There's a three-plus mile mountain biking trail tucked away here in Lenoir. It's a great place to learn how to ride, and it's just a few miles from downtown.
The Zacks Fork Mountain Biking Trail is located in the wooded area around the Lenoir Aquatic & Fitness Center. The trail is purpose built for mountain bikes, but all users are welcome to use the trail. Most riders access the trail from the northeastern parking lot at the Lenoir Rotary Soccer Complex located at the following GPS coordinates, 35.943081, -81.521933.
A group of local residents and business owners built the trail about eight years ago. Local resident Shawn Moore was instrumental in the project. Moore and his friend/business partner used to run Luna Cycles in Downtown Lenoir. One day, his friend said locals needed a mountain biking trail where they could learn the ropes.
"We were selling all these mountain bikes, and people were just riding them on the greenway," Moore said. "The trails in the Wilson Creek area are really advanced, so my friend said, 'We need to build a trail for beginners.' It took about a year to raise the money, about $35,000 through a variety of grants."
City Planner Hannah Williams took a ride on the Zacks Fork trail earlier this year.
Moore worked with City of Lenoir staff to find a good location for the trail - in the woods around the Aquatic Center. The group hired a professional trail designer to design the route, and then they hired someone to rough cut the main route. Moore and his group then put the finishing touches on the trail.
The main loop at the Zacks Fork trail is designed for beginners. All a rider needs is a mountain bike and a helmet. The loop is about 3.25 miles. Moore said it might take 45 minutes to an hour the first time a rider tries the trail.
"It really depends on your experience," Moore said. "Some people will pedal the inclines, others will get off and walk uphill, which is fine. When you're mountain biking, eventually you'll be walking your bike."
Moore and a group of locals have maintained and improved the trail during the past eight years. They have identified problem areas and places that are prone to damage and reinforced those sections. The goal is for the trail to always be open.
"It’s a little bit more work on our end, but it creates a more sustainable trail," Moore said.
Click the following link to visit the Zacks Fork MTB page and read the trail rules, www.cityoflenoir.com/zacksforkmtb. Visit the Zacks Fork page on Trailforks for maps and trail status updates.
A group of mountain bikers gather in the parking lot at the Lenoir Rotary Soccer Complex before heading to the Zacks Fork Mountain Biking Trail.
A mountain biker rides toward the Zacks Fork Mountain Biking Trail.