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Thermal Belt Rail Trail is a 12.5 mile moderately trafficked point-to-point trail located near Forest City, North Carolina that features beautiful wild flowers and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length 12.5 mi Elevation gain 364 ft Route type Point to Point

Dogs on leash

Wheelchair friendly

Kid friendly

Stroller friendly

Hiking

Road biking

Walking

Bird watching

Running

Forest

Paved

Rails trails

Views

Wild flowers

Wildlife

City walk

Historic site

Description
Waypoints (0)

12-feet wide paved rail trail. Will be 13.2 miles long when fully completed. As of March 2019 there are 12 miles paved. The final 1.2 miles are expected to be done later in 2019. Trail goes from Gilkey to Forest City. Well maintained. Great for biking, walking and running. Family Friendly. Connects five communities. Great small town main streets.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (53)
Photos (10)
Recordings (45)
Completed (54)
Matt Lucarelli
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon May 25 2020
Road biking

Great ride for the whole family from Gilkey down to Rutherfordton and back. Looking forward to checking out the rest one day.

John Tolin
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon May 25 2020
Road biking

First time riding this trail. Very well maintained. Super clean. Very wide, room for everyone. We made the drive from almost an hour and and a half away and glad we did.

Connie W.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarTue May 12 2020

Great place to ride bikes with the family. Paved trail with several access points.

Brooke Ledbetter
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri May 01 2020
Hiking

I bike and run this trail almost daily. From the start in Gilkey to the end at Forrest Hunt Elementary it is 13.58 miles. The entire length of the trail is paved and 12ft wide. There are many places to access the trail and park along the way. At mile marker 11 you are in the town of Forest City and within walking distance to shops, restaurants, and the Pavilion for outdoor entertainment. Also at this mile marker there are picnic tables, slides for kids and an adult exercise area completed, with a dog park set to open soon. The Forest City end of the trail seems more crowded in the late afternoons with families out exercising. The Gilkey end is usually a more peaceful ride in a less populated area. I really enjoy seeing so many people out enjoying this trail connecting all of these small towns.

Kailee Guth
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Apr 18 2020
Hiking

Great ride for the bikes! Thank you for not closing due to the virus.

Stephen Williams
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarTue Feb 04 2020
Walking

This trail is now complete, a new and beautifully paved 13.1 mile stretch which offers easy, level walking, running or biking through three communities and some rural, wooded areas. High points include access to Forest City's new dog park and excellent entertainment amphitheater, lot's of dining choices, several bike repair stations, exercise station, water fountain/refill kiosk and even the historic Bechtler gold mine site. There are several parking areas, road crossings are well marked, several shady stretches and nicely done bridges enhance the experience. Bring the kids. this one is super family friendly, uncrowded and effortless.

Michele Patterson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon Nov 04 2019
Road biking

Great bike trail

Lisa Jenkins
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Nov 02 2019
Mountain biking

Very nice, easy riding trail. There are multiple street crossings on this section. Great trail.

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Sheree Crosby
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Sep 29 2019
Road biking

enjoyable easy ride. we accessed the trail at mile marker 7 in Spindale and headed south until pavement ends at the 13 mile marker. then trail becomes large gravel. we recommend accessing this trail at the northern end (more picturesque and woodsy) in Gilkey at the corner of US221 and Oak Springs Road. if you map the Gilkey Church of God, 255 Oak Springs Road, Rutherfordton, NC 28139 you will see parking on corner.

Terry Blake
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarWed Sep 25 2019
Road biking

Very good track for endurance training and patience when you consider the trail crosses several main roads and there could be considerable wait time

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Ronald Cooper
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarFri May 24 2019

I have ridden this trail several times, rode it out and back once. it is a bit over 13 miles in one direction. most of it is paved in blacktop. the trail had a lot of tree cover. there is a punt of interest about 2.5 miles from the start of the trail at Gilkey lumber, there is a gold mine called Bechtler Mint Site gold mine. it's pretty interesting it's a self guided site there is no fee, it only takes a few minutes to walk the site.

Andrew Cox
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarTue Mar 13 2018

When last I did it it was from spindale to the lumber mill in Gilkey, so about what this shows. very fun trail for biking. Pretty good amount of traffic but nice serene environment in some points and a small town historic feel through others. It's a good walk if you're looking for a walking trail, but if you want real hiking you might be a bit bored

Mark Snyder
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Nov 26 2017
Running

Not sure why this is a moderate trail. The trail is flat with some gain as you head N out of Ruth into Rutherfordton! By the fall of 2018, the trail will measure around 13.1+ one way. Start in Spindale and head north to access the best sections of the trail.

Michael (Sambo) Bussell
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarThu Oct 05 2017
Mountain biking

Nice trail 1st part packed gravel then paved then gravel 2nd gravel part kind of rough in spots

Ben Eddy
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Jul 12 2020
Bike touring
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Dora Sprague
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarTue Jul 07 2020
Hiking
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Brad P.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Jun 26 2020
Hiking
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Sammy Hardin
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarThu Jun 18 2020
Hiking
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Stephen Schwarz
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Jun 13 2020
Hiking
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Brian Tuskey
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarWed Jun 10 2020
Hiking
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Patrick King
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarWed Jun 03 2020
Hiking
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Brian Crandall
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSat May 30 2020
Hiking
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Toni Recinos
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarThu May 28 2020
Hiking
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Rita Schwarz
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat May 23 2020
Hiking
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Stephen Schwarz
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSat May 23 2020
Hiking
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Sydney Brown
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat May 09 2020
Road biking
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Emily VanBuren
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarThu May 07 2020
Road biking
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Renee Barrett
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarWed May 06 2020
Hiking
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Emily VanBuren
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon May 04 2020
Road biking
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Kevin Jennings
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Apr 26 2020
Hiking
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