Mountain Bike through the Sprawling Tsali Recreation Area

Western North Carolina’s Tsali Recreation Area hugs scenic Fontana Lake just a few clicks north of Almond, a peaceful, undeniably beautiful unincorporated village known for its luxurious cabin rentals. Tsali (SAH-lee) is often mispronounced. Although, many locals refute that it’s actually ZA-lee. Its sprawling beauty and undisturbed wildlife are only outmatched by its 39-mile, four-loop mountain bike trail network, which snakes through dense forestry, often rolling alongside one of Fontana Lake’s distinctive inlets. Mountain biking (and fat biking, to a lesser extent) is a year-round pursuit here at Great Smokys Cabin Rentals, as temperatures rarely reach intolerable lows. And the perfect place to start and finish each day of exploration and perspiration is inside one of our beloved Bryson City cabins, such as Bears Den, Smoky Mountain High, and A Walk in the Clouds, all of which are a short distance from these ultra-popular Tsali trails.

Setting the Scene: Exploring Western North Carolina

Let’s start by stating that Western North Carolina attracts all types of outdoor enthusiasts, including fly fishers, waterfall photographers, whitewater rafters, and practiced hikers. However, mountain biking is perhaps the best way to explore the region, mainly because you can cover a lot of ground in a short amount of time. This sport is also (generally) inexpensive, and bicyclists can burn up to 400 calories in only one hour. What’s particularly interesting about these four Tsali trails is that they’re so incredibly diverse, despite all being chambered in a 3,000-acre preserve. Bikeoholics will discover old logging roads, cross babbling creeks, and tackle steep inclines, all in short order.

A Tsali Trail Guide

These four singletrack Tsali trails are widely regarded as “challenging,” so bring your A-game, plenty of water, and some nutrition. Trails range from 6.5 to 11.9 miles. “Left Loop” is the area’s most popular option because it features unobstructed views of the northbound Smoky Mountains, as well as still Fontana Lake. “Mouse Branch,” the shortest ride of the day, rolls past abandoned homes, diverse birdlife, and some of the only wide-open spaces in the area. “Right Loop” can technically be split into two. Thus, it boasts a kid-friendly, four-mile loop. Lastly, “Thompson Loop” is the furthest south, where the elevation gain and loss is less prevalent.

Are you looking for a cyclist-friendly day-trip? Try pedaling up the Blue Ridge Parkway, one of the most beautiful stretches of road on the East Coast.

A Fleet of Luxurious Smoky Mountain Rentals

After conquering these four well-maintained Tsali trails, return to your lavish Bryson City cabin rental. While Great Smokys manages cabins in several towns, Bryson City is the focal point for so many travelers, primarily because it features a quintessential downtown with shops, restaurants, and breweries. Most homes boast outdoor hot tubs, private acreage, full kitchens, spacious decks, fire pits, unobstructed mountain vistas, and floor-to-ceiling fireplaces. And, hey, we’re even dog-friendly! To book a well-deserved adventure into North Carolina’s spellbinding Smoky Mountains, Please check availability online (or call us directly at 800-655-9771).