The Emerald Outback is a network of nine named trails, two grassy roads, a gravel bailout road and a mountain bike skills area. The trails are designed with both hikers and bikers in mind. For bikers, these offer some of the best flowing single- and double-track trails in North Carolina. Here are descriptions of some trails ...
OZ FOREST RUN
(Length: 1 mile; Rating: easy)
Oz Forest Run (biking) -
Jump on to this trail immediately from the Emerald Outback Summit Lot. It is single track that provides a great warmup and also includes the Roan Mountain Overlook. Full of rock jumps, berms and multiple line choices. A fun, fast, easy ride through the forest … just a preview of all the amazing stuff to come on the Emerald Outback.
Oz Forest Run (hiking)
- Directly from the Emerald Outback Summit Lot you will start on the Oz Forest Run. It leads you to one of the most magnificent views of Roan Mountain. During winter months, this trail has multiple spots to view long range mountain vistas. An easy hike with bailouts to the parking lot, this is trail is great for the beginner and fun for families.
(Length: 0.28 miles; Rating: easy)
Wizard's Way (biking)
- Running out of daylight or just want a quick lap? Use this trail to create a short and quick ride through Oz Forest Run. This newly designed trail is a fast, smooth, rolling path that brings you to the gravel bailout road for quick access back to the parking lot or shoot across the street and continue by choosing either Jackalope’s Trail or Southern Ridge Trail.
Wizard's Way (hiking)
- This connecting trail helps complete a loop from Oz Forest Run back to the Emerald Outback Summit Lot. It is also a shortcut to bypass the Roan Mountain Overlook and head directly to the Southern Ridge Trail and three other magnificent overlooks.
(Length: 1.3 miles; Rating: advanced)
Southern Ridge (biking)
- The preferred direction while biking is to go from top of the gravel road, down the trail. The trail offers plenty of steep switchbacks, rolling rocks, and technical climbs.
This route is a challenge for both the intermediate and advanced rider due to steep grades and unpredictable terrain. Don’t forget to take a break at one of three amazing overlooks.
Southern Ridge (hiking)
- One of the most strenuous on the Emerald Outback, this trail delights those interested in rock formations. There are many places to take photos, including three amazing overlooks you won’t want to miss. Don’t miss the Elk River Valley, Awesome Oz and Pride Rock overlooks.
(Length 0.5 miles; Rating: easy)
- A nice, open gradual ride that meanders through lush Beech Mountain forests. Great connector trail for beginning bikers linking Oz Forest Run via the gravel road to Chamberlin’s Loop or to the top of Southern Ridge Trail.
- Northview is full of interesting vegetation, including the “Tree of Life” growing on top of a boulder the size of a car. A gentle trail with open vistas and room for hiking groups. Travel quietly and you may witness deer grazing.
(Length: 1.3 miles; Rating: moderate to advanced)
Jackalope’s Trail (biking)
- This is the trail that’s started it all, Jackalopes is the oldest trail on the Emerald Outback, and still one of the nicest with several challenges and fun times ahead. One of the Emerald Outback’s tighter single track trails, punctuated with rocks, roots and water crossings. This is a great option for those looking to improve skills. This is a moderate to advanced trail.
Jackalope's Trail (hiking)
- The oldest in the Emerald Outback trail system, Jackalope's features a nice, moderate walk and crosses a small creek via a wooden bridge. This trail creates easy access to many other trails within the Emerald Outback, and quick access back to the parking lot.
(Length: 0.85 miles; Rating: easy to moderate)
Grassy Loop (biking & hiking)
– This beginner-friendly trail was built from two old fire roads. It is mostly flat, wide terrain easy for both hiking and biking. The only difficulty occurs if hiking/biking from the eastern section of the loop up to the western part. In that case, there is a decent amount of incline at the power lines. The loop is partially secluded in the woods and partially open with nice vistas near the power lines.
MOUNTAIN BIKE SKILLS AREA
The skills area is located close to the Summit Parking Lot. It is designed to help riders progress all the way from easy, low-level features to elevated wooden “skinnies.” Several obstacles allow riders to advance their skills in all areas of mountain biking. The location near the parking lot makes it easy for riders to warm up before hitting the trails, or make a few laps at the end of their ride.
OTHER TRAIL OPTIONS:
Bailout Gravel Road – This old fireroad was reclaimed for the Emerald Outback. Its name describes its purpose. It provides open, beginner-friendly terrain with mostly gentle elevation changes (except for one big climb). There are number of trail spurs to your right and left. Bailout Gravel Road is roughly one mile in length (one way).
Hiker on the Roan Mountain Overlook