Ridden from south to north, this portion of the Georgia Pinhoti Trail begins at a small trailhead parking lot on East Armuchee
Rd. The Strawberry Mt portion lies to the west. The parking area at East Armuchee
Rd has room for 3-4 cars and no facilities or fee. It's also possible to take FS 310 and park where it meets the creek.
This is a multiuse trail, also frequently used by equestrians and hikers, to whom mountain bikers should always yield. The trail is cooperatively maintained by NWGA SORBA, the Back Country Horsemen of Northwest Georgia, and the Georgia Pinhoti Trail Association.
The trail is generally very well-marked at all intersections, look for the white blaze with a turkey foot. Therefore, it's generally not necessary to give turn by turn instructions. Combining the map with trail blazes, the path is generally obvious.
The difficulty level depends a lot on the section and while some portions are admittedly easy, most is at least intermediate in technical and certainly aerobic challenge. However, there are plenty of more technically challenging sections, enough of which are there that when coupled with the number and steepness of climbs, overall this garners a difficult rating. The first 4 miles pass through the Dry Creek
trail system where it has connections to Turkey
, Dry Creek
, and Wheat
trails. See the map for pertinent locations. The first four miles are a jumble of wide, easy singletrack and doubletrack/abandoned service road. This does include a notable creek crossing at mile 2.3 which can vary from a few inches deep to waist-high, as well as a climb of several hundred feet just after the creek.
From mile 4 to about 6.5 is all sweet singletrack including an initial climb, with plenty of classic Pinhoti rocks and roots. Then comes a one-mile descent on gravel service road, followed by nothing but singletrack until the end. This is initially a hump over Pine Needle Hill, then a roll through the Pilcher's Pond
area, then a high climb and descent over Horn Mountain with a ride along the ridgetop for part of it with wintertime views, which includes the highest point on this portion of the trail. The final descent down Horn Mt can be exhilirating.
Caution as you cross paved road Ga 136 into the large parking lot. Either call it a day or continue on for another 17 miles of Pinhoti over 4 more mountains.