Charlotte on Two Wheels: The Best Cycling Routes and Trails
There's a certain freedom found in cycling – the rhythm of your breath, the rotation of the pedals, and the sensation of the wind brushing past. Charlotte, North Carolina, with its sprawling greenways and scenic routes, offers a bounty for those who want to experience the city from a two-wheeled perspective. I'm Benjamin Lee, and as a cycling enthusiast and Charlotte local, I'm thrilled to share the crème de la crème of cycling paths in our beloved Queen City.
1. Little Sugar Creek Greenway:
An urban oasis, the Little Sugar Creek Greenway runs from Cordelia Park all the way to Brandywine Road. This trail offers a blend of Charlotte’s natural beauty with urban landscapes. With numerous art installations and the skyline in view, it's a picturesque route for both novice and seasoned cyclists.
2. McAlpine Creek Greenway:
Dive into nature without leaving the city. This greenway stretches for about 5.8 miles and offers a mix of soft trails and boardwalks. Birdwatchers, this trail is a gem – keep your eyes peeled for herons, egrets, and other local bird species.
3. Booty Loop:
Located in the Myers Park neighborhood, the Booty Loop is a 2.85-mile circuit frequented by cyclists and runners. It's perfect for interval training or a relaxed ride amidst the stunning historic homes.
4. South Fork Rail Trail:
Situated in nearby Lincolnton, this trail is worth the short drive. With 1.5 miles tracing the South Fork of the Catawba River, you're guaranteed serene views and a smooth ride, thanks to its crushed stone surface.
5. Rocky River Greenway – Davidson:
A 2.8-mile pathway, this greenway offers a peaceful ride through woods and meadows. The trail is relatively flat, making it perfect for families or those looking for a laid-back cycle.
6. Irwin Creek and Stewart Creek Greenways:
Connect with nature and history in one go! These greenways, which are connected, take you through Frazier Park, past the Ray's Splash Planet, and the historic Elmwood Cemetery.
7. Plaza Midwood to NoDa Ride:
For those who love a blend of urban cycling and trail riding, this route connects two of Charlotte’s most vibrant arts districts. Along the way, enjoy murals, local eateries, and plenty of spots to stop and soak in the atmosphere.
8. Ballantyne District Park:
While not a lengthy route, this park offers a mix of terrains suitable for mountain bikers or those looking to hone their technical skills.
9. U.S. National Whitewater Center:
This isn't just for water enthusiasts. With over 30 miles of trails catering to all skill levels, cyclists can experience a mix of terrains from flat pathways to challenging mountain bike trails.
10. The Thread Trail:
A work in progress, the Thread Trail, once completed, will encompass 15 counties. Currently, various segments are accessible to cyclists, offering a mix of terrains and landscapes.
Charlotte's cycling trails showcase the diverse beauty of the city – from its urban heart to its tranquil natural spaces. Whether you're a daily rider or someone dusting off an old bike from the garage, the Queen City invites you to explore her wonders on two wheels. Helmets on, and happy cycling!