The gem of metro Atlanta trails: South Loop at Blanket's Creek- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    The gem of metro Atlanta trails: South Loop at Blanket's Creek

    I've been wanting to ride this trail, and finally did that, this morning. Wow - what an outstanding trail. By far the best trail that I have ever ridden in Georgia.

    It seemed very similar to Hocus Pocus at Allatoona Creek, however you don't have to do 12.7 miles total, just to ride 4.2 mile South Loop, like you have to do for Hocus Pocus. 0.88 miles to get to the trailhead, and the access trail gives you a good hint of what you are about to experience.

    It has a very good selection of features: Loose rocks, big rocks, tight switchbacks, red clay, punchy hills, tight & twisty, and 2 or 3 creek crossings (which were easy), excellent scenery, and a true wilderness experience. Well, the first mile or so, if ridden clockwise, was along the back edge of back yards. But as long as you only look toward the right during that stretch, you might think you are deep in the woods. I saw 3 deer.

    I am an intermediate rider, and I found the trail to be very challenging. Lots and lots of potential for crashes. If you can ride the entire trail without dismounting, then you are both in good shape and a skilled rider. If you can ride the trail fast, then you are a very, very good rider. I dismounted quite a few times. I haven't ridden much lately, so I didn't want to push the exertion, and I am a fairly cautious rider, being 54 and already beat-to-hell and back. I wore my full-face helmet, and am glad I did. If you have ever been through a TBI, then you likely wear a full-face helmet when you know the trail will be dangerous.

    The folks at SORBA who cut trails really know how to get the most of of the available terrain. All of the trails that I ride in my general area have been made by them, and I always admire how they can get miles and miles of good flow and technical features out of a small area.

    This is now my favorite trail, and I will be riding it again pretty soon.

    If you ride in metro Atlanta and haven't tried this trail yet, then you should treat yourself to it. It is a true gem. Keep in mind, though, that it is rated Advanced, and aptly so.
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  2. #2
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    It's been a while since I rode SL but it was always the least engineered trail at Blanket's Creek.......I live closest to Chicopee and most of those trails are raw-cut trails, very little engineering.......
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  3. #3
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    I rode that trail a couple weeks ago on my way back from Mulberry Gap. I like the trail a lot. But I'm not sure about the advanced rating. I figure if I can ride it on a rigid SS, then its not advanced.
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  4. #4
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    Shhhh! It was a secret!

    It's also less traveled because it's not a new style flow trail with a smooth surface and big berms. It's advanced for the area, I've ridden it on my rigid SS as well.
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  5. #5
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    I've been on that trail a few times. But I prefer the Dwelling Loop and the VMT. I ride those a lot.

  6. #6
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    SL is great! I saw some times from the race last Saturday and there are folks doing it in the 25-20 minute range. To many, this trail is no longer advanced - but I know the folks with the best times ride there (many ride their bikes to the park, too) quite often.

    I've only ridden SL 3 times (once was the half loop due to flooding) and it just kicks my butt! I started riding at Chicopee lots, and have been building endurance and gainin climbing skill so I think I can lower times on SL once I know it more. There are some challenging bits on there for my skill level and endurance state for sure!

    SL is a great change of pace if you want something less flowy and higher on the challenge scale.

    *** Oh yeah! ****

    If you like SL, then you'll love their newest addition - Gnarnia. That trail will be even more technical and strenuous.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by jonmango42 View Post
    If you like SL, then you'll love their newest addition - Gnarnia. That trail will be even more technical and strenuous.
    Wha-what?! New trail, where'd you see this? Tell me more!
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by chazpat View Post
    Wha-what?! New trail, where'd you see this? Tell me more!
    This is a post from the SORBA Woodstock Social Facebook group on 3/15:

    Who's ready for great news! We need some right?
    The USA Corp of Engineers has finally approved our expert trail we are calling Gnarnia. We have been waiting almost a year for this approval news and it's finally here!
    This expert trail will begin at the South Loop trail head and be comprised of narrow puncheons, steep cliff exposure, rock line crawls and much more. This trail by far has some of the rockiest terrain in all of Blankets Creek. It's been on the list of dreams since the park was created 20 years ago and it's finally approved to build!
    We anticipate it's going to cost $50K - $75K to build out via a combination of volunteer work and a professional trail building company. There will be some machine cut work and hand cut sections.
    Stay tuned for details of an upcoming fundraiser with sponsorship levels that we are putting together. We'll have to pull together as a community to fund this one, but finally after years of building progression for all users, it's going to be awesome to add a expert tech trail to the top of it all!
    Stay tuned for more details! Congrats to all those that worked to make this happen!


    If you do FB and ride Blankets and/or Rope Mill join the SORBA Woodstock Social group. There's also a FB group for SORBA Woodstock that's public (I believe).

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by jonmango42 View Post
    This is a post from the SORBA Woodstock Social Facebook group on 3/15:

    Who's ready for great news! We need some right?
    The USA Corp of Engineers has finally approved our expert trail we are calling Gnarnia. We have been waiting almost a year for this approval news and it's finally here!
    This expert trail will begin at the South Loop trail head and be comprised of narrow puncheons, steep cliff exposure, rock line crawls and much more. This trail by far has some of the rockiest terrain in all of Blankets Creek. It's been on the list of dreams since the park was created 20 years ago and it's finally approved to build!
    We anticipate it's going to cost $50K - $75K to build out via a combination of volunteer work and a professional trail building company. There will be some machine cut work and hand cut sections.
    Stay tuned for details of an upcoming fundraiser with sponsorship levels that we are putting together. We'll have to pull together as a community to fund this one, but finally after years of building progression for all users, it's going to be awesome to add a expert tech trail to the top of it all!
    Stay tuned for more details! Congrats to all those that worked to make this happen!


    If you do FB and ride Blankets and/or Rope Mill join the SORBA Woodstock Social group. There's also a FB group for SORBA Woodstock that's public (I believe).
    Thanks! I live a couple of miles from Sope Creek and have been a member of Sorba Atlanta/MTB Atlanta for several years, though my membership is currently lapsed. I used to live closer to Blankets/Rope Mill but still ride there a lot.
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  10. #10
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    South Loop is a great trail. Like others have said its on the easier side for an advanced trail, but there are a few advanced sections for sure. Plus with the heavy traffic Blankets gets its probably best to rate it as advanced so newer riders don't get in over their heads.

    Ironically I just rode Allatoona Creek for the first time this weekend and rode Hocus Pocus and all I could think the whole time was that it was like South Loop on steroids. Its tough being midway through in the summer heat knowing you've got a ways to go back to the car.

  11. #11
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    Sounds like I need to get out to Allatoona Creek, or even Sope for that matter. I live south of the city so I only get up to Blankets every couple of months, but SL has always been my favorite offering there. Its definitely not what I would consider overly advanced by todays measure, but I do love the more old school natural and hand cut nature of the design vs the super engineered ultra flow bermtastic direction that trail building has gone.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by kneedropper View Post
    Sounds like I need to get out to Allatoona Creek, or even Sope for that matter. I live south of the city so I only get up to Blankets every couple of months, but SL has always been my favorite offering there. Its definitely not what I would consider overly advanced by todays measure, but I do love the more old school natural and hand cut nature of the design vs the super engineered ultra flow bermtastic direction that trail building has gone.
    I'm also a big fan of Hocus Pocus, it's a fun trail and also reminds me of South Loop. Sope is nice, not really difficult. Not a lot of mileage but some good climbing and it flows well for a natural trail.
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  13. #13
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    SL is definitely a trail I enjoy when I am in "bike shape"! At 57yrs old these time periods are not as frequent as they used to be. lol. I've only tackled SL clockwise. There is one certain section that I can NOT for the life of me get through without stopping and walking. But that's about the only area. I haven't ridden HP at Allatoona but have ridden Voodoo a few times. Hopefully this fall I can attempt it when its a bit cooler out.

    Chazpat is a beast! He could most likely ride SL on a unicycle! Not kidding!
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldManBiker View Post
    SL is definitely a trail I enjoy when I am in "bike shape"! At 57yrs old these time periods are not as frequent as they used to be. lol. I've only tackled SL clockwise. There is one certain section that I can NOT for the life of me get through without stopping and walking. But that's about the only area. I haven't ridden HP at Allatoona but have ridden Voodoo a few times. Hopefully this fall I can attempt it when its a bit cooler out.

    Chazpat is a beast! He could most likely ride SL on a unicycle! Not kidding!
    I have only ridden SL clockwise, too. I think I know the section you mentioned. I walked through it, and right after I got through it, a rider behind me crashed. The trail winds through a bunch of huge rocks there.

    I look forward to riding SL again, after I first ride a few other tough trails, since I haven't ridden in a couple of months. I got back into building r/c airplanes, and took a break from riding, most of this Summer.

    Voodoo is fun, but I do not enjoy the many piles of rotten / half-rotten logs and other man-made stuff on that trail. I much prefer natural trails, and especially hand-cut ones. If you like that, and thought SL was fun, then I imagine you would love HP. If you think SL or HP are easy, then you are a skilled rider, and in good shape. I am neither.
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  15. #15
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    Finally got out to Toona the other day and rode the Mumbo/Voodo/HP loop. While I typically donít love machine cut bermy trails, I did very much enjoy myself. Voodoo was probably my favorite. I liked the scattered in features and the few techy climbs presented in the clockwise route. Looking forward to going back as there were a few sections I didnít clean, and others that required a dab or two.

    HP was similar to SL in that itís more natural old school flavor, but still unique. Definitely rooty. By the end of the loop I was ready to be back on Voodoo. I run coils front/rear on a short travel trail bike which smooths everything out pretty well. With anything else I think itíd be pretty miserable.

    Having ridden South Loop in both directions and I think clockwise is probably my preference. I still think itís a bit over rated, and Iíd only consider myself to be lower advanced skill wise but with above average endurance.

    Just my worthless $0.02

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