“One of Chattanooga's hidden gems that is perfect to beginner and intermediate mountain bikers.
— Kennard Yamada
Frequently see parents with children between the ages of 8-12 riding on Bauxite Ridge.
This is a hidden gem that few local Chattanooga mountain bikers know about. The trailhead is hidden but once inside, bikers of all experience levels are in for a real treat! There are manageable climbs, long flowy sections with pumps and jumps, tight twisty, tree-lined singletrack, easy rock gardens and a rocket-fast downhill exit.
Need to Know
NOTE: As of October 15, 2016, Bauxite is now daily directional! Signs are posted at several trailheads and intersections.
Even though the trail system is called Fenton Forest on Bauxite Ridge, everyone that I know calls the area "Bauxite."
Other than the “Rocky Road” on Pogo's Place
and an eight-tenths of a mile climb with a 5% grade at the start of the ride, this is a great ride for beginners as well as seasoned riders. There are two trailheads, one across from the cemetery on College Dr. and one at the top of Sunkist Terrace. If you use College Dr., park in the grassy field to the left of the cemetery.
Once on your bike, cross the road and enter the trail on the worn path that runs parallel to the left of the wooden fence. From there, you have an easy 0.8-mile climb up Forest Lane Trail
to the main trail system. If you use Sunkist Terrace, go to the top and park in the cul-de-sac. Ride around the gate, straight into the well-marked forest road to the water tower and you'll merge right into Oak Hole Lane
This trail is NOT directional and many of the segments are two-way trails. In many areas, oncoming traffic is moving fast. There are “call out” signs, and I use them without fail.
The most ridden route puts you on the main traffic flow and one lap gives you approximately ten miles. Starting from the cemetery parking, ride up Forest Lane Trail
and keep left onto Oak Hole Lane
. You can turn right here but it shortens the ride a bit.
Oak Hole merges into Rolling Ridge
. Ride Rolling Ridge
for about 1.2 miles and turn right into Pogo's Place
. This 0.9-mile trail has a cool feature that I call Rocky Road. I’ve included a photo. It’s a short, man-made path that travels around a giant, sloped bolder (that you can ride) that’s made up of flat stone and rocks. It’s much easier than it looks to the beginner but it’s also a great place to work on intermediate skills. If you are new to MTB, it’s easy to just walk your bike down but if you slide back on your seat, stay off your front brake and keep your eyes looking ahead, you’ll be surprised at how easy it really is.
At the end of Pogo's Place
, take the sharp hairpin turn (harder than the Rocky Road) onto Murky Marsh
. At this point, get ready for a straight, mile-long downhill with pumps, jumps, and berms. It alone makes the ride worth repeating.
At the end of the fun-run, you enter the marsh (which is neither murky nor marshy even after rain). At the bottom, you'll be winding through twisty singletrack, going through dry creek crossings, pump areas and small rocky patches. The climb out is really mild and drops you back onto Rolling Ridge
Take this back to Oak Hole Lane
fork and stay to the right for a mile climb and more for distance go left to shorten the ride but a steeper climb. Turn onto Forest Lane Trail
and buckle your seatbelt for a fast ride back to the parking lot next to the cemetery.
History & Background
What is Bauxite? Bauxite is not a mineral. It is a rock formed from a laterite soil that has been severely leached of silica and other soluble materials in a wet tropical or subtropical climate. It is the primary ore of aluminum. Almost all of the aluminum that has ever been produced has been extracted from bauxite.