Trail 301

Ellijay

A classic mountain bike loop through Fort Mountain State Park with plenty of views, challenging terrain, and plenty of history.

Mountain Biking Moderate

Distance
22 km
Ascent
887 m
Descent
887 m
Duration
2-3 hrs
Low Point
452 m
High Point
847 m
Gradient
15˚
Trail 301 Map

In contrast to the nearby Pinhoti Trail segments, this loop offers mountain bikers the opportunity to explore Fort Mountain State Park on less challenging trails. Just over 13 miles in length, this loop mostly follows old roadbeds around the perimeter of the mountain and offers multiple vistas, beautiful flora, and several landmarks from historic mining operations.

Description

There is a large trailhead for this loop located on the left side of the road as you're driving through the park. Its suitable for larger vehicles and Trail 301 begins on the other side of the road. At the first junction keep right, Trail 302 splits off to the left. From here, the remainder of the route is quite easy to follow and all intersections are blazed.

The southern portion of this loop hugs the contours of the mountain and offers a handful of views along the way. You'll also find a couple of benches where you could stop to catch your breath. The limited foliage in the cooler months provides better views than the heat of the summer. Expect some rolling climbs with limited technical features along the way.

As the trail winds around the western side of the mountain, you'll pass through a challenging rock garden before reaching a power line clearing. This section is the most fun as the trail heads downhill through several rock gardens and challenging terrain. Several switchbacks lie ahead as you descend to the lowest elevation point on the ride.

Continuing north, the trail meanders through the remnants of former talc mines of the early 1900's. You can see the entrances to these mines as well as countless pieces of machinery and old buildings for much of the ride ahead.

As you near the north side of the mountain, you will notice a few kiosks along your way with maps and other emergency information. It's never a bad idea to double check where you're at. After passing a large clearing with a picnic bench, you'll begin a long, steady ascent back to the trailhead.

There is no potable water on the way, but several small streams could be filtered if needed. In the summer months, don't underestimate the heat and remoteness of this loop, there is a high chance you may not encounter anyone for most of the day. With countless other trails and shorter loops, #301 is typically left for ambitions trail runners and mountain bikers due to its length.

Sources: https://www.sherpaguides.com/georgia/mountains/blueridge/western/fortmountainstatepark.html

Difficulty

Moderate

Mostly stable trail tread with some variability, with unavoidable obstacles 8in/20cm tall or less. Other obstacles such as rock gullies and steep sections may exist. Ideal for lower intermediate riders.

Medium Exposure

2 out of 4

The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.

Remoteness

3 out of 4

Little chance of being seen or helped in case of an accident.

Best time to visit

January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December

Features

  • Flow
  • Technical
  • Picturesque
  • Singletrack
  • In the forest
  • Wet-weather friendly
  • Roots
  • Rock Gardens

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area