Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Mountain Biking in Helen

Recently went mtb riding in Helen this weekend. Part of the town was totally ravaged from tornadoes in the aftermath of Katrina. So, the trail we had chosen to do was closed, and we could see why. Trees were down everywhere. But, there are still many trails available. You can also go pay Woody to shuttle you to a trail, but we were just looking for tips on local trails. So, here is the low down in no particular order.

1. Helen-6.5 miles, about 1 hour, mostly single track, starts on Chattahoochee Street. This is the trail we chose that was closed. It is also used for national NORBA races. We'll be back.

2. Jasus Creek-12 miles, about 1.5 hours, forest service and double track, starts on FS44 at the Game Check station. This is the trail we did instead. Sept. 10th marked the opening of archery season, unbeknownst to us, and it was quite crowded as far as National Parks go. The area is beautiful though, and complete with great camping and fishing sites.

3. Upper Hooch-15.5 miles, about 2 hours, forest service, on FS44. This is another loop in the same area as Jasus creek. We'll be back to check this one out soon.

4. Tennesse Divide-24 miles, about 3 hours, forest service and pavement, on FS44. Starts at the game check station, but heads out the opposite direction to the highway and then picks up FS79. You cross the state line and then head back into the national park. How often do you get to ride in 2 states in one day?

And, the Mecca for all that is mountain bike....

5. Hickory Nut-19.5 miles, kudos if you can do it under 3, single track, forest service, pavement. This ride has it all and is the most difficult ride in Georgia. You can pay Woody, or you can do it yourself. I will do this ride one day, but I wonder if Lance Armstrong's new found interest in mountain biking will send him back to Georgia to ride fat tire style.

I tried to map off the trail heads for all these rides on the map, but if your serious about mountain biking in Georgia, I strongly recommend Off the Beaten Track Volume III: North Georgia. And if you're biking in Helen, take time to stop by some of my favorite places, Betty's Country Store (Yumm!), and The Wurst Haus-for traditional German food and icy cold beer, so nice after a ride.
Happy Trails!