With the diverse terrain and well-developed trail systems, the region around Atlanta, Georgia has some unexpectedly amazing rides. Whether you’re looking for a mellow day out with the kids or hoping to get in a workout, you’ll be able to find what you’re looking for within driving distance of the capital city. With an abundance […]
With the diverse terrain and well-developed trail systems, the region around Atlanta, Georgia has some unexpectedly amazing rides. Whether you’re looking for a mellow day out with the kids or hoping to get in a workout, you’ll be able to find what you’re looking for within driving distance of the capital city. With an abundance of trails that range from mellow meanders through the woods to hearty leg-burning workouts, there is something for everyone within a two-hour drive of downtown Atlanta. Whether you’re novice or advanced, check out these best community-rated mountain biking rides near Atlanta on MTB Project.
The mountain biking at Haw Creek Park is well-loved by the locals of Cumming, Georgia. Though not an extensive system, these trails draw both new and more seasoned riders looking to get out into nature. The trails are mostly mellow, and while you can pick up speed, there is plenty of room to take it easy and enjoy the woods, making the park a great place to bring the family. After the ride, let the kiddos burn off their remaining energy on the playground by the trailhead while you refuel under the pavilion.
This mellow beginner/intermediate ride follows the Easy Trail loop clockwise as it twists and turns through the woods, mostly over hardpack singletrack. A trail junction near the powerlines gives you some choices, but the Moderate Trail is the more interesting route. A few rollers and sharp turns around the east end of the park can cause some trouble if you’re going too fast and not expecting them, so watch your speed if it’s your first time out. Before finishing up, take a quick side trip to play around on the pump track and test your skills.
Arrowhead Park has some great mountain biking and, as part of the Lake Tobesofkee Recreation Area, it is also an enjoyable spot to spend a night out in the woods. With year-round access, campsites for tents or RVs and lake access, you can come for the riding and stay for the rest of it. Keep in mind that there is a small daily vehicle fee to use the park. The trail system is quite new, having reopened in 2011 after it was destroyed by a tornado outbreak. There are two loops here which largely overlap in places, but where they diverge, there is an opportunity to ride more technical features.
To reach the start of the Beginner Loop, head west down the road a short distance until you see the kiosk for the Beginner Loop on your left. As the Beginner Loop winds through the woods, the Advanced Loop splits off at various points; make sure to follow the yellow blazes to stay on the easier track unless you’re looking for a little more adventure. Even on the easier track you may encounter a few obstacles, but they can be easily avoided or walked. The mostly well-packed sand and clay trails are occasionally dotted with rocks and roots and punctuated by a few good climbs and fast descents. This is a great place to hone your skills if you’re newer to mountain biking. It’s also a great spot to bring the family for an overnight trip or sneak in a workout if you’re a bit more advanced. There is a little something for everyone at Arrowhead Park!
The trails of Blankets Creek are some of the top-rated in the Atlanta area. There is a little bit of everything here, and even newer riders can stick to beginner trails and still have a great time. Mind that this area is also popular with hikers and trail runners who will be traveling the opposite direction to bikes (direction of travel on some trails changes daily so be sure to check before you head out). Though foot traffic is meant to yield to bikes here, use caution and be respectful of all users.
This is a great intermediate ride that starts out with a mellow spin on a nice, flowy trail. There are a few ups and downs which provide a great warm-up for the legs. The ride gets a bit harder about 4 miles in, so those looking for an easier ride might want to head back before starting on the slightly harder Dwelling Loop, where some roots and rocks will test your skills. Be prepared, as the ride gets progressively harder with punchier climbs and bigger more frequent rocks and roots. You’ll have to stay on your toes to keep from dropping your foot and dabbing. The last hard bit of the ride is Quehl Holler, a purpose-built gravity trail full of berms, wooden features and rollers. Air is possible in this section, so watch your speed if you want to stay on the ground! After a lap or two on Quehl Holler, enjoy the easy spin back to the parking area. Since this ride gets progressively harder, riders can cut out back to the parking lot between each of the three loops. Newer riders or kids may only want to go as far as Dwelling Loop, while the more advanced will likely want to rip along these well-packed dirt singletracks.
A popular spot, the Chicopee Woods mountain biking trails are an ideal option for riders of any level and offer respite from the hubbub of the metro area. Whether you’re new to the sport or an old hat, these trails provide all-day entertainment. The beginner trails are great for families, kids or newer riders, while the intermediate trails offer a little more excitement for those looking to push themselves. If not everyone in your party is a biker, there are hiking trails on the south side of I-985 to enjoy. As of 2018, there is a $5 daily parking fee or you can purchase an annual pass for $50.
To follow the Intermediate Loop, head out of the parking area and follow Tortoise Trail, keeping in mind that the directionality changes daily. This rather mellow trail is popular among newer riders and is a great warm-up for the rest of the ride. Once you reach the junction with White Tail Trail, follow it briefly before joining the Red Tail Trail—another easy trail that loops back to the White Tail Trail. For those in search of an easier ride, this is a great spot to turn around and head back. From here on, the ride lives up to its intermediate grade as it heads north and then east. Rougher technical sections quickly transition into fun, flowy, winding trails around the northern section of the park. Though you can end your ride once you return to the parking lot, most will prefer to finish up with a spin on Coyote Trail, a slightly more technical route featuring tight turns and steep switchbacks.
Originally created for riders to practice for the annual All-A-Toona race, this ride has since become very popular. The trails at Allatoona Creek Park are specifically designed with bikes in mind, however, you will likely see hikers and runners out and about. Though the area has numerous easy trails that can be linked together for a fun beginner ride, the All-A-Toona Loop is geared toward the intermediate and advanced crowd. Make no mistake that completing this entire loop is a huge undertaking. This route uses almost every mile of biking trail available at Allatoona Creek Park, and there is more than 2000 feet of elevation gain and loss over almost 30 miles, so be prepared for a long day. The ride does pass back by the parking area, however, you should bring everything you need for several hours out, including water, food and a basic bike maintenance kit.
Most of the trails here change direction on a daily basis, so be sure you are following the trails as designated. Start out the ride with a nice warm-up around Turtle Back and Mumbo Jumbo, which get your blood pumping with some tight turns and a few features. After almost 8 miles, you’ll hit your first advanced trail and will face steep climbs, drops, jumps, rock gardens and log crossings. As the ride takes you out toward the lake, the trails are a bit rougher, with more natural root and rock challenges to navigate. Take some time to enjoy viewpoints along the lake before heading back. By the time you get back to the parking area, you are just over halfway through the ride. Take a breath, restock and then head out via a series of dirt roads and connectors to Driftwood, a moderate trail with a few nice views that takes you back out toward the lake. As you head south, you will deviate onto some nice singletrack, a downhill trail with jumps and berms, and finish up the ride on a flow trail back to your car.
Fort Yargo is the place to be if you’re looking for some challenging cross-country riding. This ride is a bit more advanced, but the nearby Recreation Trail is a highly rated trail that’s suitable for beginners and kids, making the area a great place for most mountain bikers to visit. Besides the riding, there are cottages for rent as well as opportunities for camping, hiking, swimming, picnicking, boating and more. Though everyone can enjoy the area, there is plenty of riding to be had, and this loop is geared toward intermediate and advanced riders. Since hiking is discouraged on this trail, most riders try to carry a lot of speed and hit features with gusto!
From a directional standpoint, this ride is very straightforward; simply follow the Fort Yargo Mountain Biking Trail counter-clockwise. However, you’ll need to pay attention in places as the route does cross other trails and roads during the ride. The ride starts heading south, where it is joined by the Recreation Trail. For this segment, bikers are required to ride slowly and yield to foot traffic. Once the trails split, you’ll be able to carry some speed as you climb and twist through the trees above the lake. As you descend, keep an eye out for Horseshoe Drop—an advanced feature through a drainage ditch. About 5 miles along the loop you’ll reach Monster Mile—a tough climb with some tight turns and gullies to cross on the descent. From here, the riding is relatively easy as the trail winds through the trees, crossing a few trails and roads before ending back at the main parking lot.
Pine Mountain is a great place for intermediate and advanced riders. However, the trails are only open to bikes on Wednesdays (ride counter-clockwise) and Saturdays (ride clockwise). The East Loop, East Pass and Summit Overlook Trail are the only trails in the Pine Mountain Recreation Area that that are open to bikes. More advanced riders might enjoy this ride the most, but intermediate riders looking to improve their skills will also benefit from tackling this loop. Plus, the steep climbs and fast, rocky descents will challenge even advanced riders.
As mapped on MTB Project, the route follows the Wednesday counter-clockwise loop. In this direction, the first part of the route is pretty mild with a simple creek crossing. In less than a mile, you will encounter a climb along rather steep grades, despite the switchbacks, which can be tight and difficult to navigate without dabbing. Once near the top turn onto East Pass, take a left onto Summit Overlook Trail to the viewpoint. Note that East Pass beyond the turn to Summit Overlook Trail is closed to bikes. After you’re done catching your breath and soaking up the sights from the summit of Pine Mountain, head back to continue along East Loop and start the descent. Though there are tight switchbacks and a few steep sections, most riders will be able to carry a good amount of speed all the way back to the parking area. In either direction the downhill is a hoot, but be sure to walk any sections you don’t feel comfortable with.
Pine Log WMA Loop #1 is the shorter of two advanced loops at Pine Log Wildlife Management Area and offers a rather rugged experience for those looking for a bit of adventure. Keep in mind that the trails are closed to bikes during firearms season and until after 10am during archery season. Additionally, you need to purchase a hunting or fishing license or a Lands Pass to use the property. To reach the start of this ride, head up Grassy Hollow Road to a rather undefined parking area. If the road is closed, simply park at the Pine Log WMA Game Check Station and ride the road up. Unlike other areas where newer or intermediate riders could simply walk the harder sections of an advanced ride, this one is recommended for only intermediate-advanced and advanced riders. Be sure to ride within your limits and walk sections that are beyond your skill level.
From the parking area, head up the forest road briefly before ducking onto the singletrack. The ride starts off bouncy and rocky before getting to the true advanced tracks. As you turn onto Ridgeline Trail, you’ll climb through rock gardens and up steeper grades to the top of Hanging Mountain. After a short segment on the ridge, you’ll begin a technical and rocky descent—exercise caution here as the trail surface can be quite loose. After the big descent, the ride is still challenging but a lot more fun! Rock gardens, muddy sections and creek crossings make this a blast of a finish to the loop. Navigate your way back to the parking lot via the roads or Baby Heads Trail. If after you’ve finished you still haven’t had enough, a great second loop option is Pine Log WMA Loop #2, a similarly rugged 11-mile ride.
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