OFF-ROAD TRAILS BECKON
Blue Clay Bike Park
This is one of the more challenging and fun trails
in the area, but it’s also one of the most sensitive to
rain, as portions of it were built on wetlands. One of
the coolest things about Blue Clay is the designers
repurposed land that was the site of a county land-fill.
This can amount to some interesting smells from
time to time, but also differences in terrain that up
the fun factor significantly.
Located in a scenic hardwood forest in
Elizabethtown, this is definitely a road-trip-worthy
biking destination. With more elevation than one
would expect to find in a coastal area and many
recent improvements that were completed in
2020 — a result of trail designers and volunteers
having more downtime on their hands due to the
pandemic — Brown’s Creek is the crown jewel of
the Cape Fear trail system.
Brunswick Nature Park (BNP)
Cape Fear SORBA worked in partnership with
the Coastal Land Trust and Brunswick County
Parks and Recreation to design and build the trails
on this 912-acre property. It features 7.2 miles of
custom-built single track, as well as hiking trails,
a kayak launch, picnic area and restrooms. One of
the great things about BNP is that it handles rain
remarkably well and drains very quickly.
A recent development that is
particularly exciting for the local
mountain biking community is that
Cape Fear SORBA was recently
granted permission from University
of North Carolina Wilmington trustees
to maintain the trail network behind
“The idea is to keep the area as
natural as it has been for years. We
will add certain features to cross
wet areas but for the most part it will
not change,” says Cape Fear SORBA
president Dave Ellegood. “Our goal
is to provide space for mountain bik-ers
and pedestrians to enjoy nature
in a fun and responsible way. This
can be a great example for the city
to see what our Cape Fear SORBA
chapter can accomplish as we work
The trails behind UNCW have
always been a good option, because
they are convenient to access and
drain well. Of course, paved trails
have always been a solid choice in a
light rain or after long rainy periods
and luckily, there is the Gary Shell
Cross-City trail in Wilmington.
There are several paved trail systems elsewhere in the state that are worth the
time and effort in reaching, especially in the Raleigh-Durham area. With 33 miles of
paved trails running along the banks of the Neuse River from Falls Lake Dam to the
town of Clayton, the Neuse River Greenway trail is a great place to visit.
Hitting the American Tobacco Trail is also a fun thing to do in the RDU area, espe-cially
for those with an e-bike. It is a more than 22-mile rails-to-trails project that
crosses Chatham, Durham and Wake counties, passing through Cary, Apex and the
Lake Jordan project land.
The RDU area is also home to a large network of mountain biking trails. For infor-mation,
check out www.trianglemtb.com.
A list of road-trip worthy biking destinations is not complete without mentioning
Horry County Bike and Run Park, better known as The Hulk.
With a wide array of options for getting out and exploring our state’s incredible
natural beauty, as well as a brand-new bike park in Jacksonville that has already
accumulated extensive positive feedback from the local community, there has never
been a better time to be a cyclist.
A cyclist and joggers share the American Tobacco Trail, a 22-mile route that runs through
three counties west of Raleigh.
20 october 2021