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Level: Intermediate
Length: 7 mi (11.3 km)
Surface: Singletrack
Configuration: Loop
Elevation: +1,684/ -1,124 ft
Total: 273 riders

Mountain Biking Tsali Mouse Branch Loop

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#36 of 546 mountain bike trails in North Carolina
#684 in the world

Mouse Branch and Thompson Loops are the more technical of the Tsali trails, nonetheless, these trails are equally fun and fast. There is also significantly more elevation change on Mouse Branch Loop. There are some gradual uphills that tend to be near the top of the mountains in full exposure to the sun, but the views of Lake Fontana make it worth all the sweat and work. A really great trail when combined with the Thompson Loop.

First added by searsandrewj on Jan 1, 2003. Last updated May 1, 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 Bryson City, follow Hwy 19 South towards Andrews. Go right on Hwy 28 North. Tsali is 3.5 miles on the right. Follow the dirt road entrance to the trailhead, 1.5 miles away.
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Tsali Mouse Branch Loop Trail map

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Trail checkins

brian1675 (on May 29, 2022)
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Tacky (on Aug 15, 2019)
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Mountain Bike Trails Near Bryson City, North Carolina

Beginner | 1.1 mi
| 12 mi

Rider questions

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  • Julio Rodriquez

    Fun trail Should definitely be added to your need to ride list while at Tsali

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  • Rollin' a Giant

    Super fun with a little bit of everything. Incredible views of Lake Fontana when you add in Overlook. Some tough climbs, but I never had to walk my bike.

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  • MTBCrash29   ✓ supporter

    One of my most favorite trails! Great system of trails, Mouse loop offers plenty of ridge trail riding along the lake. Well within the shade of the forest, lots of great technical climbs near the apex of the trail. Trails flows from start to finish. Opportunity for overlook and rest after the apex climb. Very dark if you are night riding, have a very good light or it is very dangerous as the trail is on the edge of the lake with a 20 ft. drop if you run off the trail. This is one of my go to trails for the summer camping season.

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  • Angel K

    Pretty sweet ride, nice pace between light climbs and down hills. Note, if you're following the sign towards the Mouse Branch overlook - which was just okay, it'll loop you to double back about 2 miles. Signage isn't too clear about that. Otherwise, great ride, especially on the lake side - which ends up being the second half of the ride if you're going clockwise.

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  • Gronckle

    Fun trail through gorgeous forest with great lake views. Following the loop clockwise, the first 2 miles or so are a singletrack lane on overgrown fire road. But once you get to the Lake view loop, its true twisting singletrack the rest of the way. Nice campsite right at the trailheads. A few short steep sections and the occasional rocky spots, but not very technical.

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  • LucindaInGA

    Very fun, nontechnical ride. There are a couple of steep uphills, but they're short. Lots of fun riding the contours along the lakeshore. There is some decent exposure, but if you're looking ahead and not to the side, you don't really notice it. I rode it clockwise and combined it with the Thompson Trail immediately afterward.

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  • petofallas

    Absolutely love this trail. Intermediate level for sure. Offers climbs , speed sections , mild technical descents.

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  • Matthew Bonner

    very fun! with the fast flowly trail combined with the rooty, rocky uphill and the unreal views of Lake Fontana this trail is great. Also has some great banked turn so you can keep your speed. a must do trail while riding in the south.

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  • Nickelsonx1

    Fast,flowy and fun...that about says it all. Not a technical trail at all just very fast. It runs about the same either direction but the best down hill maybe when the trail is run CC.

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  • mikemoor

    Great trail. We were there last week-end and there were 4 large trees across the trail but the trail was still open. This trail has some tough climbs but awesome descents. This is a must ride for the experience of true mountain biking in the mountains. Overall this is a very smooth trail but be careful of the downed trees. The scenery is amazing with the beautiful azure lake with the Smokeys in the background. We saw 3 deer and a mink. The wildlife there is great!!

    * Review edited 8/7/2012

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  • uekiya

    Funner and faster everytime I ride it. Some short steep climbs and serveral good downhills. Probably the most techinical of all Tsali Trails but nothing too difficult.

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  • jfigel76

    Great loop. Directional, no dabs or dismounts. Only ride on certain days and that is fine with me. Can be made an multi day epic with all the other 3 trails in the area. Campground in area is cool.

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  • jhbrown

    I rode Mouse branch and the Left loop on consecutive evenings and found both to be fast and fun rides. Neither were very technical but there are some challenging climbs getting back to the center-line road as darkness fell. I would equate the Tsali trails with the Isaqueena trails in the upstate of SC.

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  • Greg Heil   ✓ supporter

    Some new trail "maintenance" has left mouse branch with dozens of momentum-destroying and wheel-sucking waterbars. Amazing what a little funding will get you, huh?

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  • Greg Heil   ✓ supporter

    Great trail like all of the other Tsali trails, but a little more technical, with more frequent and steeper climbs. Some of the downhills are steeper as well. Also, this has some of the best views in the entire trail system!

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  • GoldenGoose

    Fantasic trail much like the other three in the complex. This one seemed a little more technical than the others but still nothing that will give you any fits on the trail. Just more loose rocks to navigate. Not much climbing but great flow and a KILLER view at the overlook!! Bring your camera. All the biking trails at Tsali alternate days with horseback riders. No worries though, there are not many of them and the trails are in great shape. Mouse branch is only rideable by bikes on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.

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  • Hannadog

    Nice parking area. $2.00 fee is on the honor system. Trails alternate use and days with horse riders. Rode this trail for the first time counter-clockwise. Flows nice but might be better ridden clockwise base on other reviews. Trail is narrow and follows coves of lake. CAUTION: Since trail can be riden either way and due to limited line of sight, this can result in sudden head-on encounter with another rider. Trails are marked both directions with yellow blazes. Wet areas on trail have not been "armored" and will continue to erode and wallow-out. If you're in this area and want to MTB ride, I'd highly recommend. I would not drive to Tsali from my location just to ride the trails. Just my opinion, there are other trails and areas closer to me that are better.

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  • JSurratt   ✓ supporter

    This trail has some uphill climbs with some rewarding downhill runs on difficult terrain....while riding this trail a young rider wiped out and broke his arm. Can be a dangerous ride if not careful.

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  • pedrotyler

    awesome trail The end is the best part, there are difficult climbs but it is worth it to get to the over look

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  • natedogg

    Another Sweet Loop to do at Tsali. Mouse probably flows the best of all the loops I've ridden there. Similar to the other loops there, not very technical, but super fun. Overlook loop drops down, fast, somewhat rocky, super sweet, and like anything else, the more you ride it the faster you wana push it!! .... So my suggestion is to ride it twice, and then hit Thompson to finish with a solid climb at the end, followed by probably the fastest downhill at Tsali.

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