The Tanasi trail system is highlighted as a Hall of Fame IMBA Epic
ride and features miles and miles of flowing singletrack with fantastic views of the famous Ocoee River.
This ride features over 30 miles of singletrack with a few sections of forest service road to tie it all together. Be prepared to climb over 4000 vertical feet as you start high above the lake feeding the river, descend to river level, and then climb above it again...and back!
The ride starts and ends at the Brush Creek
trailhead directly adjacent to Highway 64. There is a very long, narrow parking area exactly 2.4 miles south of the Ocoee Whitewater Center. Brush Creek
, Boyd Gap
, and Old Copper Road
are ridden at the start and finish of the ride before crossing the Ocoee River at the Whitewater Center. The ride then includes virtually all of the Tanasi trails west of the river.
This ride exactly follows the Black Bear Rampage race course with one notable exception. The race course starts at the Ocoee Whitewater Center on Highway 64 and climbs 2.4 miles south on the highway to the Brush Creek
trailhead. This ride skips the road climb and instead starts and finishes at the Brush Creek
The Brush Creek
trailhead is just a few yards east of the eastern end of the long parking lot.
Start on Brush Creek
and ride the singletrack for 6.2 miles. This section features a lot of smooth, rolling trail with little climbing. There is one notable intersection at about 4.6 miles where the rider should go left. Taking a right at that intersection will simply return the rider to the parking lot..way too early!
ends at the Ocoee Gorge parking area at a metal gate. From the gate, go left 100 feet or so and pick up Boyd Gap
Trail. Descend Boyd Gap
for 0.7 miles to a paved road, Number 3 Dam Rd.
Go left on Number 3 Dam Rd.
and descend sharply to the Ocoee River put-in. This area is heavily traveled by kayakers.
Behind the changing rooms, pick up Old Copper Road
. This wide singletrack trail follows the Ocoee just a few feet from the bank and features a couple stream crossings and some very rooty sections. It's not uncommon to ride along with whitewater rafters and kayakers as they navigate the rapids.
Old Copper Road
ends at the Ocoee Whitewater Center. Cross the long foot/bike bridge to reach the west bank of the Ocoee and pick up Bear Paw Loop
. Now the climbing begins. Climb steeply above the bridge to the start of the loop and go right. 0.7 miles from the start of the loop, take a right onto Chestnut Mountain Loop
Follow Chestnut Mountain Loop
for 0.2 miles to the intersection of the actual loop. Go right to begin the counterclockwise loop. After about 2.9 miles of climbing, take a right onto Thunder Rock Express
. This is one of the best descents of the ride, with narrow singletrack, lots of exposure and tight turns. Finish on gravel road FS45 and get ready for some intense climbing.
Go left and climb FS45 for 0.8 miles to West Fork
trailhead on the left. Note that the trailhead is NOT at the top of the climb, so don't miss it. Descend West Fork
a bit before it begins to climb again. The trail switches back on itself several times and finishes back on Chestnut Mountain Loop
Stay on Chestnut Mountain Loop
for about a half mile before starting Quartz Loop
. Go left at the start of the loop and ride it clockwise. Quartz Loop
circles one of the highest points of the trail system before returning to Chestnut Mountain Loop
. After rejoining the trail, pick up 1330 Bypass
and continue riding east for 0.9 miles.
The next few turns sound more confusing than they are. It's fairly clear while riding and there are trail signs. At the end of 1330 Bypass
, go right onto Chestnut Mountain Loop
for about 200 yards and then go left on River View Loop
. Follow River View Loop
for 3.3 miles where it rejoins Chestnut Mountain Loop
. Go right to return to the start of the loop and then go right again to return to Bear Paw Loop
. You can take a right here to ride the short part of the loop you didn't ride when you climbed it or you can go left and ride the longer side to add more distance. Either way, you'll end up at the out-and-back you took up from the Ocoee bridge over the river. Descend back to the Ocoee Whitewater Center. From this point on, you are riding back the way you came in.
Cross the foot/bike bridge at the Ocoee Whitewater Center and go right to Old Copper Road
. Climb along the river back to Number 3 Dam Rd.
and go left. Climb the pavement to Boyd Gap
and go right for the hardest climb of the ride. Climb Boyd Gap
(remember how fun it was to descend it? Now you're paying for it on dead legs) to the Ocoee Gorge parking area. Pick up Brush Creek
at the metal gate to the right and return all the way back to the parking area.