Tsali Left Loop

4.48 out of 5
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↑ 1,200 ft
↓ 1,100 ft
elevation (ft)

Trail Description
About this trail
This is one of the longer loops that the world renowned Tsali trails has to offer. Start at the parking lot and follow the signs for the Left loop trail. The first 4 miles of the trail is relatively flat, while the next four miles is composed of tight singletrack hills that wind up towards the ridge line. At the 8 mile mark, County Line Rd. takes you back to the parking lot and coincides with the Right loop trail. County Line Rd. is double track leading down towards the parking lot.
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Trail Features
Trail features
  • Lift Service
  • Drinking Water
  •   Night Riding
  • Pump Track
  • Restrooms
  • Winter Fat Biking
Directions to Trailhead
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Recommended Trails
Recommended Trails
Tsali Thompson Loop
Tsali Mouse Branch Loop
Tsali Right Loop
Bent Creek
Local Info & Nearby Trails
Trail Check-ins
Trail Check-ins
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Recent Trail Check-ins     (76 total check-ins)
  Kristie Murdock   on Sep 29, 2019
  Glen Pittman   on Sep 22, 2019
  Glen Pittman   on Sep 21, 2019
  Glen Pittman   on Sep 20, 2019
  Carrie Carpenter   on May 21, 2019
Photo & Video Gallery (109)
Trail Photos & Videos (109)
Reviews (44)

Bunny Hop

December 31, 2016
Review: Mostly dry. A lot of leaves..to be expected for this time of year. There were about 6-8 fallen trees on the trail. I cleared what I could. Overall a fun ride. The right loop was much more clear.


April 13, 2016
djcmmoore Gnarly  
Review: Restrictions - Open to mountain bikes on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday and horses on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.


1:52 average time for 14.0 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.


Land Manager: USFS - Nantahala National Forest Office

Local Club: SORBA - Nantahala Area


February 10, 2016
MTBCrash29 Doubletrack  
Review: A wonderful trail system. Left loop is a very scenic ride that offers plenty of technical challenges along miles of flowing trails along the lake. A few small cool jumps that offer some additional fun along the trail. This trail may not be the best of the Tsali trails but you should not miss it while at the Tsali trail system.


August 10, 2015
Lee Harris Gramcounter  
Review: This trail offers great views of the lake and has a few sketchy places along it. There is a short rock garden that is pretty technical along the lake edge. The problem is that it's on the side of a cliff which drops 20'-30' to the lake edge. The lake has been low for years so you land on rocks if you fall not the lake. My buddy went over his handlebars here but luckily didn't fall off. Trail is good through just walk this if you are worried. Some big uphills on this loop as well.


October 26, 2014
Review: Not really technical, a little rocky in places. Amazing views, which is what this trail is known for. Rode this clockwise and then took the Right Loop, which makes for a huge outer loop (no need to ride the county road). Definitely take the optional overlook loop. Just, overall, a fantastic ride.

Granny Gear

April 21, 2014
AltaMadMan Granny Gear  
Review: Great XC single track. Nothing technical. Fun, flowy ride.

World Champ

December 5, 2013
Review: This is a fun loop, though I have to say between left and right, I prefer right slightly more.

Similar Trail: Right loop.


July 30, 2013
foxrider71 Gramcounter  
Review: Excelent trail! The first six miles are very fun with a combination of many short and not so steep climbs and very fast rolling downhills. Between miles six and eight you'll find the toughest climbs. Please make the extra effort to do the Overlook loop. There is an amazing view of Fontana Lake and surrounding mountains at the top and then there is an awesome and bit tougher downhill section to get back to the Left loop. After that, a few more ups and downs until you go down fast the main jeep road for about 2.5 miles. Total length 12.5 miles (approx). The trail was in great conditions all the way and a cool 64 deg temperature at 8:00 am (in the middle of summer!). The recommended route (clockwise) is the best way to enjoy this trail.

Granny Gear

March 14, 2013
khomes7 Granny Gear  
Review: Wow I loved this system. Ride clockwise and enjoy the view. Not very technical but some nice climbs. Breathtaking views

Similar Trail: Raccoon mtn

Granny Gear

October 11, 2012
MM1 Granny Gear  
Review: We'd ridden Tsali in '99 & '04 but missed the left loop and were wanting to ride it all these years. We finally did this past Fri., what a rush! Left loop
is the crown jewel of Tsali and not for novices. The views of the lake are awesome and the overlook is breathtaking! We had a great time and were in no hurry. I got a lotta Contour HD video and we really enjoyed the ride. There are some narrow sidehills, one really tight turn with very little room for error. Other than that, I found it very doable. The climb right before the overlook was long for this Floridian and we had to rest a bit. But we made it and the DH that followed was badass! I highly recommend this trail to anyone intermediate or better. We rode it in the suggested, clockwise, route and it's the best way. That way you do the climbs fresh and scream down the gravel on the dbl. track shared with right loop back to your car. There are several picnic tables for afterwards. Bring your lunch, you'll need it!

* Review edited 10/10/2012

Similar Trail: Oleta in Miami or the rest of Tsali.

Tsali Left Loop MTB Trail 4.48 out of 5 based on 44 ratings. 44 user reviews.
Trail Conditions
Trail Conditions          < / > embed