Cartecay River Loop
Opened in the 1980s as one of the first mountain-biking trails in the state, this nearly four-mile trail in Ellijay can be a rugged ride, says Dondi Fontenot of Cartecay Bike Shop. But it is unmatched for its beauty as it twists and turns through dense forest and meadow and drops down (sharply) to the wild Cartecay River (which you’ll have to climb back up from). You’ll need a day pass from georgiawildlife.com.
Five Points Recreation Area
Built in a 19th-century coal mining area, this nearly 20-mile, well-maintained network of singletrack loops at Cloudland Canyon State Park was constructed to provide ride options for mountain bikers of all skill levels, from a gentle roll to exciting slopes with jumps. The difficulty level is marked at each trailhead and on the state park maps. One section is open to hikers, but the rest is all wheels. $5 day-use fee per vehicle
Just under five miles, this intermediate trail at the foot of the Appalachians in the Chattahoochee National Forest provides rolling climbs and a soaring deep dive to a creek you’ll want to ford on foot. For steeper inclines, take the connector trail to nearby Bull Mountain—the whole network covers up to 50 miles. Watch out for horses.
This article appears in our September 2020 issue.