Despite the name, expect to get wet on this ride. There are four crossings of East Armuchee Creek and about a dozen smaller creek crossings. You'll start out with some easier singletrack before doing a short stretch on the long distance Pinhoti Trail. The second half of the ride is more challenging with a rockier trail featuring multiple creek crossings, short dips and rises, and one arduous climb. The ride finishes with with some mellow riding along and through East Armuchee Creek back to the parking area.
The ride circles the Dry Creek trail system, so you're never far from a short cut or bail option. Most of the intersections are well marked, but because of the number of intersections, you'll be wise to download the GPX from MTB Project or use the MTB Project mobile app
Trail entrances and intersections are generally well marked, but with trail numbers and not trail names.
This trail system is shared with equestrians. Watch for horses in blind corners and be mentally prepared for horse shizzle.
The route starts at a small parking area off FS 226. There is a larger parking area with pit toilet at mile 17.5 on the route, but it is geared towards equestrian users and charges a $5 day use fee.
The Dry Creek
singletrack starts just across FS 226 from the parking area. This is a nice, if little-used trail, with little elevation change. It passes through a logged area with a "view" across the ridge. You might find thorny weeds encroaching Dry Creek
Trail in the dead of summer where the forest canopy hasn't grown back from recent logging, but these will peter out as you turn onto Mount Joy
trail where the canopy is more established. Mount Joy
is otherwise similar to the Dry Creek
segment: flat, fast, and flowing. Do keep in mind that the trail system gets equestrian use, so you'll have to watch your speed in any blind turns.
merges back into Dry Creek
for a short climb before you reach the Pinhoti Trail. Turning left takes you downhill towards the paved East Armuchee Road. Just before you reach the paved road, look for a sharp right turn onto Turkey
Trail climbs gently but then you can bomb back down the hill to merge with the Pinhoti Trail again for a short distance.
The Pinhoti Trail takes you down to the first major crossing of East Armuchee Creek. If the creek isn't too high and you are careful, you might not get your feet wet pedaling through it. After crossing the creek, ignore the singletrack that heads down towards the right and instead head up the gravel road a couple hundred feet and then look for the right onto Wheat
heads generally downhill for about a mile, splashing through 4 or 5 creek beds depending on recent rains. None of the creek crossings are terribly technical, but overall Wheat
Trail is more rocky and technical than the earlier trail segments. Just after the 10 mile mark, you'll reach a 4 way intersection with the Wheat
Trail (which is in the form of a figure 8). Turn left to keep on the upper fork, continuing another mile of gentle dips and rises with a handful of creek crossings.
At this point, you'll come to an intersection with the East Armuchee
Trail. East Armuchee
Trail is the most technical train in the loop, but really not much more difficult than Wheat
. You'll climb gently at first to an intersection with Saddlehorn
. This is a good bail point if you're feeling toasted. After this intersection, East Armuchee
Trail embarks on the longest (200 ft), steepest (~5%) climb of the loop. It's not too difficult unless you're feeling toasted after the first 12 miles.
The downhill on the other side is just a bit steeper, and then you head down to the 2nd crossing of East Armuchee creek. Again, you might survive with dry feet if you ride through. The trail runs down the valley for a short distance before you come to the third and deepest crossing. Unless the water is very low, expect to get wet at this crossing. After this crossing, some more pleasant flowing singletrack runs along the creek until the singletrack ends at FS 226C. Turn left and ford the creek one final time and then right at the road intersection just after the creek.
This will take you to the alternate equestrian parking. However just before you reach the lot there is a singletrack, Loblolly
Spur, which takes you to Loblolly
dead ends at Dry Creek
. An easy, but grassy trail takes you back to your car.