Dawson Forest is closed to mountain bikers and equestrians the first week in August. Riding is not allowed during firearms deer hunting days and not before 10:00 a.m. during deer archery and spring turkey hunting days or anytime the main gate is closed.
From the parking lot, follow the orange and blue blazes north. The first 0.4 miles is a warm-up section on forest road - you'll pass by a mysterious, heavily fenced building just north of the parking lot which is a relic of the sites' past use.
At 0.4 miles, turn left onto a former roadbed turning into a singletrack to begin climbing. After a half mile, the singletrack gives way to forest road again. This first climb section features the best descent on the trail going down some flowy doubletrack, great place to session and get some laps on. At a road junction around 1.2 miles, turn right. Shortly thereafter, the orange trail splits off to the left as a singletrack.
The singletrack continues for about three miles, winding gently up and down through the forest. The trail generally parallels a forest road and there are several bail options if it becomes too much. At four miles, the trail will join the road just before a three-way road intersection. Continue straight onto the forest road which begins descending. The forest road then becomes a singletrack and you have another fun 200 ft descent.
You'll pedal in the Etowah River Valley for a short distance in a section that includes a couple creek crossings. Then you've got a really difficult 0.5 mile, 150 ft singletrack climb.
At the top of this singletrack, turn right onto the forest road and follow it back to the same three-way road intersection you passed through earlier. From there, turn left to follow the singletrack back to the parking lot.
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