Branch but on steroids. I could not make the 3 climbs George, No Name or Stairways. There are other small climbs there that are more challenging than Sherman that I was able to make. Which is OK because I was looking for something that would be challenging and I would not be able to conquer in a month. There are 2 areas where rookies like myself need to pay attention and they are both clearly marked with yellow signs that say CAUTION!!! the first is at the tight switchbacks the first switch to the right is ok the second going to the left is steep and you should proceed with caution a dropper seat here is great for lowering your center of gravity. The second place is at the Plunge and again it is clearly marked CAUTION!!!!. This is the steepest hill I have encountered and I got off my bike and walked down it to the right in the leaves. If you ride down and fall you won't stop until you reach the bottom seriously. I truly loved this trail and I am sure it will become my favorite. Nothing against Sherman at all I like it a lot too but for mountain biking I think RRT is more realistic to what the experience is supposed to be like. I'm just lucky enough to literally live 10 minutes from both.

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  • *****

    Great trail. I was completely whipped at the end. Very well maintained. I will be back for another lap soon.

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  • JBX

    Great Trail! Steve has done an awesome job on this trail, there are some features appearing, very nice. Definately not for greenhorns, Put in your $3, it is well worth it and Steve puts in a lot of work here.

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