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Two mountain bikers ride along a trail at the Loyston Point Trail system near Norris Lake

TVA Trails are Top Picks for Bikers

Loyston and Mill Creek Ranked as Best in Tennessee

What does it mean to be the best trail?

In the case of Mill Creek Loop and Loyston Loop, it means letting mountain bikers flow through a forest of towering trees. Sail over smooth tread. Glimpse the aqua waters on one of the clearest reservoirs in Tennessee. All while feeling confident in their abilities.

Both loops, part of the Loyston Point Trails system along Norris Lake, are Tennessee Valley Authority-built and Appalachian Mountain Bike Club-maintained.

And according to hundreds of thousands of mountain bikers, these trails are simply the best.

Mill Creek ranked No. 1 in Tennessee and No. 101 in the nation, while Loyston Loop came in at a respective No. 2 and No. 104.

That’s from a public vote on the popular crowd-sourced mountain biking site, MTB Project, which showcases nearly 54,000 trails across the U.S.

At the MTB Project site, riders sang praises of TVA’s trails.

“This TVA-funded loop is purpose-built for maximum biking pleasure,” one biker wrote, describing Mill Creek’s 7.3 miles of trails.

Loyston Loop’s 5.4 miles of adventure earned high praise, too.

“This trail is all-around good times,” a biker wrote. “One to two days after rain it's perfect. Any skill level. Super flowy.”

And for bikers, it's all about the flow.

In art or work, flow is the feeling when the rest of the world fades away. A person becomes one with their ideas.

On the bike, flow is a partnership between trail builders and bikers themselves.

From the design side, it’s building a trail with the land’s shape top of mind. Banking wide turns. Sculpting wide drainage dips. Weaving the trail up and over the fingers of land that reach into the reservoir.  

From the rider side, flow is about becoming one with the bike as it sails low over the forest floor.

It’s about leaning with such perfect timing on turns that the bike feels like it’s floating. It’s about rocketing through the forest with confidence, anticipating the arc when the bike flies over that precisely placed feature so the landing has forward momentum, always onward.

It’s pure joy.

Mill Creek and Loyston loops lure riders of all skill levels.

That design is no accident. 

Wide, rolling grade dips – built to drain water off the trail – act as gentle roller coasters on slow rides, or as ramps that launch bikes into the air on faster runs.

“The most novice rider can keep wheels on the ground,” Clay Guerry, TVA’s recreation strategy specialist, said. “But the more experienced rider, the advanced rider, the expert rider – they can simply add speed and skill … and get a completely different experience on the same trails.”

That’s what Guerry had in mind when he led the TVA team that made this destination a reality.

He chose the Loyston Point Trails system location because it’s adjacent to boating, camping, and other outdoor recreation opportunities, creating a vacation destination that enriches the surrounding communities.

The trail builders’ efforts have been richly rewarded.

Riders laud the trails for the opportunities provided in all weather, across all seasons.

“We’re humbled and proud of the ongoing positive feedback from the public on one of our flagship trail systems,” Guerry said.

A mountain biker rides at Loyston Point Trail system

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