Moving to ATL from NE. Need lowdown on local trail systems!- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Moving to ATL from NE. Need lowdown on local trail systems!

    Hey all,

    I've got a 3 year plan to transition a move to ATL from the Boston area. I work remotely now, but will have a commute to an office in Austell (West of Atlanta near Six Flags). We've started doing our research on neighborhoods, but I'd love to find out where some of the best local trails are.

    Currently, I ride 3-4 times a week and have a handful of 12, 15 & 20+ mile trail systems all with in 20 minutes of my doorstep. They range from rooty and rocky XC and classic New England Tech / Enduro. The terrain in GA seems super interesting from what little I've seen around Atlanta, but have yet to ride there.

    Any suggestions based purely on riding options? Is there a great spot to be in that I can have multiple riding options in all directions?

    Google seems to drum up the same handful of trail systems so I'm reaching out for some fresh local inspiration! I hope to get even more excited about the move beyond just warmer weather!! Braap!

    ALL input is appreciated.

    Thanks!
    Keith
    2019 Evil Offering (160/140 29")
    2017 Santa Cruz Chameleon (SS 29")
    2015 Salsa Blackborow (Fatty)
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  2. #2
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    Here is a link to help fill in the gaps:

    GA Trailheads: https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer...238867187&z=10

    (note not all of those trailheads are current, but many are)

    In general, I think the north side of the city is best for having a range of options for riding, like Sope Creek, Blanket's Creek, Rope Mill, Big Creek (lots of creek names), and Allatoona. There are some cool trails south of the city, like Cochran Mill Park near Chattahoochee Hills, and east of ATl, like the Olympic course in Conyers.

    But for the most part, north has more options. Living on the north side also puts you within ~1.5-2 hrs of some great rides in the N. GA mountains (Jake and Bull, Pinhoti, Mountaintown). You're also ~4 hrs from GREAT rides in NC (Pisgah, Dupont, etc).

    As far as areas to look at, I'd start with Woodstock if you want to be close to trails and have a longer commute and Marietta to be more central between work and trails.
    "Never trust a man in a blue trench coat. Never drive a car when you're dead." -- Tom Waits

  3. #3
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    This map is awesome! Thanks for the info. I was thinking more on the north side of city would be a better fit.

    I was stoked to see that places like Pisgah & Dupot are about as far away as Kingdom Trails, VT are from me now so I'd likely make a few trips to those massive trail systems a year.

    How big are most of those trails from that map (ie miles)?

    Are there any larger trail systems with 20+ miles in the area?

    What type of riding would you classify some of the more more active trail systems?

    Loaded question, but what kind of bike would I prefer to ride based on the local terrain? Here in New England, I can find a bit of everything so it could depend on my mood or where ever my riding buddies want to go next. Shy of any lift access parks, there is something for everyone. I gotta seed the "next bike" convo with my wife and the more research the better.

    Thanks again!
    K
    2019 Evil Offering (160/140 29")
    2017 Santa Cruz Chameleon (SS 29")
    2015 Salsa Blackborow (Fatty)
    2009 Redline Monocog 29er Flight (SS 29" Commuter)

  4. #4
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    Chicopee Woods in Gainsville (https://www.negasorba.org/chicopee-w...tb-trails.html) has ~20 miles of trail.

    I forgot to also include Coldwater Mtn. in Anniston, AL (about 2hrs from ATL). Very good stuff out there as well.

    There is a big range as far as mileage goes on those trail heads. Some are like 2-3 miles. Some are 10+. Allatoona, Blankets, Rope Mill, Sope, and Big Creek are the most popular riding areas, I'd say. They all have decent mileage, but not super long. Blankets is like 15, I think, Sope and Big Creek about 8.

    Some of these systems have freeride areas, but aside from that I'd call the trails around here a mix of XC/trail. Some are natural feeling, some are flowy machine-built. There is a good variety. Somewhat rocky and rooty everywhere, not a ton of big, chunky rock.

    Personally, I like a hardtail for ATL trails, and I like to singlespeed it from time to time. Keeps it interesting for me. But people here ride everything from rigid singlespeed to enduro-bro big hit bikes. As an all rounder, a 100-120mm fully is a safe bet. Up the travel if you think you'll hit Pisgah regularly. Your Chameleon could handle everything in the ATL area just fine.
    "Never trust a man in a blue trench coat. Never drive a car when you're dead." -- Tom Waits

  5. #5
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    I live in Marietta, two miles from the Sope Creek trailhead. I'm about 20-25 minutes to Rope Mill, Blanket's Creek and Big Creek. Just a bit longer to Allatoona Creek and Clinton Nature Preserve. I ride a short travel full suspension and a 80mm hardtail, thinking a bit about getting a rigid ss.

    Sope is about 7 miles plus you can add in 3 miles on the flat trails along the river (lots of hikers but it is very wide on the flats)

    Blanket's is about 14 miles. They recently put in some long alt lines on one of the trails so you can circle around or re-ride the trail using alt lines and get in more distance

    Rope Mill is also about 14 miles.
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  6. #6
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    I have a small system near me that I get 11.8 from if I hit everything (both ways on some connecting trails) so I'm no stranger to getting creative on days I feel like I want to get more in. Just not sure about the 2-3 mile stuff... that sounds more like a segment. lol

    Is there anything in the Sweetwater Creek area? Just thinking if I want to get some miles in before or after work it might be easy to access and help to kill time waiting for traffic to die down too.

    I noticed a marker on that map labeled Austell Threadmill MTB Park that might be another area to hit near work... Have either of you ridden there?

    If I could create a search radius that swings around Roswell, East Cobb, East Marietta, East Smyrna and Sandy Springs it sounds like it might give me a good starting point. Ultimately, I don't mind driving 20-30 mins to hit a trail head where I could sneak in a good 8-12 miles on. The only thing I have to work around is finding a location that my wife (a nurse) would be happy commuting to a hospital in 30mins or less. She does a 7-7 shifts so I imagine those are off hours and would help with traffic times for her commute. She is kinda leaning towards Emory, Northside and maybe Piedmont based on recommendations she's been getting.
    2019 Evil Offering (160/140 29")
    2017 Santa Cruz Chameleon (SS 29")
    2015 Salsa Blackborow (Fatty)
    2009 Redline Monocog 29er Flight (SS 29" Commuter)

  7. #7
    Horses and Bikes, Oh My!
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    Allatoona, mentioned earlier, has about 25 miles of trails. There is a 30 mile race there in October. They are the "flattest" trails in the metro area--but not really flat.
    All-A-Toona/Voodoo Race — SORBA West Georgia

    Clinton (see same SORBA West GA website) is not exactly by Sweetwater but not far. Out that way there are also about 7 miles of multi use trails at Boundary Waters Park (maybe 3? miles) that mtbs share with horses and runners.

    If you race cyclocross, there is a huge CX scene here. http://www.georgiacx.com.

  8. #8
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    Be forewarned, if you don't know, traffic is a major issue in metro Atlanta. The main hospital in Marietta is Kennestone.

    I work in Sandy Springs so I hit Big Creek after work or occasionally Charleston Park, though it is a bit of a drive and kind of meh. I rode Haw Creek a couple of weeks ago; never had ridden it as it's only a bit over 3 miles but I saw someone say it was good on a cx bike so I did 6 laps on mine and it was fun.

    I've never heard of that Treadmill MTB Park, I suspect it was a project that never got off the ground. I've only ridden Mt Tabor once, not worth the drive for me. I've also only ridden Clinton Nature Preserve once but will go back there, though the trails aren't very long so I ended up riding them multiple times. Allatoona Creek has improved a lot the last few years with some pretty good longer trails. Cochran Mills is a lot of fun and very scenic. There's also a really nice gravel ride and a popular area for road rides. Sorba Atlanta has some big plans for mtb trails in the area with the Ride and Fly project.

    You should be able to get to a trail system in 15-20 minutes and several more in 30 minutes and a lot more within an hour.
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  9. #9
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    I live Northeast of the city and work at Emory so i do make that drive every day but my hours are early so traffic is not too bad at 5am. Out my way is Harbins Park, Tribble Mill and also Ft Yargo. Yellow River is close as well as the Olympic trail at the Horse Park in Conyers but neither of these are really favorites (Horse Park is okay). Chicopee Woods is only about 30-40 minutes away and is a fun place to ride. The north Georgia mountains are really where it is at: Pinhoti, Aska Trails, Jake/Bull Mountain, Tanasi system in TN among others. Riding down here is really a year-round endeavor (if you don't mind going early and sweating during the summer months, lol). Good luck with your move!

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