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Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill

Trail Reviews for Briar Chapel as submitted by trianglemtb.com guests

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CategoryAverage Rating
Overall :   3.7 / 5.0   based on 23 votes
Technical :   3.0 / 5.0   based on 23 votes
Climbing :   1.8 / 5.0   based on 23 votes
Freeride :   1.6 / 5.0   based on 23 votes
Scenery/Wildlife :   2.9 / 5.0   based on 23 votes
Flow :   3.3 / 5.0   based on 23 votes



Briar Chapel trail has been reviewed 23 times by our trianglemtb.com guests.

Reviewed by:Doughnutz
Reviewed on:01/31/2017
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Visited Briar Chapel for the first time lately. Left unimpressed. Probably will not go back. We were not sure exactly what to expect. Had seen photos and watched videos. The outer loop trails is ok with decent flow. But could have been much better designed to take better advantage of the terrain. Lots of erosion. Bennett Mountain was interesting, but a complete waste of time. I'm sure someone enjoys billygoating through piles of huge rocks, but it's not my cup o tea. Again, another complete waste of opportunity to turn interesting terrain into something rideable and fun. From Raleigh, Briar Chapel simply doesn't warrant the drive.
Reviewed by:fedrlbiker
Reviewed on:08/04/2016
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Great trail. My wife and I just moved to Chapel Hill from Texas and live riding distance from the Briar Chapel. So far it is the best we have experienced in the Triangle area. The diversity of terrain ranging between flow track, twisty tree sections, fast flats, and, best of all, the rocks on Bennett Mountain are excellent. I have ridden this trail on my 100mm XC bike and 160mm trail bike and had fun on both. There is something for every style of riding. At some point there were beginner / intermediate jumps on several sections of trail, but they are very eroded as of this review.

A note to first time riders: While easy to navigate after one or two rides, we got lost several times on our first outing (counter clockwise from 1574 gravel road) despite looking at the map beforehand. First, there is a main loop and numerous trail splits with no markings such as "Bypass" to indicate it is a shortcut. Second, there is an out and back section to the school that dead ends into a field. We rode around for 5-10 minutes expecting to find somewhere for the trail to pickup again. After fighting with our sweaty gloves and iPhones for several minutes we realized we had to turn around. Third, when we got to Bennett Mountain, it seemed we were going backwards up a rocky downhill trail. I say this because of the bermed switchbacks and rock features. We know now that this section is not looped, but rather two directional our to a "lollipop" loop with flow trail. When you come back down Bennett Mountain there is no indication that you should turn across the wooden bridge to finish the main loop and instead, we rode into some bandit trails that although fun, was frustrating when we thought it was part of the main trail system. I would just say, make a copy of the Map handy and know that the TrailForks and ProjectMTB apps may not be entirely up to date.

With all of that said, this is my new home trail so I look forward to donating trail work time to improve areas that I noted as needing work above!
Reviewed by:TANK
Reviewed on:11/01/2015
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More rock sections, you need to make good line decisions up on Bennet Mt.
Fun to ride overall
Reviewed by:fathippo
Reviewed on:04/26/2015
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One of the best trails in the Triangle area for a quick 1-2 hour ride IMO. It has good flow which makes it a fun. There is really just one technically challenging section (mainly rock gardens) that has an optional bypass marked with signage. There is a gravel lot for bikers on Briar Chapel Parkway. If you enter Briar Chapel Parkway from 15-501, continue straight when you get to the roundabout and the lot is about 0.5 mi on the right. Please keep in mind that walkers also use the trail, so be polite and respectful.
Reviewed by:buddh0
Reviewed on:04/02/2015
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I'm maybe biased since it's the closest trail to me, but this is my second favorite in the area after San Lee. I think it's current rank in the ratings on this site terribly underrates the trail (IMHO, it blows crabtree out of the water). With the addition of Bennett Mt and ETD trail sections there's now more technical rock gardens, more climbing, and more flowy sections. You can skip the Bennett Mt. turn off for a quick 6-7 mile loop that's generally very flowy, with a few rock gardens between the bridges and near the school out-and-back. I get somewhere around 10 miles for the full loop with the out-and-back. Personally, I think it's a great trail for an advanced beginner - lots of flow to keep it fun, but some challenging sections to improve your skills. My only complaint is that the neighborhood has continued to grow and in some places where you used to be riding in deep woods, you're now right behind people's houses (there are still some pretty scenic sections).
Reviewed by:time2ride
Reviewed on:10/06/2013
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Rode this trail twice in the past few weeks. Great trail in my opinion. Good flow and some rocky sections. While there is a lack of trail markers, I had no problem completing the entire loop without any issues. There is only 1 section of trail that goes up by the school that doesn't loop and you just turn around. When you come to road crossings, you can easily find the trail connections on the opposite side. Its a good 30-40 minute drive from the triangle but worth checking out. I know I will go back again.
Reviewed by:Rocket
Reviewed on:09/29/2013
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Rode today and was disappointed by the lack of trail markers. As I arrived there was another rider that had just returned to the pool parking lot and said that after not being able to follow the trail, decided to just pedal back to the car and call it a day. I brushed this off and went about my ride. I wish I could say that they were blind and not able to see the trail markings. This is the poorest marked trail in the area. Now, there is a lot of construction around the trail and this may be the reason for the poor markings. Trail signs point you in a direction and then you find yourself crossing pavement with no further direction posts. At one point I followed a sign that pointed me up a mulch covered trail and ended on a street with what looked like a storage shed and could not find the trail.

Again, there is a lot of construction around the trail and this could be part of the problem. On the positive the trail did have some good rock garden areas and found them fun. A single track trial in a community setting is awesome. I did see people enjoying the hiking trails as well.

I agree with others that this trail is poorly marked. I rode it two years ago with a group, and had no problems as they knew the trail. Even if it's a 2x4 with a laminated sign pointing you in the direction of the trail, that would be very helpful.
Reviewed by:David H
Reviewed on:07/10/2013
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Concerning the previous user's review and their personal opinion aside, I wanted to make sure correct information is being publicized:

We only lost the double track and that was never permanent and we all knew it. All trail has been connected and is running. More trail is continually getting built. The trails no longer connect to the old double track as this time. The trail up hill to the school will eventually have a paved connector through development to complete the downhill loop. Right now we are workingplanning for the next mile of trail to be contracted. 7 miles now and soon to be 8.
Reviewed by:Dresden
Reviewed on:06/17/2013
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there is no trail anymore..over 1/2 the trail is gone..there is a little bit of the trail there but you are basically riding behind peoples homes..alot of the homes now back up next to the trail..do not waste your time driving over there...the trail that was there is now been bulldozed for cookie cutter homes...its a shame too..that was a fun place to ride.
Reviewed by:TonyOhh
Reviewed on:11/23/2012
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Great trail. Not sure if it was just me but at the point on the trail when you get to the school it seems like the single track blended in with the jeep trails, slightly confusing for the amateur but very enjoyable trail overall
Reviewed by:ottter1833
Reviewed on:11/06/2012
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First the directions: getting to the neighborhood was no problem but I spent 30 min. driving around looking for "Norwood". There is NO such road. Actually, it's called "Great Ridge" but has no road sign until you get 25 yds. down to the first cross street. Great Ridge is basically the first road on the right after you get into the traffic circle. I parked at the swimming pool/clubhouse parking lot which is at 1600 Briar Chapel Parkway. Rode down Great Ridge for 0.2 mile and found the trail intersecting the road where the pavement turns to gravel.
The rock gardens were as challenging as described.
This whole loop is POORLY MARKED!!!! Several times I had to STOP and decide which way to go at a fork or T intersection. I ended up getting spit out of the loop near the dog park and just gave up. I peddled my mountain bike though the neighborhood streets up to the traffic circle and to my truck so I could get the heck out of there.
SUGGESTION: Have some kind of fund-raising ride there so that signs or paint can be purchased! I used to do lots of charity rides as a Roadie and know this can be done.
I'll stick with LCCP or Harris until then.
Reviewed by:Stellavator
Reviewed on:08/05/2012
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A very nice trail with great flow in the CW direction. The distance is closer to 4.8 miles by my GPS.
Reviewed by:philbert919
Reviewed on:06/03/2012
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Really enjoyed the trail, rode BC clock wise. There is enough flat trail to lull you to relax then turn a corner and there is an interesting challenge from rocks to rooty rocky climbs. Choose the right line and no problem, choose the wrong one and your stopped in your tracks :)

Very fun trail!
Reviewed by:klingeborn
Reviewed on:05/15/2012
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First time out here. Pretty entertaining trail. I would suggest that the directions to find the trail are tweaked a bit as I had problems finding it. I could not find a 'Norwood Drive', so I think it would be better to describe it as: 'Ride north approx. 1,000 ft on Great Ridge Parkway and the trail will cross where the pavement turns into a gravel road.'

Thanks for running the site! Keep up the good work.
Reviewed by:mkeeney
Reviewed on:04/29/2012
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I had ridden this trail a year ago but was with a bunch of kids and we did not ride the whole thing. Got out there with a buddy today and had a blast. Good flow with plenty of opportunities for the experienced rider to challenge themselves while newbies can hone the necessary skills of riding roots, rocks, and hardpack in a diverse neighborhood setting. Kudos to the builders for tying in the outdoors with their "urban sprawl". Kids growing up in Briar Chapel (as well as adults) have a great resource in their backyards!
Reviewed by:advcyclist
Reviewed on:01/31/2012
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Reviewed by:dman1123
Reviewed on:01/01/2012
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Fun in either the CCW or CW direction. There are a few good technical rock gardens that will probably challenge you even if you are an advanced rider. Some areas are slow and don't flow too well but there are also some places where you can really put the hammer down and get some good speed. Nothing much in the way of jumps but there are a few places you can get your wheels off the ground if you want to.
Reviewed by:rokbottom47
Reviewed on:11/27/2011
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Rode it Friday and got lost so studied the map and went out again Sunday. Started at Catullo parking lot, rode CCW then CW. Six mile loop. About 80% of it is beginner-grade trail, probably perfect for the neighborhood it was designed for. 20% is more technical, with the mile or so closest to Catullo being rock gardens with painful penalities for screwing up. I think once you become familiar with the rocky areas and choose the right track, they should be good for intermediate riders also. Most of it flowed well in both directions. Not much in elevation changes, so need to ride in both directions to get a good workout. Scenery pretty good, given the development and construction going on. Could use some better trail markers, but once you figure it out, it's not complicated. Overall a good way to spend a Sunday afternoon if you are not an adrenalin-junkie.
Reviewed by:ChrisW
Reviewed on:10/21/2011
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Lots of potential. At this review, 6 miles of trail. Obviously trail corridor is tight as not all lots in the neighborhood have been developed. That said, trail intersections with roads may be confusing to some riders. Signs have been erected to note trail entrances within the last year. Very flowy in some sections, very rocky in others. Occasionally trail obstacles or the route have been placed to intentionally slow riders. Trail feels very sidehill-y as far as construction. No steep climbs or descents. No switchbacks. Climbs are very gradual. Rocky sections are technical and are difficult when trying to maintain speed.

Currently not worth a 30+ minute drive to get there, but at the 8 mile loop mark they will be worth the drive. A typical intermediate rider can knock the 6 mile loop out in 45 minutes going CCW and hitting all technical features.
Reviewed by:lumbee1
Reviewed on:09/13/2011
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This was my first time at Briar Chapel. I rode the trail counter clockwise and then clockwise. With the elevation changes in the Pittsboro area, I expected so much more from the trail. There were never any difficult climbs and the downhills were quite mellow. With the amount of land available, the length of the trail was also a bit of a disappointment. The numerous rocks inhibited the flow in some sections. The disconnects crossing double track or roads were confusing. A local rider advised me to go right then left on the roads. Otherwise I would have been searching for a bit to find the trail again. I would certainly recommend it to others but won't make a extra effort to travel to Briar Chapel myself.
Reviewed by:vulcangreen
Reviewed on:08/04/2011
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I had a little difficulty finding the trail head but ran into some mountain bikers that got me pointed in the right direction. Yesterday I rode this trail for the first time. I rode the 4 mile loop in both directions. It is little confusing as it crosses neighborhood roads and intersects walking trails. There were a few times that I had to backtrack a few hundred feet to find the single track again.

Don't get me wrong, I have no complaints about this trail. It has challenging rock gardens and sweeping fast sections of trail. It is middle of the road as far as being technical and there is little climbing which I did not mind at all. Overall just a great little trail system that I would recommend to anyone close to Chapel Hill. I don't know if I would recommend driving more than about 30 minutes to get there just yet as it is a pretty short trail system.
Reviewed by:bagel
Reviewed on:07/25/2011
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This trail is obviously still under construction. The technical areas are spread out, so I can't give it a higher technical rating. The trail flows through construction areas and there are a few places where it is not initially clear which way the the trail goes.

That being said, it flows surprisingly well and the few technical areas are well thought out. It is definitely worth checking out. I prefer to park at Catullo Run.

This trail will only get better the more it is developed.
Reviewed by:RickyE
Reviewed on:06/06/2011
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