Tsali Recreation Area

4.40 out of 5
View Topo Map


↑ 3,300 ft
↓ 3,200 ft
elevation (ft)

Trail Description
About this trail
Tsali features four singletrack loops that hug the banks of Fontana Lake. The trails are super fast and flowy singletrack with mostly moderate climbs and amazing scenery.

Daily usage alternates between horses and bikes so you don't have to worry about running into spooked riders (check local park maps and signage). The trailhead features a bike wash station and there's also a nice campground with showers and flush toilets. Tsali is an IMBA Epic and with good reason!
added by Jeff BarberWorld Champ
Trail Features
Trail features
  • Lift Service
  • Drinking Water
  •   Night Riding
  • Pump Track
  • Restrooms
  • Winter Fat Biking
Directions to Trailhead
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Trail Q&A
Rider Questions


Q: Is the Camping Free or are there fees -Daniel Lee Dault Jr.

A: 40 something first come first serve camping sites. 15 dollars per night.

Guest answered on May 19, 2017. Did you find this helpful? Yes | No




Q: Are showers available to bikers, or only campers? -m@frit

A: Outside shower for bikers at trail head. Also a hose for bikes.

eddttt answered on May 25, 2018. Did you find this helpful? Yes | No


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System Trails (4)
System Trails (4)
Tsali Left Loop
Tsali Mouse Branch Loop
Tsali Right Loop
Tsali Thompson Loop
Local Info & Nearby Trails
Trail Check-ins
Trail Check-ins
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Recent Trail Check-ins     (242 total check-ins)
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  Chilipepper1462   on Sep 7, 2019
  Jim Dandro   on May 25, 2019
Photo & Video Gallery (501)
Trail Photos & Videos (501)
Reviews (104)


September 1, 2018
rmap01 Doubletrack  
Review: Rode here last year and did both the Right and Left loops. These trails have excellent flow and you can pick up some serious speed. (Be forewarned: If you are looking for rocks or Pisgah-like tech riding you will not find it @ Tsali). For most of the ride the trails run along the mountain ridge. There's decent elevation change and one or two climbs where you'll really need to put the effort in. Take the time to ride out to the lookout points on the trail as the views of the lake are worth it.

Bunny Hop

April 3, 2018
Review: Came here yesterday for the third time. It's a cool trail for sure, but rode the the Right Loop and it was a mess. I had to clear a tree from across the trail about a mile in... it had been there a while. Made our way to the windy point overlook and had to get off and climb over a big tree. On the way down from the beautiful overlook, we decided to finish off the windy point trail and turn right... wow, what a mistake. We had to get off and climb over two large trees and duck under two more. To finish off the windy point trail the trail was overgrown in spots... briars, grass, and little trees... totally not impressed because last year it was the same. Hard to believe that a named trail at an IMBA Epic system can be that neglected. Especially with individual riders having to pay $2 for day use. I won't even mention the huge pile of horse crap in the middle of the county line trail as you go around the final gate. Cmon... put that money to work and make a great trail rideable again.

Granny Gear

January 4, 2018
Lisak218 Granny Gear  
Review: This trail is a lot of fun. We did the left and right loops last week. Great condition in December. Hard packed with leaf cover. For a flat lander the trails make you work hard but if you're use to it, I could see it being easy. The downhills are fast and fun.

Granny Gear

January 1, 2018
sake Granny Gear  
Review: Tsali is a good XC trail system. There really isn"t much technical terrain, just groomed trails with decent climbs and great views. I can't really figure out why it is always rated so highly except that it has been around for a long time. If I'm in that area of North Carolina, I much rather make the drive over to Brevard and hit Pisgah or Dupont.

Granny Gear

July 31, 2017
PGH Rider Granny Gear  
Review: Nice place to learn or take your family. Little boring otherwise.

Bunny Hop

July 29, 2017
DivotUSMC Bunny Hop  
Review: First time here. I am coming back. Right loop more challenging with climbs and roots. Left loop has the better views with about 5 miles of lake front riding. Great trail system.


June 28, 2017
Review: This old-school trail system is often considered over-rated because of the lack of tech and new construction techniques. Still, it is an awesome XC ride that will work your lungs and award you with amazing views. The bike wash at the end is a nice touch.



March 30, 2018
Review: I agree completely. Tsali is a fun ride. I've been going to these trails for almost 30 years, and I always look forward to coming back. I like that I can ride both right and left loops, as well as the overlook trails, and get some decent miles as a result, without having to ride too much fire road like you have to in Dupont and Pisgah. I'm not knocking DuPont or Pisgah, as I like those trails too. Tsali is just good old XC blazing fun.

Granny Gear

June 20, 2017
Review: LEFT Loop was very hard for me...coming from Fl and the flat lands. Lots of rocks, steep climbs,narrow cliff sides, and trees down. The other three loops were easier but I was surprised at how hard it was with the higher elevation.

Granny Gear

April 18, 2017
urbanc Granny Gear  
Review: Amazing trail system! Love the camping access and nearby adventure towns.

Granny Gear

October 14, 2016
jodpan Granny Gear  
Review: Well groomed, well maintained, flowy -- what more do you need? Great views and no big climbs. Note that only 2 of the 4 trails are open to bikes each day, the other 2 are designated for horses and the trail days alternate so depending on the day you go, you will either be riding Mouse Branch/ Thompson loop or Right/Left trails. All of them are fun. Left and right are a little longer overall.

Tsali Recreation Area MTB Trail 4.40 out of 5 based on 104 ratings. 104 user reviews.
Trail Conditions
Trail Conditions          < / > embed
Feature Article
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