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  1. #1
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    Atlanta Area Trail Recommendation

    Heading to Atlanta in mid April for a long weekend visit. First on the list of trails to check out is Coldwater Trails in AL for one day.

    After some research, my take is that Big Creek or the Olympic Trail Center are the most recommended trails near Atlanta. However, I also read that Big Creek might be closed due to a fire station project. Also, I have never seen a trail system near horse trails that haven't been heavily restricted/regulated.

    It would be great to get some local input. If there was one trail system near Atlanta that should be checked out, what would you recommend?

    Coming in from the Boston area. Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
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    I rode @ the Olympic Trail Center during the 2013 SE Bike Expo & The trails were a lot of fun. When I was there I didn't see a horse the whole weekend (Could have been b/c the bike expo was going on). Also, I believe that the bike & equestian trails are kept separate.

    If I was back in the area I would not have a problem riding there again... although Big Creek is on my list for next ATL visit.

    Side Note: The Big Creek Enduro is held tomorrow, so the trails are currently still open. Hopefully they will still be open for your April trip

    ~Kirby

  3. #3
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    I have ridden most of the trails in the Altanta area, though I haven't been to Conyers or Yellow River in 10 yrs+. Was last at Big Creek about 5 yrs ago. When I rode it then, it was great for jumping but definitely not the first choice for XC. I wouldn't be surprised if things have changed for the better with those 3 trails systems. If I had to rank them from an XC standpoint, it would be:
    1. Chicopee Woods
    2. Blankets Creek
    3. Ft Yargo
    If you're willing to drive a bit more (about 1.5 hrs), I'd hit the Pinhotti Trail/Bear Creek before all of them; however they are a bit harder to follow. If you're using a GPS, I could give you some .gpx files to help you get around.

    Good call with the Coldwater trip. You'll enjoy it. It's the preferred day trip for most of us down here in the FL panhandle.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikensand View Post
    I have ridden most of the trails in the Altanta area, though I haven't been to Conyers or Yellow River in 10 yrs+. Was last at Big Creek about 5 yrs ago. When I rode it then, it was great for jumping but definitely not the first choice for XC. I wouldn't be surprised if things have changed for the better with those 3 trails systems. If I had to rank them from an XC standpoint, it would be:
    1. Chicopee Woods
    2. Blankets Creek
    3. Ft Yargo
    If you're willing to drive a bit more (about 1.5 hrs), I'd hit the Pinhotti Trail/Bear Creek before all of them; however they are a bit harder to follow. If you're using a GPS, I could give you some .gpx files to help you get around.

    Good call with the Coldwater trip. You'll enjoy it. It's the preferred day trip for most of us down here in the FL panhandle.
    Great, thanks for the info. This is exactly what I was hoping for. As crazy as it sounds, just learned that my wife's friends live near Big Creek. Given the need to balance my riding with socializing, couldn't ask for a better situation. With that said, we will be visiting again, and the trails above will be checked out. Pretty psyched on the trip, actually. The long New England winter is wearing me down. Need something to look forward to.

    Have a great 2014 riding year!!!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by mkirby258 View Post
    I rode @ the Olympic Trail Center during the 2013 SE Bike Expo & The trails were a lot of fun. When I was there I didn't see a horse the whole weekend (Could have been b/c the bike expo was going on). Also, I believe that the bike & equestian trails are kept separate.

    If I was back in the area I would not have a problem riding there again... although Big Creek is on my list for next ATL visit.

    Side Note: The Big Creek Enduro is held tomorrow, so the trails are currently still open. Hopefully they will still be open for your April trip

    ~Kirby
    Good to know. My experience around horses has been mostly positive, but I tend to steer clear if the option is available. To hear there was minimal interactions at the Olympic Center pushes me to think about it as an early morning cruiser.

    Thanks

  6. #6
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    If you want to ride a few trails in one day, after(or before) you hit the int'l horse park, Heritage Park in Farmington, GA is about 40 minutes away. It's rooty, slippery and a lot of fun. Ther are 13 miles or so of trails. Ft Yargo is flowy,not too hard and a good ride, too. Total of about 12 miles there. Those are my two main trails. Chicopee is a lot of fun, in Gainesville, a little over an hour north of Atlanta. Blankets Creek is supposed to be a lot of fun. Haven't had a chance to ride there yet. Good luck and have a fun trip.

  7. #7
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    Big Creek is my home trail and open - go to rambo-mtb.org for trail status. That said I really like blankets creek. Never rode chicopee.

  8. #8
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    Ride Big Creek once a week, you can easily do a 10 mile loop if you go preferably on a CCW direction day.

    Blankets is fun but by far the most crowded at peak times but good trail.

    Rope mill is less then 5 miles away from Blankets and a good rolling XC type terrain.

    Allatoona creak is an XC riders paradise, lots of pedaling but not a lot of elevation, great if you're training.

    Sope Creek is close to Roswell, longer uphills and longer down hills, lots of foot traffic to deal with though (best scenery though ;-)

    Bear Creek is about 1.2 hours away from Roswell and a good half day to pedal it but you'll get your moneys worth.

    Mt Tabor Park is a fun little technical trail, irregular flow but keeps you on your toes, about an hour from Roswell and trail conditions very similar to Big Creek but usually have the place to yourself which is nice.
    13 SB95c/XT/EnveAM CK/RF NextSL/PikeRCT3SA/CCDBAcs/KS Lev
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  9. #9
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    Big Creek is great if you live within 20 min but I wouldn't travel much further to ride there. It's just not that fun (too many turns) and it's definitely not a destination place. There is NO WAY you are getting a 10 mile loop here either. 5-6 miles is Max. That being said I do ride here during the week because it is so close.

    I would head up to Chicopee. If you get out early enough you will be there within 30-40 min. That's the best place to ride within a 45 min drive from where you will be staying.

    Conyers is OK. It's really cool to ride on the Olympic course and there is a great slick rock portion but overall the trails are average at best.

    Don't expect anything technical if you are coming from NE (former NJ, CT rider here). All the trails here are buffed out and smooth.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by gobriango View Post
    Big Creek is great if you live within 20 min but I wouldn't travel much further to ride there. It's just not that fun (too many turns) and it's definitely not a destination place. There is NO WAY you are getting a 10 mile loop here either. 5-6 miles is Max.
    Guess my Strava and Garmin lie, haha If you hit just a tad of green way, do sleepy hollow 1-2 times, hit Troll both ways or re-run 1.5 miles of loop you will indeed get 9-10 if you hit ALL of the trails and connectors, do that with the Thursday night Fresh group ride during summer months no problem. Is it a destination park? not as much but variety is good for me instead of burning laps in the same park.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by some dude View Post
    Guess my Strava and Garmin lie, haha If you hit just a tad of green way, do sleepy hollow 1-2 times, hit Troll both ways or re-run 1.5 miles of loop you will indeed get 9-10 if you hit ALL of the trails and connectors, do that with the Thursday night Fresh group ride during summer months no problem. Is it a destination park? not as much but variety is good for me instead of burning laps in the same park.
    10 miles in a single loop - NO .... 10 miles doing a few trails twice and riding on some pavement - YES.

  12. #12
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    I agree with Gobriango's assessment for suggested trails.

    Blankets, Chicopee, Yargo are in my regular rotation.

    Big Creek is a Plan B or C.

    GIHP is OK, but also not a destination.

    Closest 'destinations' are Coldwater, FATS, etc.

  13. #13
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    I ride the three NE side trail networks every weekend: That's Chicopee, Ft. Yargo, and Harbins. I also ride Blankets mid-week a few times a month in the summer.

    Chicopee is the most fun. Very easy to navigate and you can choose your ride length. I typically do 16 miles without repeating any sections. Again, it's simple to navigate and choose a route. It flows wonderfully. The copperhead loop has some good climbing and a few fun technical sections.

    Yargo is a single big loop, which I love. It's directional so you rarely see other riders. The Monster Mile section has the most fun descents and two good climbs.

    My perfect weekend of local riding is Yargo on Saturday and Chico on Sunday.

    Harbins is a the least interesting of the three. It's the best trail to ride when it's wet, because it has a lot of sand and it drains well. The east side of Harbins is the most fun, with the tight and twisty stuff. I typically ride all the western loops (a lot of double track) and then do all the more fun stuff on the east side.

    Blankets is a great place. I don't ride there as much, since I live in the NE Atlanta area but three are three killer loops that are great fun. The newest area (Van Michael?) has some huge banked turns and lots of fun stuff.

    Big Creek is more of a locals area. I wouldn't ride it unless I was already there. That said, my LBS is Fresh Bike, which is 200 yards from the trailhead. So whenever I get my bike serviced, I ride Big Creak after I pick it up. It's small but has some fun freeride stuff if you're into that. It's all tight singletrack and it's VERY well designed to maximize the variety in a relatively small area.

    Bottom line, if I only have one day to ride, I pick Chicopee.
    I live with fear and danger every day. And on the weekends she lets me go mountain biking.

  14. #14
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    I've ridden Sope Creek a few times while visiting. It's a really great trail system, but there is a lot of foot traffic. Parking can also be hit or miss during peak times.

    I'm hoping to try a different set of trail my next time up, perhaps Blankets...

    Good luck!

  15. #15
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    I ride the Conyers trails and Yellow Creek the most since they are closest then Ft Yargo Winder GA) and Dauset Trails (Jackson GA). Blankets Creek is nice, a lot of traffic though. Just hiked Sope Creek the other day and I am looking to get back to ride the climbs

  16. #16
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    Wanted to follow up to suggest anyone planning to ride Coldwater trails in Anniston, AL would do yourself a massive favor to drop in and meet the incredible folks at Wig's Wheels. I decided to rent a bike instead of traveling with mine, and I am so glad that I did. I got to meet some very fine bike friends and was treated like a neighbor. Wigs hooked me up with a sweet running Trek, pointed me in the right direction, and suggested the best trails to take. After a long winter and busy work schedule, it was a well appreciated day.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by jason3559 View Post
    Wanted to follow up to suggest anyone planning to ride Coldwater trails in Anniston, AL would do yourself a massive favor to drop in and meet the incredible folks at Wig's Wheels. I decided to rent a bike instead of traveling with mine, and I am so glad that I did. I got to meet some very fine bike friends and was treated like a neighbor. Wigs hooked me up with a sweet running Trek, pointed me in the right direction, and suggested the best trails to take. After a long winter and busy work schedule, it was a well appreciated day.
    Coldwater is a great trail system. Did you end up riding anywhere else?

  18. #18
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    Yeah, where'd you end up riding in the ATL?

    AJ
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