Published Somedays

A Brief History of Trails in the Cape Fear Region

(updated: Jan 30, 2017)

Existing and defunct trails in the Cape Fear area (trails within a 2 hr drive from Wilmington):

Blue Clay -- Active. But not technical and fun like it used to be before some douchebag got hurt and sued the county, and the county went in and tore everything out. County is indemnified but so freaked out they won't allow so much as a twig on the trail or they threaten to shut it down. (News flash: nearly 800 people in the US die each year from falling out of bed. The county needs to get over it and the club needs to push back.)

Brig Trail -- Gone. Built over by Camp Lejeune.

Browns Creek -- Active. Built in the last few years. Best climbing and most future trail potential in the area.

Brunswick Nature Park -- Active. But issues with riding on the hiking only trail (the best part, imo) is creating concern with the Coastal Land Trust folks.

Dow Road -- Grown over. Several years ago friends were caught coming out of the trail by MPs who detained them for hours and threatened them with arrest. No further trail maintenance performed.

The Forest Trail -- History. Turned into a moonscape by the Newland Communities Riverlights development. Developer reached out to the club to have it build off-road trails in the development but then wanted all liability to fall on club.

Henderson Pond -- Active. Built to replace the Brig Trail. But increasingly difficult to get on base to ride.

Holly Shelter Game Lands -- Active. Great place to get a lot of miles in on any bike without worrying about cars.

The Hulk -- Active. Newer trail. Have not ridden here yet but I hear good things.

New River -- Shut down by the base. A lot of effort went into trying to keep it open but the gubment don’t care ‘bout no bikes, just guns.

The Piranha Pit -- MCAS Cherry Point. Just barely makes the 2 hour cutoff. Not sure what happened to these trails. I haven't ridden there since like 2007.

Rock Quarry Trails -- Shut down. Some kid was crushed by a quad when it flipped over and the landowner (Martin Marieta) shut it down.

UNCW campus trails -- Still active, but smaller than before the dorm and parking expansion. Unknown how long before more trails are built over. It’s the last remaining open space in Wilmington.

Can you imagine if all of the deceased trails still existed along with the active ones?

Then add: beach/island riding on fat bikes and plus bikes. This is the new thing. You have miles of beach to ride without worrying about cars. If it gets too popular (or there are motorized bikes) Wrightsville Beach may shut riding down but there are other beaches nearby such as Topsail which is 25 miles long.

Road riding -- Perhaps on the decline due to busier roads from population growth as well as distracted driving from smart phone use. I found myself riding less and less road because of these reasons. However, outside of town the roads are still lightly trafficked. And the new River Road is nice too because it has bike lanes.

Others I missed?


Filed Under: Ride Reports > North Carolina > Wilmington


1. Mike said...

There used to be some trails in the woods in Forest Hills, along Mercer Ave. I don't remember much about them except there was a large bowl in the middle and a short skinny bridge over a creek. And stiff-framed MT bikes were still "in".

Jan 31, 2017 @ 11:56 AM

2. Robin said...

We need to go back to the early 90's. Muddy Dungeon and The Sidewinder! Muddy Dungeon was actually near Blue Clay, but on private property. The Sidewinder was another trail located just as you entered Jacksonville.

Feb 7, 2017 @ 8:28 PM

3. SBA said...

Yes, totally forgot about the Muddy Dungeon. Only got to ride it one time with someone that knew the owner. Never heard of The Sidewinder. Thanks for sharing!

Feb 8, 2017 @ 7:37 PM


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