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  1. #1
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    Recommendation for a big SE day trip

    This weekend, I begin building up my dream bike. I've ridden hard tails for many, many years in my off-and-on mountain biking "career" but just bought the last part to build up a beauty: A Yeti ASR-5 with full XT/Thomson and a great set of wheels (Stan's Crests with Hope Pro2 EVO hubs). I should be riding it in a couple of weeks.

    When it's done, I'll hit my locals trails as often as possible. I live near Chateau Elan (Exit 126 on I-85) and ride Chicopee, Yargo, and Harbins extensively. But after some initiation rides on those trails, I want to take a day trip to some of the bigger areas nearby, namely north GA and Western NC. I'm well within a 3 hour drive to those spots. But I've never ridden any of them and would like some recommendations. I'm looking for:

    1. Mainly singletrack. I know a lot of those epic rides have a mix of fire road and ST but I don't want an epic fire road ride.
    2. Easy to navigate without local knowledge.
    3. Good climbing and fun descents (I guess that is a given!)
    4. Within a few hours of the NE Atlanta suburbs.

    Suggestions?
    I live with fear and danger every day. And on the weekends she lets me go mountain biking.

  2. #2
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    Kevin,

    I just moved to Nashville from Gainesville and have ridden Chicopee my whole life. I'm dying to come back. lol.

    My two recommendations would be

    1. Raccoon Mountain - Chattanooga, TN - 18 miles of great singletrack. This would have to be the best trail in the southeastern US that I have ridden to date from a trail standpoint. It has a great mix of flow, technical sections (both climbing and downhill), and great views from on top of the mountain.

    2. Tsali - Bryson City, NC - 20-25 miles of singletrack. Tsali really isn't technical no matter which set of trails you get (right and left or thompson and mouse). The great thing about Tsali though is the scenery. It really can't be beat for East Coast singletrack. The lake views are phenomenal.

    Hope this helps.
    - KERSH -

  3. #3
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  4. #4
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  5. #5
    white boy extraordinaire
    Reputation: cmweldon's Avatar
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    I think there are some things to consider when doing something "epic".

    If this is your first epic ride, then I probably wouldn't go it alone. Alot of these epic areas are remote and their very nature make them prone to problems becoming big problems; however, there are several IMBA epics that do not fall into this category.

    For long climbs and downhills, easy to navigate, with as much trail as you can ride, I would hit Bent Creek right outside of Asheville. 3 big downhills, with small amounts of fireroad to connect, but not a large percentage. Tons of other trails that are fun to ride with smaller descents. You can ride 40 miles here and not hit everything, I've tried. However, there are plenty of locals to show your around and some very good locally produced maps to help out. If you want more, you can hit Dupont the next day with even more miles of riding, but the trails are short and a map needs to be referenced A LOT. Pisgah is close by too, but there is a pretty large amount of deep backcountry trails, that are awesome, but with a large amount of Fireroad connectors.

    I would agree, Raccoon is pretty sweet, and chattanooga has a lot of other quality trails too.

    I would also check out the ocoee gorge. Chilhowee has almost all singletrack with a little fireroad with some really technical downhills and some big jumps, then you have Tanasi right down the road with some good miles and a couple of good DHs.

    Stanley Gap in blue ridge is also really nice. A lot of singletrack, epic descent (and climb) with some other good stuff thrown in and not too hard to decipher.

    Hope that helps.
    "Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!"

    -the Dude

  6. #6
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    cmweldon, i will be headed to Raccoon in May for 2.5 days and want to hit another trail near Chattanooga any trail i shouldn't miss while up that way?

  7. #7
    white boy extraordinaire
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    Depends what you call 'near'. An hour away allows for some big stuff, Chillhowee, Tanasi, Pinhoti, and Snake Creek.

    In the immediate metro area, I would recommend 5 points and White Oak Mtn. equally. While I consider Raccoon easily the best, those two are about equal in my book. White Oak Mtn, doesn't have quite the mileage, but it is climby, has many small downhills, great signage, and a wonderfully technical ridge that will challenge the strongest of riders, a lot of banked turns and some good flow. Some of the original trail there is hiking, so it can be steep and not flowing great, but the purpose built is real nice. Together, it combines to make a great system.

    5 points has about 5 more miles of trail, but it usually ridden as an out and back connector. It is quite flowy and nice, with some rocky sections as well. It is almost all purpose built singletrack there.

    Google both for maps as they are both run by different entities.

    Hope that helps.
    "Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!"

    -the Dude

  8. #8
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    So many places to choose from. Although I haven't been to all of the places mentioned above, they are all good suggestions from what I have experienced or heard. I would throw Elijay in there as well. You will not be disappointed in P1-3 and the Bear Creek downhill is good as well. There are other trails in the area to hit on the 2nd day of a weekend trip if that is what you were thinking. The FATS system near Augusta is an option, but more flowing ST vs climbing/descending.

  9. #9
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    Reputation: SSINGA's Avatar
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    Recommendation for a big SE day trip

    Make a big loop

    Head west and ride raccoon then continue on to Huntsville for monte Sano. Head south to Bham and oak mountain then hit cold water in Anniston on the way back to the ATL.

    Or just head to Pisgah. Totally epic place to ride.
    Nothing to see here.

  10. #10
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    Thanks folks! Some great recommendations that I hadn't considered. I was thinking Dupont or Tsali were my only two options but there is obviously a LOT of riding in the SE!

    I think I'll hit Tsali first, as it's closest, and then Racoon. The "Birmingham - Moab" article was surprising, too!!

    For some of the more epic rides that are best done with someone with local knowledge, any groups that do rides and welcome newcomers? I've heard nothing but great things about Pigsah but I'd be more comfortable with a group.
    I live with fear and danger every day. And on the weekends she lets me go mountain biking.

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