“A good mix of technical and fast flowing sections beneath a hardwood forest.”
— Lost Justpastnowhere
Dauset Nature Center is a private preserve with the best trail system in middle Georgia. The trails pass through thick hardwood forest and because there is no hunting, there's a good chance you'll encounter some deer. This route follows the recommended advanced route which covers most of the singletracks in the preserve. It's a great mix of rocky and rooty technical sections with short but fast flowing downhills. Hop onto the adjacent out-and-back Indian Springs Trail
for an additional 6.0 miles of singletrack along Chief McIntosh Lake into Indian Springs State Park.
Need to Know
- If there has been a recent downpour, some sections may get muddy and slow, but for the most part it drains well.
- All of the major intersections are well-marked with numbers and large arrows show the recommended routes. This advanced route is signed with black arrows. In a few places, there are two black arrows with "1" or "2" on them pointing in different directions. In this case, follow the direction for the arrow with the number "1" the first time you pass and the arrow with the number "2" the second time around (makes sense, but not necessarily obvious the first time). Of course the best way to follow this route is to download the GPX from MTBProject.
- The recommended intermediate route (blue arrows) follows markers 1 through 20 in order. It covers everything but Huff 'n Puff and is about 11.5 miles in length.
- A beginner route (green arrows) is also signed following markers 1 > 2 > 3 > 11 > 12 > 18 > 19 > 20. It's about 3.0 miles total.
Warm up on the easy, flowy Bootlegger Trail
singletrack. At the end of this trail, continue straight onto Fern Gully
at a four-way intersection. From Fern Gully
, you'll cross a bridge over Long Branch Creek. Turn left and then quickly right towards Huff 'n Puff Trail
Huff 'n Puff is the premier and most difficult trail at Dauset Nature Center with more elevation change than the others at Dauset. There are a lot of moderately challenging root bundles, a few rocks, and several 2-4 foot dips and rises. You could probably jump off a few of the dips, but they are all rollable too. At the end of Huff 'n Puff, you'll come to a picnic area with a trail map. You'll need the map if you haven't downloaded a GPX or MTB Project mobile app
because there are several trails at this intersection and it's easy to take the wrong one.
This route follows Leftover
, which is a pleasant trail along Long Branch Creek. At the end of Leftover
, turn left onto Sandy Creek Trail
which follows Sandy Creek. There is a bit of a wicked climb at the beginning of Sandy Creek with roots in all the wrong places, but with a little power and finesse, you can clean it. After that, it's pretty smooth sailing along (and hopefully not in!) the creek. Continue to follow the creek along Brownlee Trail
Brownlee wraps back on itself and you end up at another multi-trail intersection. Turn right onto Leftover
and then right again at the next big, confusing intersection onto Long Branch
. Long Branch
has some fun, flowy switchbacks before it becomes more tame along Long Branch Creek.
The rest of the loop has more buttery singletrack similar to what you've already ridden. After you pass the bridge on your left, turn right onto Wagon Track
which becomes Turkey Trot
. When you reach Dauset Loop Road
, continue straight onto Pine Mountain Trail
. At the end of Pine Mountain Trail
, another short stint on Long Branch
takes you to the 10 Two 18
Finally, what great ride doesn't finish with a little Moonshine!
History & Background
The Dauset Nature Center was created by Hampton Daughtry in 1977 with the idea to set aside a preserve for the enjoyment of nature and hiking. In addition to the hiking and biking trails, the preserve features various gardens and exhibits of both farm and wild animals (the wild have all been previously rescued from injuries but are not fit for re-release into the wild).