MTB Project Logo

A nice little ride along the shores of Lake Russell.

Your Rating: Rating Rating Rating Rating Rating      Clear Rating
Your Difficulty:
Your Favorites: Add To-Do · Your List
Zoom in to see details
Map Key







1,114' 340 m


996' 304 m


388' 118 m


385' 117 m



Avg Grade (1°)


Max Grade (7°)

Dogs Leashed

E-Bikes Unknown


This loop provides a nice, lakeside ride with a bit of streamside as well. Most of the old-school singletrack is mellow with only a couple of short, hard climbing sections.

The trail was originally a hiking-only trail that recently opened to bikes in 2016. The trail is a part of the developed US Forest Service recreation area with developed camping, bathhouses, swim area, and picnic area. The lake is perfect for canoeing and kayaking as only electric motors are allowed.

Need to Know

This is a US Forest Service Recreation area next to the WMA. The day use fee is $5. The America the Beautiful (ATB) Passes are accepted for day use only and available at all USDA Forest Service Offices and National Park Service Offices.

The ATB passes are Annual Pass at $80 per year, Senior Pass is annual $20 per year or $80 for a lifetime pass. Military passes and Access (permanent disability passes) are no charge. All these passes when displayed on the vehicle or number written on the fee envelope and that displayed on the vehicle will allow free day use access.

Camping only the Senior and Access passes are accepted and allow a 50% discount on single sites, no discount on group sites.


The preferred riding direction is clockwise. From the Nancytown Lake Trailhead, there is a footbridge that would require you to descend steep steps and cross a bridge. The suggested mountain bike route, however, begins by traveling clockwise around the Nancytown Lake.

Go through the gate and follow the paved road, turn right and go through the day use picnic parking area, cross the footbridge and you'll be on the Ladyslipper Trail #951. Just before a steep climb, look for a trail to your right that carries you around the rest of the lake (look for the large picnic shelter). Just before the Nancytown Dam the trail turns left and connects into the Lake Russell Loop Trail.

The trail winds through pines and hardwoods along the shores of the lake. Although there are only a couple of difficult grades, the narrow, root-laden tread and proximity to the water in many places will keep you on your toes. This is old-school singletrack with some short, quick turns and lots of short ups and downs.

You'll continue to wind along the lake shore and around the coves for a couple of miles. You'll finally come out on the dam. At the end of the dam, there is a spillway. The trail normally turns left and downhill to a footbridge, but the footbridge was washed away in flooding in the fall of 2020. There are plans to replace the bridge by 2023. Turn right and follow the trail down to the spillway. You'll have to ride through ankle-deep water to get up on the concrete spillway. Cautiously ride across the spillway and turn right on the other side.

Once on the other side of the spillway, the trail continues on a gated gravel road for about 0.5 miles. When you reach a paved road, the trail continues directly across the road with a short, steep downhill. Continue to wind along drainages with several bridges.

As you approach the lake shore, there will be a short series of three or four rideable concrete steps. You'll continue along the edge of a campground area then into the developed swimming area. Follow the sidewalk in front of the bathhouse (yield to pedestrians). Continue to follow the trail along the picnic area up a short climb until the trail turns right into the woods along the lake.

After some nice singletrack, the trail will enter the paved FS road - continue clockwise (right). Approximately 100 yards down the paved road is a metal entry gate and boat ramp. To the left of the entry gate the singletrack resumes. After a short climb you'll be rewarded with elevated views of the lake (particularly when the leaves are gone).

As you descend back downhill look for a hard right before you get to the bottom of the hill. You'll ultimately come out on the paved Lake Russell Road - enter with caution and turn right. In just a few yards turn left on the paved road toward the parking areas. In just a few yards cross the bridge and turn right before the fee tube onto singletrack. This will return you to the parking area.

History & Background

You'll see a lot of interesting stone work. Much of this was done by the Civilian Conservation Corps.


Shared By:

Keith Owen with improvements by Barb Ramey

Trail Ratings

  3.6 from 7 votes


  3.6 from 7 votes
5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
2 Star
1 Star
Recommended Route Rankings


in Georgia


13 Views Last Month
2,685 Since Oct 27, 2016
Intermediate Intermediate



Nancytown Lake in autumn
Mar 24, 2018 near Mount Airy, GA
Swampy area around Nancy Town Lake
Mar 24, 2018 near Mount Airy, GA
Gap jump?  Nancytown/Lake Russell trail goes around this bridge
Mar 24, 2018 near Mount Airy, GA
View of Lake Russell
Nov 30, 2016 near Mount Airy, GA


Current Trail Conditions

All Clear 98 days ago
Add Your Check-In


Join the Community

Create your FREE account today!
Already have an account? Login to close this notice.

Get Started.