This ride features a long dirt road climb so that most of the singletrack is downhill. But the uphills never really stop!
The best way to do this ride is to spend a night or more at Mulberry Gap MTB getaway. This is the start and end of this ride. The Mulberry Gap folks specially cater to cyclists.
This ride starts and ends at Mulberry Gap MTB getaway, a camping and cabin plan catering to MTBers.
You start the ride by heading left out of Mulberry Gap, going for a brief downhill. That is the last downhill you'll see in a while. At the first intersection, go right on Old CCC road. This starts up with a bucolic ramble on a dirt road past various private cabins in the national forest. Once you pass the last cabin, the real climbing starts. When you get to the intersection with Conasauga road (also known as Potato Patch road), you of course head uphill rather than staying on CCC which starts to drop after the intersection.
The grade up Conasauga is remarkably uniform which allows you to get in the zone just below your anaerobic threshold and continue up and up. I usually stay in the zone and skip the side attraction of a nice waterfall and continue on until you get to the scenic overlook (you'll know it when you see it). Stop there and take in the view and let your legs recover.
After you've had your fill, head uphill a little bit more and you soon get to the upper Bear Creek trail trailhead (there's a dirt parking lot here, but who would drive up? The climb is great!).
Bear Creek trail starts out as downhill singletrack, paralleling the road. After a few really tight switchbacks, it crosses a creek and joins an old doubletrack (no motorized vehicles). Although "just" doubletrack, this downhill section has lots of bends and turns and is a blast to take at speed. Just don't miss the turn off this doubletrack for the really fun downhill. This turn is actually at the endpoint of this trail as uploaded here. You'll notice it as the burned in track heads off to the right rather than turning back along the contour.
After a short doubletrack section, a great downhill singletrack starts. This is really fun.
After a large stream crossing at the bottom, you join up with the Pinhoti 1
. But rather than go onto that right now, you'll go climb and do that fun downhill again. You do this by looking for the left onto an uphill section of Pinhoti 1
that brings up to the upper part of Bear Creek. After this short singletrack uphill, you go left on the Bear Creek doubletrack and climb a nice scenic climb back to where the singletrack downhill starts.
This time after the big creek crossing, you continue downhill paralleling the creek. You pass one major feature of this climb, which is an enormous Poplar tree on your right. Stop and admire.
Then follow the creek down some more until you reach the point where Pinhoti 1
climbs off to the right (there are signs). This is the start of a long arduous climb - it hurts so good! The beautifully constructed trail, with perfect grades, and great views that only get better as you climb makes the climb all the more fun.
After a little more than a mile you get to the top, and start an incredible singletrack downhill that goes for over a mile, with just a small uphill section in the middle. Switchbacks keep you on your toes, while nothing can wipe the smile off your face.
The trail flattens out in a valley with a bridge crossing the creek. Just to keep you honest, the trail starts climbing again, this time on an old doubletrack.
The trail ends on a forest service road. Take a left on this dirt road but only for short while till you get to a doubletrack heading to the right. This is Pinhoti 2
. After a short downhill, this doubletrack starts to climb. At its end, you take a sharp right past a closed gate onto an old doubletrack that soon starts riding like a singletrack. While the climbing is less steep here, you are still going uphill.
When you reach the top, the trail turns to pure singletrack and starts pointing downhill. The trail follows a ridge, although there are a couple of short uphills thrown in. The trail ends on Mulberry Gap road. Take a right climb over the actual gap. Once over the gap, it is a short downhill to the end.