Mouse Branch

Murphy, North Carolina

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Even after a good rain, the track was amazingly free of big, long, nasty mudholes. The mixed hardwoods and pine forest above Mouse Branch have an extra added feature in the winter "drawdown" months. Below the full-pool line on Fontana Lake's bank, the mountain slopes have been scoured clean. Only the scree-covered contour remains, producing an eerie effect. Receding waves leave scalloped, parallel lines on the strand. And at the bottom of the draw, a tiny creek trickles its way to the distant lake waters- in some places, a quarter of a mile or more away. The contiguous trail, Thompson Loop, is easily added to a day's ride, giving a total mileage of over 145 miles- nearly all singletrack.

Mouse Branch Professional Review and Guide

"Even after a good rain, the track was amazingly free of big, long, nasty mudholes. The mixed hardwoods and pine forest above Mouse Branch have an extra added feature in the winter "drawdown" months. Below the full-pool line on Fontana Lake's bank, the mountain slopes have been scoured clean.

Only the scree-covered contour remains, producing an eerie effect. Receding waves leave scalloped, parallel lines on the strand. And at the bottom of the draw, a tiny creek trickles its way to the distant lake waters- in some places, a quarter of a mile or more away. The contiguous trail, Thompson Loop, is easily added to a day's ride, giving a total mileage of over 145 miles- nearly all singletrack."

Activity Type: Mountain Biking
Nearby City: Murphy
Distance: 7
Elevation Gain: 200 feet
Trail Type: Loop/Lollipop
Technical Difficulty: Easy
Physical Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Season: Year-round.
Local Contacts: Cheoah Ranger District, Nantahala National Forest, 828-479-6431.
Local Maps: Look for the very good topo map posted at the 5-mile mark on Left Loop. The "official" map, "Tsali Recreation Area: Mecca for Mountain Bikers, Horseback Riders," is a bit outdated but better than nothing.
Driving Directions: Directions to Mouse Branch

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May 2018