Published Somedays

History of the Blue Clay Trails

(updated: Feb 26, 2009)

In 2004 the director of NHCPR was approached by Cape Fear Cyclists (CFC) along with other bicycling enthusiasts about the possibility of creating a New Hanover County Park for mountain biking on land owned by New Hanover County on Juvenile Center Drive. The discussion was put on hold until completion of the detention center.

On October 2, 2006 the NHCPR Advisory Board adopted a motion to request that the Board of County Commissioners formally designate the property on Blue Clay Road for development as an adventure park site. The motion was unanimously approved by the Board of County Commissioners on 10/02/06. ( page 113-114

Upon approval of the 10/02/06 vote the Parks Department meet with interested parties to explore how best to develop the Park facility. Consideration was given to how partnerships with businesses and interest groups can contribute to the design and development of the park, including options for funding. CFC committed to provide assistance with planning, developing and funding the required improvements to the property.

CFC worked with the NHCPR, nearby landowners, and Law Enforcement (NHC Sheriff) to clean up the park, put up signs, and police the trails for unauthorized use.

On February 5, 2007 the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to approve the Blue Clay Park and to begin work on planned improvements. ( page 77

CFC has undertaken the task of planning, developing and funding the required improvements to the property.

In April of 2007 CFC received a grant for $9435 from "Bikes Belong" ( Other funds came from CFC and other businesses.

The task of continuing development of the park and diligent spending of funds (over $10,000 as of 2/09) has become the duty of the current vice president of CFC. A subcommittee of Cape Fear Cyclists has been created to advise the Vice President with issues concerning the park. The main task of this committee is to ensure the park is developed in accordance with the mission statement of Cape Fear Cyclists ( and the NHCPR plan. The committee is open to suggestions from any mountain biker that uses the Blue Clay Bicycle Park facility.


Update 12/17/2008

Added 1.6 mile beginner loop, with separate bridged entrance. Added pump track with BMX tables.

Update 9/14/2008

Parking lot complete. Added beginner trail. New map of trails created (see maps link below).

Update 1/9/2008

More trails have been added! The total trail length is now around 6 miles. Some of the old trail from years past was cleaned out and reworked and a new section was just added. They still need to be worked on so it will be a while before it's rideable. But if you're up to the challenge of grinding your way through soft ground it will help pack things down.

Update 6/5/2007

So the trails have been in great shape due to all the dry weather this spring. I don't know if that will change during hurricane season, so we'll see how they hold up. There's about 3.6 ~ 4 miles of trail now. We've changed the start of the trail from the street to the powerlines. That way you no longer need to ride along the street to the trailhead. Park under the powerlines and ride down the path under the powerlines, cross the ditch and head right, do the loop on the right which will bring you back out to the powerlines, and then hit the trails on the other side.

Update 11/17/2006

We have been working on the trails recently and this place promises to be really fun. We've cut fresh trail that adds nearly 2 miles to the original trail (the one mapped in the Mountain Biking North Carolina book). Some of the new trail is routed along ridges created from making the drainage ditches which make fun whoop sections. I'm going to bring the gps out this weekend and create a new map, which I'll post here of course.

So keep checking the site for more info, and if you'd like to help out please contact me using the link at the bottom of the page. There's a ton more work to be done, but in the end this park will be a place that people of all ages can enjoy.

Update 7/3/2005

There were once trails here. They were even written-up in the book Mountain Biking North Carolina by Timm Muth. Then the county built the jail and the motocross folks rode on the trails and made big ruts which filled with water and the trails were destroyed. They're still sorta there but were overgrown until we went back and cleared them out. However, the bridges are rotting and a good portion of the trail is underwater after a rain and unrideable.

  • Wilmington has no legal mountain biking trails and this would be the first.

  • The county already owns the land.

  • We can have park rangers or the sheriff patrol the trail keeping out unauthorized vehicles.

  • We can hold races and events here.

  • We don't have to worry about the trail getting developed into more houses, apartments, or a Wal-Mart.

  • The county will have an annual budget for the trail for maintenance and upgrades (like signs, bathrooms, and a parking lot).

There are many more reasons, but regardless, we would have another place to ride, one that we design from scratch that will far exceed anything in the area. It's a difficult task, due to lack of elevation and low-lying wetland area, but we are getting pledges of a lot of support including material donations, tools and equipment, and labor.

Some key features will include:

  • A parking lot with skills area

  • Bathrooms

  • Signs

  • A freeride area

  • A BMX track

  • Dirt jumps

  • 4 to 6 miles of singletrack

One of the biggest challenges is what to do about the large amount of wet areas. These trails are only 15 to 30 feet above sea level. We are going to route as much of the trail as we can over small ridges that run alongside the streams. In addition to staying dry, they should provide some elevation change and fun whoop sections. When we can't reroute the trail, we are going to build raised wooden bridges and dump tons of rubble (broken-up concrete, cinder blocks, brick, asphalt, etc.) onto the trail and cover it with dirt. This will raise the level above the water and provide technical challenges as well.

We're very optimistic about these trails. It's just going to take a lot of time and effort. Check back once in a while on our progress. This is just the start as well. We are looking for other potential areas to build trails as well. I should also point out that these trails will be for hiking/walking as well. There's no place to hike in Wilmington either.

Filed Under: Trail Info > North Carolina > Wilmington

Google Earth (.kml) files and GPS eXchange (.gpx) files.
GPS eXchange (GPX) file. For uploading to your GPS.

AVERAGE RATING: (8 ratings)

1. Dave gave it:

I rode this area in the late 80s all the way up to the jail was built on motocross bikes it is fun on my mountain bike as it was back then.

Jul 16, 2011 @ 10:25 AM

2. COYOTE gave it:

Thanks to all the volunteers that make it happen! Great trails!!

May 6, 2011 @ 11:53 PM

3. Chris B gave it:

Great course and extremely well maintained. Other courses in the area are overgrown and covered in Poison Ivy, not the case here. The Northern part is an a$$ kicker, a series of decents and climbs on a ridge line test your heart size. Tons of roots, a good moderetly technical ride. the pump track at the begining is a great warm up. Full trail took and hour to ride, garmin said we burned 1100 calories.

Jul 7, 2010 @ 9:12 AM

4. casio gave it:

I love this trail! I want to go back, but I'd like to know if all trails are open? If not all of them are, is it worth to drive one hour to ride whatever is open?

May 4, 2010 @ 2:50 PM

5. Joe gave it:

Great trail what i got to ride i checked the status before i made the hour and a half drive and when I got there a big part of the trail was closed which made it confusing. Not to complain but if there are parts of the trail that are closed let us know about don't post that it is all open.

Apr 5, 2010 @ 7:13 PM

6. Tyler gave it:

The track is the best track I have ever rode it is hard to stay away from. The hills and bumps make you want to stay all day and ride.

Jan 1, 2010 @ 4:19 PM

7. Peter gave it:

Coming from Chattanooga I was very pleasantly surprised with these trails. The tight, twisty singletrack never gave me a break. I was constantly accelerating out of turns and decelerating into them. The rooty bumps make sure you keep your hands on the bars and the North Shore ladders and bridges keep it interesting for those with the nerves. I'll definitely bring my MTB again next time I'm in town!

Nov 29, 2008 @ 10:32 AM

8. Austin gave it:

Putting in perspective that you are at the beach, these trails are awesome and you can tell a lot of hard work went in to make them. These are a must ride if you are in the area!

Oct 15, 2007 @ 10:18 PM

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