Roller Coaster to Main Loop to Big Lake Loop

moderate 151 reviews

Roller Coaster to Main Loop to Big Lake Loop is a 8.8 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Charlotte, North Carolina that features a great forest setting and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 8.8 miles Elevation Gain: 528 feet Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash


mountain biking

nature trips


bird watching




This is a clockwise loop of singletrack trails. Great for geared XC bikes and single-speed.

mountain biking
1 month ago

A good trail for MTB. Overall it is well kept and provides a moderate challenge for a beginner- to-immediate level biker. Mixed terrain: branches, hills, rocks. Nice views, peaceful woods. You will come across those walking the path, but there’s room to either pull off or for them to step to the side. Just remember biking etiquette and the trail is fun and pleasant.

Visited Sherman Branch Nature Preserve for an early morning fall hike today. Sherman Oaks has (3) separate biking/hiking treks within the park, totaling over 11 miles. This is a Mecklenburg County Park and the trails are primarily maintained by the local Tarheel Trailblazers Organization. The trails are scenic and well maintained. The treks are mainly used by local mountain biking enthusiasts but you will run into many of the locals getting a hike in also. I usually hike the trails counterclockwise so I can keep an eye on oncoming bikers. This can be a long trail depending on which trek(s) you decide to navigate. I ended up doing 6 1/2 miles, skipping the Rollercoaster portion and felt like it was a good hike, I came across a few of the locals while out … some biking, others hiking or running their dogs. Dogs are allowed in the park but must be on leash. You’ll pass a few ponds while out on the trail which makes the walk even more scenic. If you’re looking for a fairly moderate hike with some inclines throughout, this is a great place to do it. I mountain biked here before and have found the trails very challenging. Lots of curves, hills, and dips so be careful especially your first time. Overall, this is a nice hike for the enthusiast but can become a bit challenging for beginners. The main trail is lightly marked with yellow blazes and the biking trails are marked with numbered placards. You can easily do 15 miles if you miss a turn, so don’t go too far out if you can’t make it back. Trails are closed during rain and a few days after as a safety precaution. There are also (2) Porta-Pottys in the parking lot at the beginning of the trail. Great hike on a beautiful fall day ... if you live anywhere within 20 miles of this park, it’ll be worth the trip. See you on the trails !

2 months ago

Dec 01, 2019 at 9am the entrance was locked and unable to hike. It was a rainy morning and after reading reviews appears to be more mountain bike oriented. New trails, new adventures!

3 months ago

There were mainly bikers on this trail that didn't tell me they were passing. also the trail map doesn't match the new trail marker colors. It was nice scenery though and saw lots of birds.

5 months ago

This trail is narrow and there is not much room for bicycle/hiking interactions. Hikers need to be aware of their surroundings to be able to yield to bikes. Someone recommended walking opposite to the bike traffic but I think that could be more dangerous in some parts of the park. I will definitely hike again during the week, I would not hike this trail on a weekend with a ton of cyclists! Enjoy!

Nice short hour. 30 min ride

mountain biking
9 months ago

Lots of fun. I'm a beginner and I went with another beginner. We will definitely be going back.

10 months ago

Great trail... definitely a lot of mtb and not much animal sighting but well kept and great for an afternoon walk

10 months ago

this is for bikes not hiking.

mountain biking
Thu Jan 17 2019

Wed Dec 26 2018

I go here with family members whenever I've visiting the Charlotte area. A very pleasant, heavily forested network of trails that allows for multiple combinations and new options each visit. Take note of the recommendation at the trailheads: hikers and runners ought to travel the opposite direction of the mountain bikers so there aren't any surprises. If followed accordingly, the bikers should not be much of an issue. This is not an entirely flat series of trails, so if you are looking for some elevation gain in your hike or trail run this offers some variation. You might be disappointed to find the trails closed after a recent downpour, due to mud. This affects the mountain biking trail quality, rendering it impossible, however I don't think it necessarily makes a hike too difficult. IMO the trails should always remain open to hikers.

mountain biking
Thu Nov 22 2018

Great flow and good length with options to tailor the trail to your level of riding. Don’t recommend hiking here - dominated by fast mountain bikers.

mountain biking
Sun Nov 04 2018

Great flow!!

mountain biking
Sun Aug 26 2018

love it

Tue Jul 31 2018

it's fun and large enough you can spend most of the day.

Fri Jun 29 2018

Great trail , has a nice flow.

Tue May 15 2018

Easy trail. Dominated by mtb

Wed May 09 2018

Good trail only reason I am giving 4 stars is the back section by the lake is not that well marked. Got lost trying to figure out the trail back there. Just needs more markings or signs. Fast trail not much traffic at least when I was there.

Sat May 05 2018

Fun fast intermediate trail, and good challenging beginner trail. Great ride without having to travel to the mountains.

mountain biking
Thu May 03 2018

Excellent trail. Several options mid trail as well as dozens of jumps. Highly recommended!

Fri Apr 13 2018

Good Hike was great with The Family

Tue Apr 03 2018

Had a great time. A little more for MTB but still a good workout.

mountain biking
Mon Mar 26 2018

Great trial with optional loops like the rollercoaster and lake loops.

mountain biking
Wed Jun 14 2017

This is my new favorite MTB trail. A local employee at a bike shop near by recommended this trail to me. It was a blast, I mainlu rode the "yellow" trail. Which was near a total of 7 miles, i didnt ride the whole yellow trail due to time (if you need to get back to the parking area and dont want to go through the whole trail, take the emergency exit, or the red trail). Even though this trail was over an hour from where i live, it is deffinitly worth the drive. i recommend having some experience with MTB before riding this trail. Also very well maintained and marked! there are also jumps and obstacles that may be difficult for some people, so if you dont want to do it, there are small trails that go around the obstacles.

Sat Jun 03 2017

Great park for speed ride

mountain biking
Wed Mar 01 2017

One of my favorite places to Mtn bike in Charlotte area

Sun Jan 15 2017


Sun Nov 06 2016

Good for cycling, jogging, walking. No baby strollers.

Sat Oct 29 2016

very challenging but lots of fun!

Sat Oct 22 2016

Very fun ride! Not too easy, but still a great workout

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