When I am riding locally in Charlotte NC I have roughly 4 trails I visit, either due to distance from my house, work or time restraints. One of my favorite trails,that is also one of the closer ones to my house, recently had a trail addition that opened earlier this fall.
Lake Norman State Park which is about 25 minutes north of center city Charlotte is a great trail for all levels. 20 or so miles can now be found wrapping around the lake. Well maintained with a decent amount of length it will give you a reason to make the drive. The words I would use to describe the whole circuit of trails is flowing, moderate, and scenic. The Tarheel Trailblazers have done a great job building and keeping up with the trails, the State Park Rangers keep an eye on the trail, encourage use but also make sure it isn’t abused when the weather is foul.
The recently finished addition, the Laurel loop added 8 miles to the other two loops that have been staples at Lake Norman. The loop is a bit more technical, adding fun switchbacks, little kicker climbs, man built log rollers and will give you a work out no matter your experience. Those in shape will hit the trail harder, those looking to step up their game the trail is completely rideable, you may need to walk a couple hills but there is not shame in it!
The trail reminds me of a tamed Warrior Creek in Wilkesboro. Not as much elevation change, not as many berms, but fun. 20 miles of mountain biking, with 10 more planned will make this a destination spot. I’m lucky to live relatively close to the trail (10 minute drive)!
If you are a local to me (Charlotte/Lake Norman, NC) then you should know about the dedication event of the Lake Norman Bicycle Route. The route is planned to circle Lake Norman on marked roads, greenways, and showing points of interest. The route is 3/4 of the way marked and mapped! Read more about it or view the map here.
This Saturday is the event to kick things off, including a bike ride!
Saturday, October 15, 2011 at the Troutman Depot
137 South Main Street, Troutman, NC
Starts at 10am
Description of the Troutman Loop to be ridden after the ceremony Saturday
Begin at Downtown Troutman’s landmark Old Depot at US 21/NC 115 (Main St.) and Wagner Rd. Careful crossing US 21 to start your ride south on Wagner. After 1.5 miles, veer right onto State Park Rd. The scenery becomes more rural and wooded approaching Lake Norman State Park. Past the first bridge, see a parking area at Park Lake. Boats can be rented here during summer. The building provides restrooms and drinking fountain (mid-March to November). A Porta-John is located at the north entrance of the parking lot by the Itusi Mountain Bike Trail entrance. A mile further on State Park Rd., turn right after the Park’s west gate. St. John’s Rd. ends at E. Monbo Rd. Turn right, and in a ¼-mile, veer right to stay on E. Monbo and the Loop. E. Monbo stretches another 4 miles through hilly, rural horse country before reaching Old Mountain Rd. (To visit Daveste’ Vineyards, divert right onto Talley St., past Hicks Creek Rd., and another right onto Lytton Farm.) Continue to Troutman, turning right on Old Mountain Rd. to reach US 21/NC 115. At the light, turn right. After a ¼ mile, turn left at Old Murdock, then right onto Eastway. Notice the “Richardson Greenway” path across from Town Hall. In ¾-mile return to the Depot. If you’re hungry, enjoy one of the several restaurants you just passed along Main St.