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Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill

San Lee Park

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CategoryAverage Rating
Overall :   4.0 / 5.0   based on 34 votes
Technical :   4.1 / 5.0   based on 34 votes
Climbing :   3.2 / 5.0   based on 34 votes
Freeride :   1.9 / 5.0   based on 34 votes
Scenery/Wildlife :   3.3 / 5.0   based on 34 votes
Flow :   3.4 / 5.0   based on 29 votes

Description: A wide variety of trail terrain and features. See trail options/descriptions below for more.
Location:Sanford
Miles: about 11 miles
Skill Level: Physically fit intermediate-advanced with some expert sections. Not recommended for true beginners.
Official Park Website

Trail options/descriptions
Map
Park Hours
Directions
Rules of the Trail

Trail Options – Main trail head is located in RV campground (take chained off gravel road all the way to the top from paved upper parking lot by the lakes).  Please allow yourself plenty of time to complete your ride – park gates are locked exactly at closing time not at sunset so all winter till April that means 5 PM.  Park shuts entrance gate ½ hour before closing time.  Park has limited parking capacity and sometimes fills up during prime times.  Don’t get caught sneaking in the ranger doesn’t play.

1.      Short loop – this is the first one that novice riders should try – enter trail at RV campground & skip Bouldergiest and take first exit point at the bottom of Gold Rush / follow Lake Trail across headwaters bridge around to 300’ lake bridge.  This will give you an approximately 4 mile ride with no bail out options.  Trails in this area are flowing contour trails some parts are rocky with lots of roots, some log crossings and a hand full of cool berms.  Part of this trail is tight single track with some moderate climbing and is best suited for novice to advanced riders.

2.      Front Half – Varies from 5 to 6 miles depending on whether you ride or bypass the tech sections.  Our biggest rock features live in this part of the trail system – Bouldergiest / Ledges / Gauntlet / Free Fall - all have bypasses for the scared.  Exit at Exit Point #2 (half way point) if you have had enough or it near closing time.

3.      Second Half – Jungle starts the second half at exit point 2.  From the upper parking lot, take 300’ bridge between upper and lower lake – use extreme caution while crossing bridge and yield to fishermen & foot traffic – walk if necessary.  Keep going straight at the end of the bridge onto the bike trail.  The second half features some of our tightest roughest single-track and our highest ridges.  It is also home to our newest machine cut marvels including .3 mile Mega Jump a cross between downhill course and dirt jumps / Drop Zone / Six Pack / Lizard Lick / Dragons Tail – are all new cool bermed out machine cut stuff.   The old favorites are still there - Rock Nest Monster / San Lee Slick Rock / Charlie’s Mountain / Twin Peaks.   We see a developing trend of people coming out just to ride the second half so they can focus on Mega Jump and the rest of the bermed out machine cut stuff.   From the 300’ bridge you are committed to ride at minimum almost 5 miles before you get to the first exit point – Exit #3 but if you made it that far I would stick it out another .7 mile and ride Dragons Tail the cool new exit section.    

Other Park Features   Bring the whole family while you ride they can enjoy this great park.  Brand new playground / plenty of picnic tables / fishing / hiking / visit the nature center with a great variety of snakes and raptures.  In season they have paddle boats & kayaks plus a year round RV campground and a seasonal tent campground.

Mega Jump – the new crown jewel of the parks trail system – it consists of thee - one tenth mile downhill legs adding something previously missing from the trail system > Jumps – really big jumps / table tops / step downs / drop offs / pump rollers / oh did I say berms very big berms.  Mega Jump is so cool we built it so you can reride it as many times as you please by taking a short little connector trail back to the top.  I have rated it as black diamond and it is if you big ring it up to full jumping speed but if you ride it slow you can roll it easy – bike shop owners 5 year old rode it so don’t be scared.

Drop Zone – we rearranged a few of our plentiful boulders with the help of the powerful Kubota hydraulics to create two big drops embedded into a once plain hill side.  Stay left for smaller sixer drops stay right for wheel swallowing niner drops.  After completing the drops hold on for a massive S shaped berm.

Six Pack – Our coolest berm section, a sweet combination of 6 berms / U’s and 90’s / the G’s will pin you to your bike accelerating you into a big exit jump.

Lizard Lick – we replaced the straight up climb after the last big creek crossing with a deeply bench cut contour following zigzag up to the tent campground.  This new section features a black diamond solid rock slab (wall) to climb.  Don’t fall off - below is a not so soft rocky hiking trail to land on.  Non experts can stay right to take a cool but tight single track switchback to bypass the Lizard Lick slab.

Dragons Tail – is located after our super tuff gravel climb near the end of the trail system.  I replaced the old straight down fall line exit trail with a bermed out contour hugging big ring wonder.  This section starts with a 120’ long triple berm that will wow you.  I wanted you to finish your ride with a giant smile as you carve slope style down through a ravine having wall to wall fun as a final reward for completing the San Lee challenge.

The Gorge – I did not forget the front side – tree cutters on boarding property forced us to redesign launch pad and front side flow to fix some property line miscalculations.  What looked to be a disaster turned into a blessing!  The massive ravine bordering Bouldergiest now is home to one very sweet hand built, deep cut bench forming a narrow single-track trail zigzagging up the side of the gorge ravine – way cool.  George / Steven / John and the Storm Racing team hand carved this baby right out of the ravine side wall.  Oh it starts with a new rock strewn creek crossing.  

Park Hours
November-March
Monday-Sunday 8:00 am to 5:00 pm

April
Monday-Sunday 6:30 am to 7:00 pm

May-August
Monday-Sunday 6:30 am to 8:00 pm

September
Monday-Sunday 6:30 am to 7:00 pm

October
Monday-Sunday 6:30 am to 6:00 pm

San-Lee Park is Closed:
New Year’s Day – Friday, January 1, 2010
Thanksgiving -- Thursday & Friday, November 25th, & 26th, 2010
Christmas – Friday, & Saturday, December 24th & 25th Sunday& Monday December 26th, & 27th, 2010

Directions:

San Lee Park is located in Sandord on the east side of town very close to the US-421 bypass



Take 421 South into Sanford.
Exit onto the new Sanford bypass hwy Southeast (exit #70.)
After ~4 miles, exit on Kelly Rd, turn left.
1 mile later, Kelly Rd T intersects with Pumping Station Road.
Turn right. Sanlee park is 1/2 miles on the right side of the road.
Turn into San Lee Park. Go to the top of the hill to park.
The ride starts up the gravel road from this parking area.
Night riding is not allowed here except for organized group rides.

Driving Directions via Yahoo

Rules of the Trail

  1. All riders must wear a helmet
  2. Riders should sign in at the upper trail head prior to riding
  3. Do not modify the trail
  4. Allow time to finish outings before the park closes
  5. It is recommended to ride with someone else
  6. Ride only on officially marked trails



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San Lee Park trail has been reviewed 34 times by our trianglemtb.com guests.

Reviewed by:dog
Reviewed on:12/21/2013
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First, ignore my scores except for the fun score and the technocal score... I realize that doesn't make sense, but for this trail and my personal experience, it is a very unique trail that is well, well worth the drive. The words I would use to describe this trail are unexpected and unintuitive (again for me) and that is what I really enjoyed about it. These trails have some topography and fun, built-in features (the unexpected part) and a rhythm of their own. To be honest, I have never ridden any trails like them. The overall facilities are also nice. I may even try camping here sometime. Great job by the builders and park! For you looking at the air opportunities... The construction of jumps is ongoing (good!!!)... The biggest ones are rhythm table tops of about two bike lengths lip to tranny... most are less that 2 bike lengths; although there may be some doubles for those of you that can really boost. the drops are less than 2', except for one, but I am not sure it was intended to be a drop, but can be ;)...
Reviewed by:jhstallings
Reviewed on:11/25/2013
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The trail boss has bought a mini excavator of his own and is adding humps and berms on the front half of the trail. Trail improvement is the goal this year but a little added distance may happen. The work is still in progress so changes will continue throughout the winter. While the improvements are happening the trail can still be ridden. The trail distance should be between 11.5 and 12 miles when complete. The trail has been leaf blown once so most of the derailleur hungry sticks are off the trail. The leaves are still falling so at the least one more blow through the technical sections will happen on Thanksgiving weekend. Lots of time and effort has gone into this trail and it shows. One of the best trails, if not the best in the Triangle is being improved on again. All the fun, rocky, rooty, technical, and hilly stuff described in other reviews are still there. Just now there is more. Another added bonus is there is added parking towards the tent campground. There is limited parking at the park so this is a big bonus for busy weekends.
Reviewed by:Todd
Reviewed on:04/06/2013
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I used to race XC here a decade ago. Wow has it changed.
The old (optional) rock gardens are still there - they seem to be designed by a local bike shop to sell derailleurs
(or now 29ers) - not so fun clipped-in on an old XC bike but plenty fun on my Enduro with flat pedals.
Lots of fun new additions such as the sessionable Mega Jump loop (afterwards, on the easy contour-line ascent follow
the sign on the left a short 15m easy hike back to the start again). Everything marked yellow/optional on the trail map is
a fun. Good flow IF you go fast (ditto for Beaver Dam).
I'd have to rank this the best trail in the Triangle Area. Definitely worth the short drive on weekends.
More fun on an all-mountain or jump bike than an XC bike (or at least drop the seat post and use a minimal pack.)
A big thanks to those who put in the major effort to add all the new fun options!
Reviewed by:The JabberWock
Reviewed on:03/04/2013
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This trail used to be good. Now it's fantastic. The Mega-Jump makes it the best trail in the area and well worth the drive from the Triangle. Ride this trail at least every week and you'll be a better mountain biker for it.
Reviewed by:jcw5002
Reviewed on:03/04/2013
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First time riding here yesterday... very fun trail! We hit all of the hard rock gardens and... wow, they are hard! The rest of the trail was pretty fun with not too much climbing. I don't know if I've ever seen a trail with so much signage. Every feature had its own cool name. Overall, it was definitely worth the trip from Raleigh area!
Reviewed by:rmckeaveney
Reviewed on:02/26/2013
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This place is awesome
Reviewed by:hey, wait up!
Reviewed on:02/18/2013
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This trail, IMO, is THE place to ride in the triangle. The trail has something for everyone, but caters to the experienced rider. This trail is well marked, and the signage for technical sections is spot on. Most features have ride arounds. Goldrush i think it is called, is AWESOME. Im with the others on the freeride rating. im not totally sure what would classify as freeride for the triangle area, but i dont think there is much of it at san lee. The trail flows, it will test your skills, its rocky, in sections, fast and smooth in others, and all around fun. Well worth the drive from pretty much anywhere in the triangle. the trail designer here knows what he is doing!
Reviewed by:Oliver
Reviewed on:02/17/2013
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I have seen a lot of reviews that I feel do not accurately reflect this trail. It is a great trail, that will challenge most riders.

It has flow, it has technical, and it has a nice downhill section with free fall.

I also think freeride should be removed from the rating option. If you have been to the Shore, (not the Jersey Shore) or rode Aptos, you do not truly understand freeride.
Reviewed by:shredward
Reviewed on:02/10/2013
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Technical is the word here! The new jump zone is terrible, but the berms are good? Trail builder calls it a mega-jump, more like baby-jump!
Reviewed by:jhstallings
Reviewed on:11/12/2012
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The trail at San Lee Park has changed again. There has been just a little distance added but berms, humps, in and out of ravines have been added. The leaves add to the excitment but is still very rideable. FreeFall is even more difficult with leaves but has been blown once. The new stuff needs to get packed down. Come ride in Sanford and do your part to improve the new stuff on the trail. If you are not into technical you can bypass all the crazy stuff and still have a fun day on the bike. Some of the best riding in the piedmont if not the best riding in the piedmont is at San Lee Park.

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