Mountain Biking

 

Gilmer County Is the Mountain Biking Capital of Georgia 
Here in Gilmer County and North Georgia we have some of the finest mountain bike trails in the Southeast.

Bear Creek Trail

DIRECTIONS:
From the Ellijay town square follow GA Hwy 52 West 8 mi.
Turn R onto Gates Chapel Road 5 mi to FS 241
Take FS 241 up to the lower trailhead .
Alternately: Park on the side of Gates Chapel Road just past FS #241.
RIDING DIRECTIONS:
FS  241  1.2 mi.
Take L fork 2.0 mi. to
Lower Bear Creek trailhead. Continue straight along the creek going upstream on  Bear Creek trail (do not take the Bear Creek loop at this point).
Mile 2.5  Old logging road enters from left. Veer to the right and cross Little Bear Creek.
Mile 2.8  Cross Bear Creek.
Mile 2.9  Gennett Poplar tree on the left.
Mile 3.1  Turn right onto Bear Creek Loop.
Mile 3.3   Turn left onto gravel doubletrack.
Mile 3.9   Pinhoti trail exits to right continue straight on gravel doubletrack.
Mile 4.6   Gate across road, go around gate and continue straight on gravel doubletrack.
Mile 4.7    Primitive camping site.
Mile 5.7    Bear Creek Loop / Bear Creek Trail intersectionTurn L.  and descend back down via the Bear Creek Trail.OR turn R   climbing another 1.5 mi.s to the Bear Creek Overlook

Doublehead Gap Ride

Loop ride to Winding Stair Gap. 18 miles of FS dirt roads and 3 mi of pavement.To Get There:
Turn R. on Aska Rd. just past Ace Hardware
Go to the end of Aska Rd. 13mi.  Turn R on Newport Rd.
Go to the end of Newport Rd.  4mi.  Turn L. on Doublehead Gap Rd.
Fellowship Church is 1/2 mi. on the left. This is where the ride begins
Alternate parking is on FS 58, along Noontoola Creek a couple of mile following the route directionsThe Route
.1 mi    R. on FS 58
8.3    Winding Stair Gap. Turn R onto FS 42
17.7    Road ends. Turn R on Doublehead Gap Rd.
20.4    Finish @ Fellowship Church on R

Fort Mountain State Park

– 4 trails; All skill levels (very beginner to expert) – Pick the one for you!Directions to trail: Take Hwy 52 west out of Ellijay approx. 12 miles to top of Fort Mountain; the park is on the right. Pay $2 parking and $2 riding fee at Park Office (trail map included).East-West Loop – 14 miles, Skill level – Advanced. This is a very challenging trail. The main highlights are a STEEP powerline downhill that drops off the side of the mountain, and a LONG technical climb that starts at mile 11. There is some spectacular scenery and super-fast rolling sections. Bring plenty of water and extra food. There is no shortcut out. Our friends from Florida HATE this trail Cool Springs Loop – 7 miles, Skill level – Advanced. This trail starts out as the same trail as the East-West loop then turns left and goes downhill around eleven switchbacks to the base of the mountain. Some great scenery, a boulder field and then the same LONG climb back to the parking lot.Gold Mine Loop – 6 miles, Skill lever – Intermediate. This trail is almost entirely doubletrack with some technical sections, some scenic viewing areas, good curves and plenty of speed. There is a somewhat steep, short rocky climb back to the parking lot, but all in all, a fun trail.Lake Loop – 2 miles, Skill level – Beginner. Want to take your kids or a true beginner someplace relatively flat, but woodsy to learn to ride? This is it! This is a great little trail that goes around the lake. Some pretty scenery, a few roots and a couple of rocks for practice, but the whole trail is covered in mulch to make it soft

Pinhoti - Cohutta Sections I, II, III

Think of it as a "Super Epic." The Pinhoti Trail covers about 140 miles of prime terrain in northern Georgia -- nearly 100 miles of this is off-road, the other 40 are blazed road routes. The Georgia Pinhoti Trail Association (GPTA), in conjunction with the Conservation Fund, is continually acquiring land and easements to move as much of the trail to off-road status as possible.The Pinhoti crosses the Blue Ridge fault line south of Chatsworth. East of that you will find the big mountain climbs of the Cohutta. Head west for the Ridge and Valley sections, with numerous ridge climbs and long stretches of ridge-top riding. On the west side there is a current project to build 20 miles of multi-use trail on the Pinhoti at Dry Creek. There's an 8-mile loop in the Pocket area between Horn and John’s Mountain; on the east side the MTB community recognizes 4 major loop rides between Fort Mountain and Bear Creek. In short, the Pinhoti is a unique, long and extremely varied trail that could keep any mountain biker entertained for several riding seasons. 

Tubing, Rafting and Canoeing

 

Cartecay River is one of the nicest rivers in North Georgia to canoe, kayak 
and tube down.

The Cartecay River is a 19.1-mile-long river that runs through Ellijay, Georgia. It is the site of a class II whitewater run.The Cartecay and Ellijay rivers meet in Ellijay to form the Coosawattee River. The Cartecay and most of its watershed are located within the southeast corner of Gilmer County, but there are small sections of the watershed in Fannin, Pickens, and Dawson counties.Blackberry Falls rapid on the Cartecay River near EllijayMuch of the river runs east to west near or along State Hwy 52E. The Cartecay River basin covers 86,734 acres in total area. The major tributaries are Clear Creek, Licklog Creek, Owltown Creek, Anderson Creek and Tickanetley Creek. The land is mostly undeveloped, but the river does pass through residential developments. The headwaters of the Cartecay River begin in the Chattahoochee National Forest.   

Hiking

Springer Mountain

 

The Appalachian Trail begins, or ends, depending upon one’s point of view, at Springer Mountain, located in North Georgia . In 1958, the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail was moved from Mount Oglethorpe approximately 14 miles (23 km) to the northeast to Springer Mountain due to increased development around Mount Oglethorpe. At the peak of Springer Mountain is a bronze plaque with the Appalachian Trail logo. The mountain's peak is at 3,780 feet (1,150 m) above mean sea level. It is part of the Blue Ridge Mountains that extend from Georgia to Pennsylvania. Springer divides the northern and southern extensions of the Blue Ridge in Georgia—one branch heading northwest to the Cohutta Mountains, the other southwest to Mount Oglethorpe

Directions to Springer Mountain from Ellijay

Take Hwy 52 East towards Dawsonville  for approximately 6.2 miles to Big Creek Road. Turn left and travel 8.5 Miles Big Creek Road will turn left, CONTINUE STRAIGHT on Double Head Gap for 4 miles until you see Mt. Pleasant Church on your left. Turn right on the dirt road directly across from the church (Forest Service Road 42 is unsigned). You should see a large sign indicating that this is the entrance to the Blue Ridge Wildlife Management Area and another sign "Springer Mt. 6.5 miles". Follow the dirt road 6.5 miles to a parking area on your left with a sign saying ”National Forest Fee Area”. The Appalachian Trail to Springer Mountain is across the road from the parking area. The trail to the summit of Springer Mountain is .9 miles (one-way)

Benton MacKaye Trail

 

The Benton MacKaye Trail is a footpath of nearly 300 miles (480 km) through the Appalachian mountains of the southeastern United States. It is designed for foot travel in the tradition of the Appalachian Trail. Running from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Big Creek Campground on the northern edge of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Benton MacKaye Trail passes through some of the most remote backcountry in Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina, including eight federally designated Wilderness and Wilderness Study Areas.

Bear Creek Trail

 Take Ga 52 west from the Ellijay traffic circle for 5 miles. Turn right onto Gates Chapel Road and go about 5 miles to Forest Service Road 241 marked as "Bear Creek Trail." Turn right and travel just over 1.0 miles where the road to the Pinhoti Trail Bear Creek trailhead comes off to the right.   

  
Bear Creek Trail has a lot of biking and hiking options, making it difficult and confusing to describe. The trail is a single loop (the Bear Creek Loop) with a 1.5 miles spur trail to FS 68 1.1 miles north of Holly Creek Gap. If you hike or ride the spur trail it is 4.0 miles of the total trip length, including the balloon at the end of the spur. There is a second spur trail south of the junction of the loop connector trail that we do not hike. We always use the parking area off FS 241 to start the hike.

Originally the trail markers were almost gone and it is now easy to follow the trail. The saddest thing however, is the human impact on the Gennett Poplar. We encourage hikers and bikers to leave this tree alone.

Virgin forest is rare in the north Georgia mountains. The Bear Creek Trail contains what appears to be a never harvested section of land with trees so immense that they literally astound even the casual observer. Deep in this section of forest is the so-called Gennett poplar standing some 100 feet high and nearly twenty feet around. The tree is massive, and it alone is reason enough to try this hike.

This loop trail follows Bear Creek from a point off Forest Service Road 241, and features the second largest tree in North Georgia. The Gennett Poplar is named for the family who owned the local lumber mill and sold the land to the United State government.