Located in the city limits of Winder, GA this trail offers a good combination of fast flowing trails, tight twisty climbs and descents, and features to challenge the intermediate XC rider. Good scenery with a few lake views.
Bypasses and shortcuts to Fort Yargo Inner Loop
allow you to create a ride of nearly any distance you desire.
The trail is well-maintained by Yargo Area Biking Association. The park personnel are friendly and helpful. When stopping by the office, ask to play with Knots the Kingsnake.
(there is a good map here)
$5 per car to enter the state park, and $3 per person to bike. Annual bike permits are available for $30 per family and are good at all Georgia state parks. Annual car parking permits are $50, also good at all state parks. Ask at the office for details.
You can park at the Barrow County Leisure Services Center on 2nd Street in Winder to avoid the $5 parking fee. Take the Winder Connecting Trail
to the outer loop. Be sure to stop by the office first to get your bike permit. If the office is closed, no bike permit is needed. Closing times vary by season, so check to be safe. If parking in the park, be sure to get a daily parking permit at a self-serve box unless you have an annual parking permit.
This description is for riding counter-clockwise.
The trail leaves the main parking lot at the left end. It begins with an optional boulder crossing, winds through a short rocky section, then joins the hardtop road a short distance to cross a bridge. From here the trail is shared with Fort Yargo Inner Loop
until you come to the trail fork on Heart Attack Hill. Follow its description until you come to the fork in the trail on Heart Attack Hill. Keep left to join continue on the outer loop. You'll continue up heart attack hill and cross a hardtop road.
Enjoy the jumps, then watch to your left for the Horseshoe Drop feature -- a 15'-deep gully with two crossings. The easiest the the leftmost (northern) drop. Ride around the gully, then cross. Just don't brake, and you'll pop out the other side. Lots of fun and not difficult at all.
From Horseshoe Drop, continue down to a ravine crossing, then up Cemetery Hill. As a climb, Cemetery Hill is not remarkable. The old cemetery is to the right. Feel free to explore it.
You'll cross a hardtop road, which leads into section B of the park. Turning left would take you to the boating area, foot bridge crossing the lake, and Fort Yargo Inner Loop
. Continue across the road. You'll pass close to GA highway left, then down a little rooty hill to an intersection. Turning left would take you to the boat ramp and Fort Yargo Inner Loop
. Keep straight to stay on the outer loop.
Cross a small bridge, entering the Deadwood Hill area. The trail proceeds up Deadwood Hill, down to the lakeside, back up Deadwood Hill, then downhill through a cleared area. You can get some air here! (A power line used to run through this cleared area, but the power company moved it out to along highway 81 because too many trees were falling on them.)
Cross a metal bridge, go through a small wooded area with a fun gully crossing, coming out on a gas line clearing. This begins the climb to the beginning of Monster Mile
. The trail reenters the woods, crosses under some high-tension lines, and comes to a large tree crossing a log road. Ride under the tree to get to Fort Yargo Inner Loop
. The outer loop continues to the left into a gully crossing.
At the top of the hill is Monster Mile
and Monster Mile bypass
. Take Monster Mile
, which exits at the gas line. Cross the gas line, pass the Monster Mile bypass
to your left, and ride below the dam.
The trail climbs up through some woods, passes a hardtop park road on your left, then climbs steeply up to a rest area with a bench.
A steep short descent takes you to level, then crosse a hardtop road. Cross a wooden bridge, then ride Three-Step Hill
. Soon after Three-Step Hill
, cross Boys Home Road -- use to bypass the grown-up part of Winder Connecting Trail
to get to Inner Loop
, then cross Winder Connecting Trail
Cross another hardtop road. The trail winds through a small patch of woods before coming back to near the hardtop road on your left. You csn also see Fort Yargo Inner Loop
a few feet through the brush to your left.
A few minutes later, cross a wooden bridge. This begins a fun section of trail that winds up and down the side of a hill paralleling a park road.
Descend into a cleared area. To your left is Birdberry Nature Trail (which is a shortcut back to parking) and a botanical garden maintained by a local garden club.
The trail runs parallel to a park road, with a short ascent and descent, then a creek crossing. The ford is not well maintained and can be extremely slippery. Take the bridge crossing.
Climb out of the creek, a couple ups and downs, then race to the parking are over a short doubletrack section. Use caution crossing the paved driveway to some cottages.
Ride Turtle Creek -- Fort Yargo Beginner Loop
to cool down.