Lemmons Branch

Murphy, North Carolina

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With all the other great riding in Tsali Recreation Area, it would be easy to forego this 2.5-mile out-and-back (5 miles total) lightly graveled service road. Don't. If nothing else, it's a wonderful warm-up ride. But there's plenty more. The short, rolling hills of the route mostly take place under a thick shade of evergreen and mixed hardwoods. Laurel thickets crowd the banks. Despite its service road status, the ride feels remote and intimate. On one remarkable curve, the dense canopy disappears. As if in a slide show, the impressive shape of Round Top pops into view. This trail is a special summer treat: take a picnic to eat at the shores of Fontana Lake and cool off with a swim.

Lemmons Branch Professional Review and Guide

"With all the other great riding in Tsali Recreation Area, it would be easy to forego this 2.5-mile out-and-back (5 miles total) lightly graveled service road. Don't. If nothing else, it's a wonderful warm-up ride. But there's plenty more. The short, rolling hills of the route mostly take place under a thick shade of evergreen and mixed hardwoods.

Laurel thickets crowd the banks. Despite its service road status, the ride feels remote and intimate. On one remarkable curve, the dense canopy disappears. As if in a slide show, the impressive shape of Round Top pops into view. This trail is a special summer treat: take a picnic to eat at the shores of Fontana Lake and cool off with a swim."

Activity Type: Mountain Biking
Nearby City: Murphy
Distance: 5
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Technical Difficulty: Easy
Physical Difficulty: Easy
Season: Wear bright orange during hunting season.
Local Contacts: Cheoah Ranger District, Nantahala National Forest, 828-479-6431.
Local Maps: Nantahala National Forest map sold at the ranger station and area bike shops.
Driving Directions: Directions to Lemmons Branch

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May 2018