“The trail follows the main ridge of Fort Mountain before plunging off on a steep, rocky trail with many switchbacks
— Lost Justpastnowhere
There is a $5 parking fee at the trailhead in addition to a $3 permit fee for each rider, or you can buy annual passes for parking ($50) and biking ($25) at all Georgia State Parks. Registration is required even if you have an annual pass. Since trails may be closed for maintenance or inclement weather, check with the Park Office to ensure availability.
From the mountain bike parking area, head out on Trail 301 (East - West Loop)
. Cross the main park road and shortly thereafter, turn left onto the Cool Springs Trail. The Cool Springs Trail runs gently up and down the main ridge of Fort Mountain through the dense forest. The trailbed is cleared 3-4 feet wide of plants, but the trail itself doesn't get much use so don't expect buff singletrack. Still, it's generally an easy ride to the parking area for the Cool Springs Overlook about 1.0 mile from the start.
Beyond the overlook, the trail becomes much more difficult. A very rocky trail descends very steeply (500 feet in 0.6 mi) down to Trail 301 (East - West Loop)
. There are a lot of large, loose rocks in the trailbed, especially in the numerous switchbacks making them particularly challenging. The advanced crowd will enjoy bouncing down the trail among the rocks as fast as they dare.
The climb out along the reverse route is of course it's own challenge. The park recommends to continue clockwise along Trail 301 (East - West Loop)
back to the parking lot, but the climb out on that route isn't really any easier plus it goes down an additional 400 feet before going back up.