Week of November 2-9, 1995
Fear not the volcanoes of New Zealand
Mountain biking in Georgia
Q: I need to get out of the cold and wet. Could you recommend a good place to bike either down South or out East? I will be driving and prefer trails to streets.
A: We suggest heading down to the Chattahoochee National Forest, about two hours north of Atlanta in northern Georgia. Take your pick of challenging rides from an extensive network of routes through the southern Appalachian Mountains, many of which have recently been converted by the Forest Service to singletrack trails. If you go, be sure to bring a topo map; it's easy to lose your bearings in these black oak, red maple, and pine woods. For a good warm-up, try the moderately challenging Bear Creek Trail, a 6.7-mile figure-eight loop that takes you through rhododendron and hardwood groves and past the huge yellow Gennett Poplar--the state's largest poplar tree. Another good bet is the more primitive Mountaintown Creek Trail, a 5.6-mile loop that winds up from Hills Lake past a series of streams and waterfalls to a Forest Service Road and south to the trailhead. Be prepared, though, for difficult pedaling and wet feet: The inclines and stream crossings on this route will definitely keep you on your toes. You can pick up both trailheads about 15 miles east of Chatsworth, off Route 52. If you're looking for one last Sunday afternoon spin before getting back into the car, try the relatively easy 2.7-mile South Fork Trail--about 35 miles northeast of the first two trailheads--off Route 5 just outside of Blue Ridge. This windy singletrack parallels the south fork of the Jacks River, crossing the river only once; keep your eyes open for black bears and don't stop for copperheads. For more information, contact the main visitor information line at 770-399-8070, or check out "Esprit de Knobby" in the Destinations section of our April 1993 issue.