U.S. National Whitewater Center Loop

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U.S. National Whitewater Center

U.S. National Whitewater Center Loop is a 8.7 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Charlotte, North Carolina that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, running, nature trips, and mountain biking and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 8.7 miles Elevation Gain: 659 feet Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash


mountain biking

nature trips






wild flowers



Note: There is a $6 entry fee at the gate. This loop combines the best of the US National Whitewater Center. It combines the North Main Loop, South Main Loop, Carpet Loop, and Lake Loop.

mountain biking
3 days ago

The only trail open at the time I visited, was a 3.5 mile. It was a lite workout. Can’t wait to experience the other trails

mountain biking
1 month ago

mountain biking
1 month ago

There are no less than 24 trails here at the US National Whitewater Center. I completed approximately 12 miles of the hiking trails, looping in and out of separate treks. I would suggest you download the map prior to heading out ... there’s over 45 miles of trail to explore. Trails aren’t marked as well as they could be, so be conscious when out exploring. Trails are “common” so you will see mountain bikers, pets, hikers and trail runners using the same trails. I always make an effort to travel towards bikers so I can quickly navigate an escape. Be courteous and just move to the right, your efforts will be appreciated. I always enjoy water views so I made it a point to explore the Lake Trail outlining the Catawba River. The trails are challenging and rated moderate to difficult and you’ll feel the burn when you’re done. This place is Adventure Wonderland, everything from mountain biking, rock climbing, zip line, kayaking and also new this year ... an ice skating rink! Love it here, definitely my favorite place to explore all four seasons. There’s a $6 entrance fee and parking is plentiful ... even on busy weekends. If you live in or near the Charlotte area and like adventure, consider their annual membership pass ... it’ll save you some cash. I paused this trail recording several times to capture some images, so the stats may be a little off. Great, Fun Day overall !!!

Excellent variety of trails, beware of bikers though! Did North and south loops, of note was the “toilet bowl” side loop in the south loop- recommend!

mountain biking
8 months ago

Visited in Sept. 2019. Parking is a reasonable $6 for all day (it’s a nonprofit org. that supports & trains our national whitewater athletes so don’t be so chintzy). $30 to rent one of their bikes or BYOB (Bring Your Own Bike) for free. Only $59 for an adult day pass for all activities (zip lines, climbing walls, rope courses, whitewater rafting, flat & whitewater kayaking & front suspension bike- full suspension bikes are an extra upgrade). Over 40 miles of hiking/ biking trails from easy to advanced. I did a few of the easy trails (Lake Loop, Jack rabbit, Carolina Thread) and two of the intermediate trails (North Main & Academy). I completed the North Main cautiously but the Academy trail was (for me) a little too steep, leaf-covered with root-filled switchbacks and drops and I had to walk my bike on several stretches. I’m fairly new to mountain biking so your results may vary. I went mid week and it wasn’t very crowded on the trails. The trails are well shaded.

Wed Apr 24 2019

Great well established trail system. Path has been beaten by runners, mountain bikers, and hikers. The handful of people I encountered on the trails throughout the day were polite patrons. Restrooms, cool outdoor shop, nice restaurant at center of park makes great pit stop area that trails loop back to and enjoyable spot for post-run food/beer. Trails: winding, rolling hills, sticks, rocks, roots, bugs, snake, lizards, red cardinal, big white crane, and after over 11 miles only one muddy patch I was able to hop around. Nice weather today. Would avoid on a rainy day, as it would likely be a muddy mess. Trails mostly shaded but some areas break out into the open, which was a nice mix. Hills, rocks, and roots could cause injury, so be cautious. However, those rocks and roots create a quality training ground for serious trail runners in the area.

Thu Apr 04 2019

Hiked East Mile trail. Nice 5.7 mile trail. Evident it is primarily for mountain bikers as the last two miles are a bit switchback intense for hiking.

Thu Nov 08 2018

For a $6 parking fee you have access to flat and well-maintained trails with an average amount of roots and stones to navigate as you pass through forest. The Lake Trail features several undeveloped ponds and is well demarcated. We had a blast mountain biking but trails are ho-hum for hiking. As others have noted, everyone on the trail was respectful so please follow suit. There are plenty of bathroom facilities on site and a top-notch restaurant. Climbing ropes are a short stroll from the restaurant if your kids still have energy to burn (of course, ours did). For a fee you can Zipline or try the 100ft drop in fair weather. in summer months, you can free climb the climbing wall suspended over a deep pool or brave white water in kayaks. You can also attend free concerts here.

Wed Jul 25 2018

It was last year when my friend and I rode the mountain bike trail.,It was our first time on a mountain bike but a look workout and loads of fun.

Sat Jul 07 2018

Good day out on the trail. Closed to bikes because of the rain so nice hike.

Sun Jun 10 2018

Good training spot if you work on this side of Charlotte. During Summer, there are snakes in the middle of the trail sometimes.

mountain biking
Tue May 29 2018

I’m new to riding and stuck to the moderate trails. The trails were well maintained with a nice mix of hills, narrow spots, switchbacks, river views, etc. $6 to park and is a steal. Be sure to check their website before going as the trails are sometimes closed after rain. I will be going back.

mountain biking
Sun May 27 2018

I absolutely love riding at the whitewater center. These trails never bore me, even though I’m pretty sure I’ve covered almost every square inch of them by now. They do a great job of keeping them maintained and there’s nothing nicer to come off a great ride and grab a tall boy afterwards and sit by the water or stay a little later and listen to the live music.

Thu May 24 2018

Best place for trail running

Fri May 11 2018

$6 entry fee at the gate fully worth it. My Husband and I hiked the 3 mile green trail today. Lots of mountain bikers but all were respectful. We would move to the side to let them pass. Beautiful views and moderate hiking. Would do it every week if we were local. We highly recommend it. Good shoes and water a must!

mountain biking
Sat May 05 2018

Good intermediate trail and practice for some more challenging mountain rides. well maintained nice ride.

mountain biking
Tue Apr 10 2018

First there is more like 30 miles of trail built for mountainbiking. There are harder and easier trails as is is broken down by loop name. These trails existed before the WWC took over and were built by the Tarheel Trail Blazers Mountain Bike club. The WWC has improved the trails and added miles. Hiking and running allowed but don't wear headphones on mountainbike trails and keep in mind who built them, mountainbikers.

Mon Apr 02 2018

North main trail wasn't crowded, with beautiful views of the Catawba. Cross the little shaky bridge and walk left for a sweet little spot to sit on the rocks and enjoy the river view :)

Wed Mar 14 2018

it's a nice place but the $6 parking fee is ridiculous.

Wed Feb 21 2018

the trail I went on was definitely made for mountain bikes but I was fortunate to be the only one out there. crazy awesome place to trail run.

Wed Sep 20 2017

Great venue! You can spend all day there having a blast. The extensive running and biking trails are well kept and challenging. Traffic is heavy on the weekends, but a def spot to check out.

Tue Sep 19 2017

What a fun place to enjoy the entire day. We went on a Thursday and for the second whitewater trip we did a big water class 4. ZIp lines and multiple ropes coarse were awesome!

Mon Sep 11 2017

I would rate the trails higher, but can't. The USNWC may say the trails are for hiking and biking, but the trails are too narrow for both activities. Also, mountain bikers don't give any warning when they're coming up from behind to hikers or slower bikers. They just hope you hear them and get out of the way, which is hard to do on narrow trails or if you have headphones on. USNWC either needs to designate some trails are for mountain bikes and others are for hiking, make the trails wider (which I know is expensive and hard to do), or put up signs telling bikers to give warnings. I was nearly ran over by several mtn bikers the other day, b/c they gave no warnings. Luckily, I heard them before it was too late.

Mon Jul 31 2017

Awesome day out with the family. Tracks were well groomed. The amount of mountain bikes was a bit of a minus because we have small kids, and saw one cyclist almost hit another family. :/ This is expected though, as the trails are marked for mixed use, and will not deter us from going again. The other small ding, was that the loopier trail was not clearly marked on all the forks. Otherwise, worth the 45 minute drive, and we will be back. (As a side, can't wait to get a babysitter, so we can try the other activities as well)

mountain biking
Fri Jul 14 2017

The Whitewater Center has a bunch of mountain biking trails to choose from ranging from beginner to expert. You only have to pay the parking fee and can roam on any of the trails you want for as long as you want. The trails are relatively smooth and fast with parts going in and out of the surrounding wooded areas. Really great place!

Thu Jul 13 2017

must do trail in charlotte

Tue Jun 20 2017

huge assortment of trails, plus everything else the white water center has to offer. You can easily spend a day hiking and rafting and have it fly by.

Mon Jun 19 2017

Nice trail, moderate as they say. I went the morning after a good rain ... trails were wet in spots and moist most of the trail, except for the sunny spots. Trails are heavily traveled and well marked. Nice upward elevations 3 miles in and throughout the hike. I think I measured 614 feet in elevation ... nice hike. I saw a couple of mountain bikers ... thought I was too wet for biking but oh well ... I didn't see anyone take a dive while out on the trail. The head of trail is adjacent to the Nat Whitewater Center, which has various activities going on. I haven't rode the water but thats next time : )

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