Click on the sign above for a PDF trail map.
The Signal Hill Trail is something of a throwback to the earlier days of mountain biking. The trail line has been hewn by hand so it avoids that "freeway" type of trail that results from building with machines. The property is broken up by the rec department buildings, associated roads and an old model airplane field. As a bonus, it is built on top of the old Statesville landfill! Needless to say, this made trail design a challenge.
Currently, there is approximately 4 miles of trail. While there aren't any big climbs, there is a lot of small hills and bumps that will keep you out of the saddle. Recently, the open field sections have been eliminated making the trail much easier to follow.
The trail head is located at approximately 370 Signal Hill Dr. (map below). Look for the gravel parking lot beside the electric sub-station. The trail starts at the information kiosk at the far end of the parking lot.
The first mountain bike trail, in Statesville, was located on a couple of parcels of private land off of Greenbriar Road. This was started as a "locals only" trail in the late 1980's. By the early 1990's, the mountain bikers were wearing out their welcome. Word of the trail had spread and between the lack of parking and people riding next to houses, the trail was in danger of being shut down. Around this time, a group of locals began discussions with the city about building trail on the old city landfill. The property included a large model airplane field and the parks and rec department buildings. A very simple loop trail of approximately two miles was constructed.
The long term goal was to connect the Signal Hill Trail to the Greenbriar Trail. By the mid 1990's it was apparent that the Greenbriar Trail would likely be lost due to popularity. With that in mind, the focus became the expansion of Signal Hill. The city leased a piece of wooded property adjacent to the landfill for us to use. This area became the favorite of most riders with it's old hardwoods and varied terrain.
Tweaks were constantly being made to the trail to gain mileage and eliminate high-maintenance areas. When everything was clicking, there was nearly 7 miles of trail at Signal Hill and it was being ridden consistently. Word came down that the adjacent property had been sold and was slated for development. Several months later, we crested the hill behind the Food Lion and were met with utter destruction. The entire forest had been clear cut. We were able to clear some debris for a couple of final rides but the dozers weren't far behind.
We kept trying to salvage parts of the trail that was on the private property but it was a losing battle. Every couple of weeks, our "saved" sections were lost. With just the landfill sections left, the trail fell into disrepair and started a downward cycle. Losing the private property put the trail workers into a funk and very little maintenance was getting done. Without maintenance, the number or riders decreased until the trail became nearly impassible.
Fortunately, a couple of years ago, interest in the trail was once again on the rise. The corridor was being cleared and many of the open spaces were eliminated. First time riders were often missing trail or getting lost which frustrated them so the trail was simplified. Many of the "new" trail workers were the same ones who worked on the trail over a decade ago but there was also a good crop of new blood as well. Several new trail lines were opened which included boardwalks to traverse some of the previously unusable land. There is now just over 4 miles of trail but it is the best trail that it has ever been.
Stop by and give it a ride!
When your buy or new bike, or bring your current bike in for repair, do you know who works on it? Have they been there for a week? Do they know how to rebuild your Sturmey-Archer hub (or even know what it is)? At First Flight Bikes, you know who works on your bike: myself or Wes. Between the two of us, we have over 40 years of bike experience between us.
"It doesnâ€™t get any easier, you just get faster." Greg LeMond
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