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Level: Beginner
Length: 14 mi (22.5 km)
Surface: Fire Road
Configuration: Loop
Elevation: +415/ -398 ft
Total: 23 riders

Mountain Biking Winding Stairs

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#145 of 546 mountain bike trails in North Carolina
#2,889 in the world

Start the trail by riding back down Wayah Rd. towards the power station. Turn right into the rafting put-in and find the bridge across the river (a cement bridge with steel framing). Follow this paved path (called the River Trail) to Winding Stairs Rd. The road is unmarked but is a dirt road leading up and to the right. Go up this road for approximately four miles. At the top you will find the Queen's Creek Reservior. Go about one more mile and Winding Stairs becomes paved. After another two miles, you will reach the top and will begin your descent on pavement. At the end of Winding Stairs Rd., turn right onto Wayah Rd. Ride down the road, beside the Nantahala river until you see your car. A great ride with a long, steep climb.

First added by Jeff Barber on Jan 1, 2003. Last updated Apr 30, 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 Bryson City, take Hwy. 19 S to the commercial rafting put-in off Wayah Rd. (on the left). Go past the put-in and power station and park along the side of Wayah Rd. at one of the many turn outs.
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Winding Stairs Trail map

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Trail conditions

Dry (on Jul 16, 2016)
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Mountain Bike Trails Near Nantahala, North Carolina

Advanced | 5 mi
Beginner | 8 mi
Intermediate | 7 mi
Intermediate | 30 mi

Rider questions

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  • Bradley Burgess

    I live pretty much across the street from Winding Stairs so I ride it a good bit. The climb to the top is a good way to keep your legs strong. I generally turn around at the top then bomb back down instead of doing the whole loop. From what I've heard the Mystic Lands housing development is working to re-open the road.

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  • Jeff Barber

    This is basically a road route but there is a stretch of gravel for your knobbies. Fast, fun loop with great scenery.

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  • mholmberg   ✓ supporter

    Great long uphill takes you to breath taking views. The gravel logging road makes the uphill climb bearable. I did a 4 mile out and back--looking forward to riding the entire 14 mi loop.

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  • Lizzie623

    Starts out with an uphill, but well worth the climb. Lake Queen up top is the perfect place to cool off and swimming is allowed. The paved downhill that follows is amazingly beautiful and seriously fun!

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