Thermal Belt Rail Trail

North Carolina

77 Reviews

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Thermal Belt Rail Trail Facts

States: North Carolina
Counties: Rutherford
Length: 13.6 miles
Trail end points: Oak Springs Road (Gilkey) and Forrest W Hunt Drive (Forest City)
Trail surfaces: Asphalt
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6032283

Thermal Belt Rail Trail Description


The Thermal Belt Rail Trail lies at the heart of communities in Rutherford and Polk County. The name of the trail comes from the surrounding Isothermal Belt region which results in mild temperatures and longer growing seasons for the communities surrounding the trail. 

The entire trail is paved on a 12-ft wide asphalt surface and is relatively flat and shaded by surrounding tree cover. The trail does not allow horses. E-bikes are allowed.

About the Route

The trail's northern endpoint is located in Gilkey along Oak Springs Rd. From here, the trail heads south along the route. This northern section of the trail is a lot more rural and has sparse road crossings.

In Furtherfordton, the Thermal Belt Rail Trail merges with the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail. If you're visiting in October, trail users may want to check out the annual Overmountain Victory Trail March along this route.

As the trail continues south, the route passes through the charming small towns of Spindale, Rutherfordton, and Ruth. A highlight of the route is its passage by the Bechtler Mint Site Historic Park, where gold was mined and gold coins were minted in the mid-1800s.

There are a number of amenities offered along the route. At mile 7 on Springdale St., there are pickleball courts along the route. At Mile 8 and 11, there are outdoor exercise stations just off the trail. 

Off the trail on Harris St. at mile 10.5, there is access to a golf course, public pool, and basketball court. In the Forest City Pavillion, near mile 11, there is a splash pad, accessible by trail.

The trail reaches its southern end at Forrest W Hunt Dr., where parking is available.


Parking and Trail Access

The Thermal Belt Rail Trail runs between Oak Springs Road (Gilkey) and Forrest W Hunt Drive (Forest City), with parking available at both ends.

Parking is also available at:

  • Bechtler Mint Historic Park, 342 Gilboa Church Rd (Rutherfordton)
  • 891 Railroad Ave (Rutherfordton)
  • 122 Park St (Forest City)

See TrailLink Map for all parking options and detailed directions.

Thermal Belt Rail Trail Reviews

Thanks for such a nice way to see NC

Enjoyed the entire trail on Aprils Fool Day. It is a nice wide trail from beginning to end. There are some road crossings but all are well marked. We saw walkers and cyclist on this overcast spring day. Impressive maps at the parking lots.

great ride

Wide, long ascents and descents and varied scenery. We wisded that we had stopped at Fly Boy Pizza and Fly Girl Brewing at Mile 3.5. Super friendly bike store called Grumpy’s around mile 6 across the street from the trail.

Nice paved trail

You can do just about anything on this trail and it’s a nice length. Love this trail for walking and biking.

Great Paved Rail Trail

I was visiting my parents at a nearby city and saw this trail listed. I hopped on it on the southern end in Forest City at mile 13.6 and road to the trailhead in Gilkey and back. It was a fantastic ride and nice to see that it is completely paved and lots of places to stop and admire. I plan on coming backs after spring to enjoy the trail in full bloom!


Thermal Belt Rail Trail

There are some older reviews on here that are no longer accurate. The trail is paved from end to end. It is also well maintained as witnessed by me following guys pulling a leaf blower behind their parks Dept ATV.

Great place to ride your bike.

Great place to ride your bike.

Top trail I've found for road bikes anywhere in the Carolinas

Well paved and marked, decent length, not too many road crossings, and none over major roads, a decent portion more with natural surroundings like trees, and nothing really against it

I moved from Northern Virginia near the W&OD trail that recently won top trial in the nation for cycling so it's been tough to adapt. Although this trail maxes out at a 27-mile rile (unlike being able to do over a metric century on the W&OD) and being an hour drive to get from just west of Charlotte, it is an almost perfect rail trail for road bikes.

great ride 11/7/22

We parked at a park 2 miles from the northern end and went north to the end and then back south to Forest City and back north to the car. About 17 miles and 2 hours. Nice even pavement. Warm fall day. Perfect. Northern end more woodsy but interesting in the more populated areas and towns as well. Would defiantly do it again.

beautiful Fall trail

The trail is wide, paved and well maintained. There are a number of street crossings but most are small country roads. The scenery’s is beautiful. Enjoy!

Thermal Belt.

Great ride. After the ride, Get a burger at Slims Bar and grill. Great local burger, staff and perfect country music. 114 North Powell Street, Forest City.

great first ride

I’m from Illinois and this is my first ride since moving to NC. I cannot stand and climb like I used to do to an injury so was nervous as this state is very mountainous and hilly. This trail challenged but did not kill me. A lot of road crossings but most were very clear and hardly messed with flow. Everyone polite and shared the trail. A good ride and I’ll be back.

Favorite Rail Trail in Western NC

We love this trail - it is our “go-to” when we want to get a good ride and enjoy the area. The trail passes through a number of great towns that have wonderful places to stop and eat along the way. We typically park in Spindale, which is about the midpoint of the trail. There is plenty of free parking there and things to see after your ride.

Great Place to Learn

Took my wife, daughter and granddaughter for an afternoon ride. It is a great place to teach a new cyclist the “Rules of the Trail”, learn the inner workings of how to gear up and down, as well as seeing a range of wildlife, from turtles to Deer (momma and baby).

A Fun Ride

Is Spindale a great name for a trailhead town or what? We started there, went south to Forest City, then all the way north to Gilkey, finishing back in Spindale. This gave us the shady north section coming and going in the hottest part of the day. The nicest things about this trail were all the people who were using it, and the variety of people enjoying it. One of the smoothest trails I have ever ridden.

Great exercise

The very beginning in Gilkey, NC to Ruth, NC and then from Harris parking to Forest City are the bests parts of this 13.5 stretch of trail. The parts in middle are mostly Urban and I did see that the maintainers of the Rails to trail are working diligently trying to clean up some sections along with working with businesses along the trail to make it more appealing. We just need more business to step up and do their part. They have their work cut out for them just pass Spindale, NC to the Harris Street parking in Forest City, NC

Five star trail condition....4 stars scenery.

Great smooth wide trail. 5 big stars for trail condition. This is definitely more of an "urban trail", so those seeking nature will not be very pleased. Although the south end and north end is wooded, most of the trail is along a highway and then through a couple small towns. Very easy pleasant ride, with only a couple "dangerous" road crossings....(a couple of them are a bit blind).

Nice combination of urban/rural

Drove up to Spindale, NC from Greenville, SC to ride the Thermal Belt Trail. Well worth the drive! Rode from mile 9 up to mile 0, then back. Nice combination of urban and rural. Especially enjoyed the Bechtler Mint park around mile 2. Will definitely be back, and will ride all of it.

Great ride!

This was our first ride on a rail trail and we loved it. Not crowded at all, smooth surface and beautiful scenery.

Great Fitness Trail

We rode end to end and back yesterday on our tandem. It’s a very nicely done trail and the pavement is smooth as silk. It’s probably not a destination trail, but if you’re in the area, you don’t want to miss it. There are plenty of places to grab a drink or a bit to eat. There is a bike shop in Spindale. The at-grade crossings are plentiful in a few of the towns, but we still managed a decent pace and the crossings were well marked and safe.

Great trail, with 1 caveat

The Thermal Belt is a lovely trail, now with a smooth, 12' asphalt surface. It's the 2nd longest rail-trail in NC, after the American Tobacco Trail. The one caution: Be careful not to let your front wheel wander off the pavement. There's a 3" drop-off to loose gravel shoulders. Those shoulders slope away from the pavement. So your next destination is a ditch. If Rutherford County will build up the shoulders, then the Thermal Belt will become much safer.

Trail is marked open from dawn to dusk

Trail is marked open from dawn to dusk

Terrific trail!

This was our second trip to this trail. We parked at the Forrest Hunt Elementary School and traveled north to Gilkey. It's an extremely well-maintained, well-marked, smooth ride. The trail takes you through small towns and wooded areas offering welcome shade. We stopped at the Bechtler Mint Park where we met and chatted with the Trail Ambassador. Will definitely be riding this trail again and again!

Great Rail Trail

A must do. Very nice ride. Road crossings are well marked. Need to be extra careful crossing over Business 74 in Spindale. Like another reviewer noted, Spindale has a couple opportunities to stop and eat. Could be a bit more biker friendly by adding some bike racks on the main town road.

great, easy ride

Did the full length of the trail, 27 mi out and back, starting on the north end at Gilkey. Trail is smooth asphalt the entire way with benches and tool stations along the way. The people designing and implementing the trail have done an outstanding job. Now, the communities along the trail need to step up and recognize the benefits they have from this trail traffic. Little if any effort has been made to inform visitors of the restaurants or other establishments that are available to trail users. They need some appropriate and tasteful signage and access points so users can exit and get a bite to eat. They would do well to have some brewpubs or coffee shops right along the trail.

not scenic but pleasant

Not a scenic trail (such as along a river) but a smooth pleasant ride. Every mile and half-mile is marked and at every mile the pavement has what looks like a narrow gauge RR track imbedded in the pavement. There are many “road” crossings, most we simply needed to slow down rather than stop because there were entrance/driveways rather than true road crossings but all were clearly marked. Trail towns/restaurants could connect better by advertising what is close to the trail. It looks like Spindale is working to do that based on construction I saw. Lunch at Spin City Corner Cafe was excellent! But they are not open on weekends. Several others places were not open on Mondays. The trail does travel behind some rundown buildings but I never felt unsafe, I also was not riding solo. The 5 miles at the north end are rural/wooded and a bit hilly. The rest connects the 4 trail towns which kinda all run together.

great easy ride

Rode this for the first time dec 12. Weather was great and trail even better. Nice new blacktop and fairly wide. We started in Forest City so we could enjoy the lights at night. The only negative that keeps it from getting 5 stars is that there are many street crossing that are not marked. You have to cross 74 twice. Most drivers yielded to the bikes but you have to pay careful attention for those that don’t.

many crossings

The trail is paved and well maintained. My favorite is the northern part which is about 5 miles after that you have to deal with crossings and traffic lights. An elderly couple got an accident and the husband busted his head. Blood all over the road. We have to help the wife to go back to her car and lift her ebike. It needs a lot of concentration and need your attention coz there are few sections that are not smooth.

trail extremely well maintained

The trail was very well maintained with tool kiosks along the way. We did Forest City- spindale and return. I give the trail a 10. The scenery a 2. Mostly views of gas stations, fast food and ugly buildings.

Excellent Ride - Stop for lunch at Granny B’s!

We rode on a Saturday and thoroughly enjoyed the entire R/T ride starting from Gilkey. Granny B’s in Spindale made a great stop for killer sub sandwiches and baked goodies. Lots of restrooms and water on the entire route. Highly recommend for families too.

Nice & Easy

My wife & I rode the from the south starting point at Forest Hunt Elementary School to Gilkey & back. Beautiful 27 mile round trip ride. Smooth, paved & wide enough for us to ride mostly side by side. Highly recommend.

A Fantastic Trail

We rode this trail in early October on our way to Savannah, and it did not disappoint us. It was a great ride all the way around. The scenery was beautiful and the trail was very well maintained. I wish we lived closer to it.

A great find

On a Sunday midday we started at mile 0at Oak Sprngs Rd parking and rode to the 7 mile marker. There are portolets along the trail, bike repair stations with tools and air pumps, and historic interpretation sites. The trail was an ever so slight downhill grade from mile 0 to 7. Made a stop in Spindale at Barleys Brewery. This was a beautiful well kept trail. I highly recommend giving it a try.

Beautiful Trail

I wanted to get at least a 50 mile bike ride in and found the perfect trail to do so! I drove an hour and a half to ride this trail and it is so worth it! Beautiful area with plenty of shade and relatively flat as well.

Yee Haa!

Smooth clean pavement. Lottsa restaurants along the trail if you get hungry, we ate pulled pork at a BBQ joint in Spindale. Many road crossings, some at weird angles with a good bit of traffic. Use caution at crossings, some have vegetation up close to the intersection limiting sight lines. Enjoyed the Bechtler Gold Mine site.

One of Tops in NC

I would rate this a destination trail. Fresh asphalt great views of NC foothills. Rail Trail nice and flat for old guys like me..

A perfect gem!

My wife and I have ridden TBRT three times in the last three weekends. What an absolute gem! This trail is perfectly maintained with well marked intersections and mile markers. The towns along the way are real friendly folks who respect bikers. I cannot give too many accolades and compliments to the visionary people who created this trail. An easy ride and wonderful setting. Go ride it and see for yourself.

Great Ride

Ride the full length and back. Great scenery on the northern end. Quaint towns on the southern.

warm and welcoming

We had a wonderful time on the Thermal trail. A bear, 2 snakes and friendly bikers welcomed us. Some areas of shade have us rest from the sun. We will certainly ride again in the fall.

Fun day with the family

Easy ride for all ages of the family!

A Smooth Ride Through Small Towns

The trail was a pleasant discovery: newly minted and smooth asphalt all the way. Congrats to the folks who put this trail together. The northern 5 miles were my favorite with its rural feel and lengthy stretches without crossings. From there south there are numerous crossing. Those in the center of Spindale require a watchful eye and steady concentration.

Gem for Rutherford Co.

My family and I rode 2 days over the Thanksgiving holiday. The trail is paved like new with many convenient access points. Can’t wait to ride it again!

Cold November Saturday

I enjoyed a quiet ride on the Thermal Belt trail yesterday. When I parked at the parking area just off US74 (near mile marker 12.5) at 10:00am the lot was empty and so was the trail. By 2'ish when I returned the lot was half full with cyclist's vehicles.
A very pleasant semi-urban rail with lots of light industry and old textile plants. Not scenic like the Creeper but very interesting to ride. The trail is beautiful with a fresh macadam surface. Lots of street/road crossings but light traffic at most of them. The final mile south of US74 is not yet paved.
I rode the section from US74 to just past Spindale (and back) and wasn't disappointed. Will start for Rutherfordton and ride South next time just to see what I missed,
Thanks to those who added another rail trail accessible from Western NC.


Newly paved with asphalt and you can smell the new wood on the
bridges. Easy ride with long sloping hills, small towns and friendly people. Could use a rest room and more benches. To find a nice motel we drove back to Asheville NC. one of my favorite towns. I will ride this trail again !
Lattie Dockery

Nice For Novice

Finished 9 miles, not bad for someone who hasn’t road a bike in 25 years.

Nice long ride

The entire 12 mile trail is now paved! The path is wide and level. The only annoyances are the road crossings but they are well marked. One exception is a crossing in Spindale that is very busy and perhaps needs a new design. Other than that, very nice! I love the shaded sections!

Thermal Belt Rail-Trail..enjoyable

We wanted to try out this trail since we saw its beginnings in Spindale. Got on the trail near the 1 mile marker because we did not know how to get to the beginning...what intersection, etc. Parked near a church and rode our bikes to about MM 7 in Spindale. Wonderful experience. Love the grade, mostly level, but there are some places with very gradual uphill and down hill areas...but still easy for the two of us, both seniors and handle. This goes right through the town of Spindale alongside the main street, so if you need a rest, pull over and take a break there. We didn't have time to go the entire time!! Both shaded and in full sun at times...great views of the natural landscape north of Spindale. I recommend it highly.

Thermal Belt Rail Trail

Beautiful quiet trail especially during the week. The northern part near Gilky is more pastural than the southern half. There is no obvious trail head sign on northern trail entrance so you need to consult your GPS ahead of time to find it. There are no portapottys either on the northern part but if you go about a mile on the trail there is ‘johnny blue’ near the trail. Parking for about 20 cars are at the Gilky entrance.

Great Trail!

Rode the Thermal Belt Trail in December 2018. This is a great trail, newly-paved for 13+ miles. We have hybrids but you could ride road bikes with no problem. We parked at Bechtler Mint Site and rode to the bridge at Hwy. 74. Perfect surface. Crossed a few roads but they are not big or busy. In that space we traveled through a number of small towns: Ruth, Rutherfordton, Forest City, and Florence. The only drawback is that I prefer countryside scenery. But the trail itself is awesome, with additional improvements to come!

Great Trail!

Rode the Thermal Belt Trail in December 2018. This is a great trail, newly-paved for 13+ miles. We have hybrids but you could ride road bikes with no problem. We parked at Bechtler Mint Site and rode to the bridge at Hwy. 74. Perfect surface. Crossed a few roads but they are not big or busy. In that space we traveled through a number of small towns: Ruth, Rutherfordton, Forest City, and Florence. The only drawback is that I prefer countryside scenery. But the trail itself is awesome, with additional improvements to come!

Trail Complete

Paving is now complete from Forest City near the bridge over US 74 to Gilkey. Feel free to take your road bike!

nearly complete!

the last 4.8 miles are being prepared for paving! Active construction was seen and good progress being made. When it is complete, it will be over 12 miles of smooth, new pavement.

Paving today!

Crushed gravel surface from Forest City to Spindale to Ruth with asphalt pavers on the trail today laying down a new 12 ft wide asphalt surface! Nice snowcone stop on the trail at Serendipity Snowcones in Spindale. We parked at the library/gym.

Trail under construction

I like the trail location and I am sure it will be very nice when it is done but it is currently torn up for the whole length of the trail (the rail line ties and rails were dug up and the trail is not usable) in preparation for rebuilding it.

TOTALLY TORN UP and not usable!!

Went to trail and was surprised to find entire trail is in upgrade phase. All rails being pulled out and no warning or notice ANYWHERE!! I am hoping they will create a dry walking/biking path. Don't know the plans, but NOT the time to go there!!

Lovely trail

Lovely trail with some interesting points of interest along the way.

Getting better each time!

GREAT improvements to this trail, got to commend Rutherford Outdoor Coalition for their oversight & the Committee that helps guide the management for the future of the trail. New mile & 1/2 mile markers are great for those who want to keep up with their fitness goals. There are 4.5 miles of compacted gravel for hikers, runners, bikers & equestrians to be "in the country" and 3.5 miles (but more in the planning) of asphalt that access the more developed areas. Something for everyone and the BEST part is that its a project that the public can have input into & help make into their own!

Improved surface and Downtowns

Road this trail May 18 2016.The asphalt surface is now complete from Spindale to Ruth.New restaurants in Spindale and Rutherfordton were a welcome surprise as well a new brewery in Rutherfordton.Try the Firehouse Inn for a fun biking experience.Trail to be extended south from Spindale which will make this an enjoyable western Carolina ride.

Three stars for the effort.

This is a well-maintained easy trail. You have to applaud the town for making something of the right-of-way, but it is a 16 mile out-and-back devoid of any real "hook". No scenery, little history. Back yards of middle class America. There are plans for expansion. It is hard to justify going out of one's way for this one, but do it if you happen to be in the immediate area.

Nice mixed urban/country ride.

Roughest part of the trail was at the Eastern end in Spindale for a couple of blocks .. we thought the whole eight miles would be the same but were pleasantly surprised with the new asphalt and the hard pack stone. The Bechtel Historical Park is a great stop and addition to the trail.

Nice trail

Began our ride at 8 AM at the beginning of the paved section. The paved section is about 2 miles and is only 4 to 5 feet wide. There were walkers on the paved section and all seemed deaf. On a narrow trail, it is hard to get by walkers who don't acknowledge you are there. Once we got to the packed gravel section, we only saw 1 bicyclist and zero walkers. Pleasantly surprised to visit the remains of the gold mine.
The trip was 7.1 miles long. We did enjoy the ride and have hopes it may eventually be lengthened.

Ok for a short ride

I like this trail. Starts in downtown spindale and ends by some lumber mill. It would be fabulous if they could buy up more right of way and continue it in both directions to make it an epic trail!


This trail has great potential, the town and surrounding towns are charming. The trail itself is beautiful country, a mix of shaded forest and township. We stopped at the Gilboa Methodist Church, founded in 1820 and were treated to a short tour by the caretaker.
My family and I rode the trail a few years ago and noticed there was improvement in the packed gravel section; however, there are clearly missed opportunities for tourism. One person stopped us on Main St. asking where we were going because she lives in Rutherfordton and drives to Cowpens to ride her bike. She didn't know the trail was there. Also, on our first visit we asked locals where the trail started and they didn't know. I would think there would be signs both on the highway advertising, and in town pointing out the trail.
On the trail itself there are no markers. I rode by the McDonalds and didn't even see it until I was coming back through from the other direction. There was only one store on the trail and they did not have a public restroom. The store itself was clean and well stocked with refreshments. The trail itself needs attention.
In my opinion, the trail needs better maintenance and security. My hope is that the people of Spindale would see how much tourism could be drawn to this area if the the trail was more inviting, properly maintained, and regularly patrolled.
We look forward to seeing improvements on the trail as is it is developed.

nice ride

Trail surface varies from grass to rough gravel to packed gravel. At the roughest places there are roads beside the trail that are safe (little traveled). Much of the trail is shaded. There are a couple of long hills going south, but all easily do-able with a single-speed bike. Would NOT recommend it for street bikes, but hybrids and balloon-tired bikes will handle it quite well. There is parking beside the south end of the trail and a number of places along the route once you are familiar with the area. We drove 90 minutes to get to this trail and will return.

Horse back Riding the rail trail

I live within a few miles of this trail & its very convenient for a quick trip on my horse. I can park & ride 6 miles or so each way (limited trailer parking but there are a few spots). It is not heavily used.

Great ride through the country.

I ride this trail 30-40 times a year, it's compacted gravel, and I agree not the best for a hybrid. I use a 29" MTB and love it!
Long gentle slopes, challenging without having to kill yourself. Clean now, except directly behind the McDonald's lot - what can you do?
Park downtown on the lower lot (you'll see it) and start your ride. the downtown section is soon to be resurfaced with a compacted gravel/asphalt blend, looking forward to that!
No real posted way points, here's a few round trip miles for reference: Downtown Spindale to Hwy 64 crossing and back, 4.5 miles. Downtown Spindale to the Doncaster-Tanner complex and back, 6 miles. Downtown Spindale to the Broyhill Road intersection and back, 8.5 miles. Downtown Spindale to the old Bechtler Gold Mine and back, 10 miles. Downtown to the back gate of Gilkey Lumber and back, 14.2 Miles.
People used to the nice paved trails near metropolitan areas will find different challenges, but the scenic ride landscapes are worth the effort. Easy to moderate difficulty, allow an hour and a quarter to hour 45 for the round trip.

Okay, but not exceptional

On an August 6th, 2013, daytrip from Lake Lure. I enjoyed the trail. Not well marked. The trail near Main Street in Springdale is gravel and grass. Very flat.

Let down

This trail is barely marked and poorly maintained. I parked along Main St. and picked up the trail heading from Spindale to Gilkey. After a short ride out of town the trail travels behind residential and commercial properties. There was a great deal of garbage and empty beer bottles along the trail. Sections of the trail were overgrown but passable. The trail ended abruptly in Gilkey with no markers indicating such. I was the only one on this trail riding it from one end to the other and back. Would not recommend this trail be travelled alone. Will not ride this trail again.

great trail for training run

Ran on the Thermal Belt Trail today as part of my training for a marathon. As another reviewer noted, the section north from Ruth is quieter and less trafficky, but waits at road crossings were no more than minor pauses. I'll have to come back for other seasons--it was lovely to see the mountains through the barren treetops, but I'm wondering how it is in spring with the budding, summer with the full leaf, and fall with the blazing color.

The drive from Hendersonville (via 64) is also quite nice. In warmer weather I'll stop and swim at Lake Lure or Chimney Rock.

I did think it was kind of odd that signage at road crossings was minimal/nonexistant. Seems like the local C of Cs would want to play up that they have this kind of thing right there for the using.

Good trail

This trail is a good trail, the conditions are better, the gravel is better than a couple of years ago, mainly because the inventors on this trail, used big gravel, hopefully one day someone in Rutherfordton, NC will paved some parts of this trail, and maintain the trail on a full time basis. As a local, i use this trail, and it is good training trail for running, the trail is better from Hwy 64 at Ruth, to the end at Gilkey Lumber Company, it is peaceful and the scenery is better there than the first mile or two at the start in Spindale which is more business, and you have to deal with crossing traffic at cross walks of the trail.


I rode this trail in April and the condition of the trail was in poor shape. There wasn't many others using the trail. I rode on a hybrid and it was rough going. I may ride it again but it is not high on my list of rides.

Not worth gas to drive from Asheville

I rode this trail May 29, 2010
After riding most of the rails/trails in the southeastern U.S. states I was very disappointed in this one.
There are larger stones that don't do well with hybrid bikes. The grass was all grown up, street crossings aren't very safe and it runs close to the road where you get more traffic noise than the sound of wildlife. I guess it's better than riding on the road; but it needs something better before I would bother to come back.
Susan K.

Good cruisin'

My wife and I rode the trail on a Sunday morning - early afternoon. We were the only bikes on the trail which I found hard to believe because it's a great ride. Yes, it is flat but we have been riding the Blue Ridge Parkway for the last few weeks (including some snow time) so we found it a very pleasant change. It is a great trail to make adjustments on your bike and to experiment with gear combinations. If you miss a shift you don't fall off the mountain or loose you momentum. Take the ride on a day when you're not sure if you want to ride or not. You'll be pleased.

I rode this trail today...

Very flat trail, easy to ride with a mountain bike.
There is a quaint church on the trail to stop and eat lunch.
I parked in a church parking lot right across from the trail.

Beautiful Day, Great ride!

I have lived in Rutherford County for most of my life and always traveled outside of the county to ride my mountain bikes. One day I decided to give the RT a try and really enjoyed it, it was well maintained for the most part (when you cross over Hwy 64. there is a patch of Kudzu that is trying to reclaim the trail, and there are a few spots where ATV’s have damaged the trail). Once you leave Spindale and cross over Hwy.64 it becomes quiet and has some nice vistas. This is a great ride for riders of all skill levels, especially family rides.

Nice ride!

A friend of mine and I rode this trail today. Overall a great experience! Only complaint was the roughness. Large gravel made for a rough ride in places ( this won't be an issue if you have a good mountain bike with shock absorption ). Other parts of the trail are quite smooth. There were no roots or downed trees to deal with. There are a couple of places where a rail protrudes from the ground so you have to be careful there. Being mostly through wooded areas, with only an occassional glimpse of the highway or a house along the way, the trail is great if you want to "get away". There are some great views of the surrounding mountains and countryside, and plenty of muscadines to snack on! We encountered only a handful of people, perhaps because it was a weekday. The trail begins in Spindale, and goes through the town of Ruth, which provides the opportunity to take a meal break if you need to. In town, be careful to look before crossing where the trail crosses the road. The length of 8 miles and relatively level grade is ideal if you want a good day bike ride without riding a marathon. I will definitlely ride this trail again!

So Promising

"The route is so promising, but the city parts need maintenance. The surface there is quite rough, and the kudzu threatens to cover the trail in spots. Litter and homeless camps dominate the Spindale leg. On the positive side, the bluebird houses are nice, and the Overmountain Route signs are inspiring."

Brief but fun visit

"I finished up nice October mountain trip by riding a couple of miles of this trail, has good surface and very nice scenery. Was pleasantly surprised on Sunday afternoon by deputy sherrif riding the trail in his patrol car, we chatted, he was very nice! Pretty safe I would say!"

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