Looking for something exciting to do on your next trip to Helen, Georgia?
Over the course of the past several years, mountain biking has grown increasingly popular. Not only is this an activity that provides a fantastic physical workout, but it also offers people the opportunity to connect with nature and get their adrenaline pumping. In addition to this, biking with family or friends throughout the northern Georgia mountains can help you to create memories that will last for a lifetime.
Those who love to bike, or who are interested in biking, will be delighted to learn that Helen, Georgia is home to several excellent biking trails. Regardless of whether you're a beginner, or have been riding for years, you'll find a trail that will suit your specific needs. This quick guide will connect you to the best mountain biking trail for your particular skill level.
Beginner Tril : The Gap Ride
Even if you have never really tried your hand at mountain biking in the past, there's no reason why you can't enjoy an exhilarating ride in northern Georgia. Woody's Mountain Bikes, which is located on Highway 356 in Helen, helps to set newbies up with mountain bike and helmet rentals, and then allows them to take a journey that they will be able to handle, and that they will remember fondly for the rest of their lives.
First, you will be shuttled to the top of The Gap Ride trail to the top of the mountain. You will be dropped of with a trail map, and will have the ability to ride all the way back down to Woody's on a Forest Service Road through the national forest. Because the road is composed of compacted dirt that is very wide and smooth, it is considered to be safe for beginner riders. Riders from the ages of 10 all the way up to folks who are in their 60s have been known to have a great time on this ride, which is 65% downhill.
This self-guided tour will give you the opportunity to ride at your own pace, stopping to look at points of interest, take pictures, or catch your breath whenever you need to. And you'll want to make a few stops. The ride along the trail back to Woody's will take you past nearly a dozen waterfalls, including the Horse Trough Falls which compose the headwaters of the magnificent Chattahoochee River.
The Gap Ride is 14 miles long, and will generally require riders to set aside at least 2 - 5 hours of their time to complete, depending on how often they stop, and how long they spend on each break.
Intermediate Ride : Unicoi Mountain Bike Trail
Unicoi State Park is home to numerous hiking trails, but it also houses an excellent mountain biking trail for intermediate riders. Considered to be moderate in intensity, this 7.5 mile loop trail is composed of a compacted soil surface, and will take riders across a spectacular mountainous terrain. Some truly incredible scenic overlooks can be enjoyed all along the way. After arriving at the trailhead which is located at the Angler/mountain biking parking area, you will begin to ride the trail, counter clockwise, in a 7.5 mile "figure 8" across Smith Creek and through wooded areas. Should the trail become too difficult, or should the ride be too long, you will have the option to take an early exit after riding only the first half of the path.
Advanced Experience : Hickory Nut Ridge Trail
Although the Mountain Bike Trail at Unicoi will certainly get your blood pumping through your veins, the most experienced riders will want a trail that will push them to the limit. The Hickory Nut Trail is considered to be one of the most difficult mountain bike paths in all of Georgia, and it is recommended that riders do not attempt to conquer it on their own. The 19 mile long loop trail can be accessed from Woody's via Highway 365, Highway 17/75 and FS 79; expect a very steep ascent for the first 8 or 9 miles, gaining some 2,500 feet in elevation. Although the ride up to the top is generally well-maintained and without many obstacles (other than the sheer incline of the slope), the backside of the trail can be very washed out and filled with big rocks throughout your decent. Be sure to embrace safe riding practices and bring any supplies required for a long and strenuous journey. Those who do brave this trail will be rewarded by some truly gorgeous scenery.
A world of adventure awaits those who make the decision to experience mountain biking in northern Georgia. Which mountain biking trails have you visited in Helen, Georgia? Feel free to leave any tips on these paths in the comments section of our blog.
image 2: forums.mtbr.com