This is a gravel grinder among some of the beautiful north Georgia mountains. You'll parallel and cross the Chattahoochee River which supplies much of the water to metro Atlanta. The 'Hooch is much cleaner up here, and you can expect to see a lot of anglers in the stream looking for trout on nice weekends.
Wear orange during hunting season. This ride passes through a popular Wildlife Management Area.
The ride starts from the game check station on Chattahoochee River Road (FS 44)
a short way past the intersection with Martin Branch Road (FS 178)
. There are several parking areas and campgrounds along the route where you could start, but starting at the game check station gets the big climb out of the way at the beginning.
From the game check station, turn right and climb up Chattahoochee River Road (FS 44)
. This is a good quality gravel road suitable for passenger cars, and you should expect to see a few of them. You'll climb about 1000 feet in the first 5 miles before the first descent. This first descent takes you to the Upper Chattahoochee Campground. This makes for a good resting point or alternate starting point. Horsetrough Falls is a 70-foot waterfall on the Chatthoochee River that is a 0.3-mile hike from the campground near mile 8.5, but you'll have to find somewhere to stash the bike during the hike.
After the campground, you've got another 900 foot climb, this time over 3 miles. This takes you to the intersection of Martin Branch Road (FS 178)
. Martin Branch Road (FS 178)
is a much more rough and tumble forest road, and you'll appreciate the suspension on the mountain bike. This road is also usually closed to vehicles, so you can really enjoy the long descent although you may encounter the odd equestrian or hiker. The lower reaches of Martin Branch Road (FS 178)
follow Martin Branch to its intersection with the Chattahoochee River.
After you cross the bridge over the Chattahoochee River, turn right for the short climb back to your car at the game check station.