From the North trailhead you pass the gate and go UP a potholed chip-and-seal road that soon turns to gravel/dirt. The singletrack starts on the left as you approach the second set of towers. It continues along Rocky Face and Hurricane Mountains about 6-7 miles before descending to a forest road (also open to ATV's). Continue right down this road for a mile or so, and when the road hairpins left, the trail breaks to the right. From here it is up the East side of Mill Creek Mountain along an old forest road which may or may not be open to ATV's. At ridgetop the trail becomes
doubletrack of sorts, being that you usually only have one choice for a good line through the rocks. Mostly there is no good line. You rollercoaster along the top of the ridge, which can be treacherous when covered in leaves. The descent to the South trailhead is a technical, moderately graded set of switchbacks which I do not recommend riding in the dark, with or without a light! I unfortunately was subject to the latter for 20 minutes or so.
Jim Parham's book for N. Georgia mountain biking suggests a loop for this trail, using the paved back roads (described in the directions above) for about a third of the mileage. Being that the other two thirds of single/doubletrack and forest road provided me with the most grueling ride of my life outside of any race, I would recommend Parham's route only for the INSANE! My friend and I (DO NOT ride this trail alone!) ran a shuttle between the two trailheads, thinking that 16+ miles would be a decent afternoon ride, and we're not interested in riding mountain bikes on pavement anyway
(one of my pet peeves with many of Parham's routes!).
We are not extreme hammerdogs, yet neither are we chubby beginners. The 16+ miles took us nearly 5 hours!
This does include about 30 minutes of being turned around / lost, and the wet weather made any part of the trail not on the ridgetop slow going. Such sections would be the fast parts of this trail in dry
conditions I'm sure, because the ridgetops have got to be the most rocky, often quite challenging trails I've ever negotiated. I don't think I broke 10 mph the entire time, probably averaging closer to 4 or 5! You definitely have to pay attention, so save your winter sightseeing for the stops, which will be many. I defy any expert to ride this trail dab-free - I will go to my grave believing that to be impossible! Though I did enjoy the technical challenge and the satisfaction of completing a hard ride, this trail is not my cup of tea. I prefer cruising like Tsali, and Pinhoti North is the antithesis of that. It's a multi-use trail built by the Boy Scouts and I swear they must've had some grudge against mountain bikers! If you are looking for a grunty, gasping, technical challenge then
Pinhoti North is a five wheelie trail. For my personal experience, I will not likely ride it again, being that there are so many other trails I'd prefer - two wheelies. TC
North trailhead: I-75 exit at GA 52/Walnut Ave. Go west
up hill on Dug Gap Rd.past Convention Center to Dug Gap Battle Park. You can park in the pullout on the right, the trail starts 200 yds. further at a gated road (going UP)on the left.
South trailhead: Follow above directions and continue on down Dug Gap Rd. It merges into Hurricane Rd. and goes into the town of Mill Creek, where you turn left (at a 'T")on Mill Creek Rd. Go apprx. 2 miles and turn left on Lower Mill Creek Rd. which will take you about 4 miles to GA 136. Turn left and go apprx. 1.5 miles to large National Forest trailhead parking lot on the left. - OR - I-75 exit GA 136 go west apprx. 11 miles to N.F. parking lot on right.
Summary: I haven't yet completed this trail from end to end. I have ridden the South trail completely and done this North one part-way out and back from both sides. It's just how and where we parked our one vehicle.
Yes the North end is rocky but you're off road and that's all I ask for. If you get grumpy on your ride or if you hike a bit, treat yourself to a good dinner later and you can brag to folks who didn't even try it.
I did not rate this a 5/5 for aerobic/technical because it's up to you how hard you go and how far. You should take water and snacks and ride with a buddy. This is a great trail but you don't want to be careless.
Recommended Route: I prefer to park at the Pinhoti Trail Parking on #136. From here you can ride North or South trails. We're driving North on I-75, so we turn right on #136 and go West and North about 11 miles to the parking. The trail may be shared with horses and hikers but I've never met anyone who was even remotely grouchy. How can you be when you're outdoors having fun?
Other recommended trails in the same area: Look at the Northwest GA SORBA (Southern Off Road Bicycle Association. Member up y'all.) web site for better details and maps.
Look for the Pinhoti time trial series starting in January '08 for three races. Unless you're really, really good you'll be out for a Fun Ride with the rest of us.
For other fun group rides look at the Wheelhopper.com site. We will ride this area on Oct 21, 07.
Summary: We took the one-way option from Dug Gap to the 136 parking area on 06/26/2005. My odometer measured 16.3 miles. The first few miles of the singletrack were brutally rocky. The trail was rocky in patches for the rest of the singletrack. After having ridden about sixty trails in GA thus far, I would say that this trail was the rockiest. The only trails I can think of that come close are the rockiest parts of the Farlow Gap trail in Pisgah, NC, and a very rocky section of Windy Gap.
From about mile 3 to mile 9, we were rained upon, which made the rocks very slippery. The clouds and mist blocked the views. However, the rain kept us cool. I brought 120 ounces of water and only drank 50 over the entire ride. I had inflated my tires to about 5 PSI higher than I normally ride seeking to avoid pinch flats. I did not get any flats, but the higher pressure may have been a mistake due to increased bouncing and less traction on wet rocks. Fortunately, I did not have any crashes. I did walk some short sections due to the wet conditions, but my total walking distance was under a quarter mile. The penalty for a crash would have been high, not only because of a landing on rocks, but because most of the trail was lined with Poison Ivy. The overgrowth was not very bad, but did include thorned bushes and Poison Ivy.
Our total time on the trail was about 3 hours and 50 minutes, which included a 20-minute mechanical problem stop early on, and a 15-minute food stop at half-way. As a relative measure for estimating the time required for the trail, I bike once per week, and during the previous weekend I did two laps of the advanced loop and one lap of the intermediate loop at Blankets Creek back-to-back with no rest, in about 78 minutes.
The only wildlife we saw was a turtle. We saw no bike tracks and I rode through a number of spider webs. However, once we returned to the parking lot, we saw that some other bikers had started the trail.
Negative aspects of the trail include the extreme rockiness and the Poison Ivy. Positive aspects include a good trail-time to drive-time ratio, proximity to the highway, lots of single track, views, and a somewhat rolling terrain.
Recommended Route: Dug Gap to the Hwy 136 trailhead
Other recommended trails in the same area: Fort Mountain
Summary: Well, I learned about this trail from a good friend and went to try it out this weekend. All I can say is "Sweeeeet!". I would say this is the most technical mtb trail within 50 miles of Chattanooga. If you are sick of overgroomed dirt sidewalks you need to give the Pinhotti (spelling?) a try. Endless rock gardens with complex lines that hold your attention. My buddy called this trail "the Humbler".
As far as riding no dabs, that's what makes this such a great trail; it will push you to be a better rider. In fact, my new goal is to no-dab the Pinhotti...
Review Date January 27, 2004
Overall Rating 4 of 5
Aerobic Difficulty 3 of 5
Technical Difficulty 4 of 5
Ridden Trail: Every few months
Visitors rate this review 1.00 of 5,
Reviewed by: Ventana rider
Summary: My dog Bruiser Died a miserable death on this trail last spring.... after hiking his lifeless body 3 miles out covered in vomit and feces, I went back in to retreive my bike and ride out...
To say this trail is difficult would be a bit too severe... actaully it is a decent ride, but there is not any water... Please note... Bruiser had an undiagnosed Heart condition.... His partner Bailey rides this trail with me regualrly... Bring Lots of Water....
technically... a real treat to ride... tough as nails and demanding... but what an accomplishment. I prefer to ride it as an out and back.. only because I hate shuttling and my dog doesn't handle traffic very well. Views are really nice and the woods very quiet.
Recommended Route: Park at the FS gate and ride up to the towers. Enter Singletrack on left of 2nd set of towers... Yeah the climb to the top sucks. but it is only about a mile up. so deal with it. I ride out to the main saddle ( notice ATV doubel track) and then turn around.
Other recommended trails in the same area: Bear Creek, Sumac Creek, Iron Mountain,
Review Date September 2, 2003
Overall Rating 5 of 5
Aerobic Difficulty 4 of 5
Technical Difficulty 4 of 5
Ridden Trail: Every few months
Reviewed by: ScubaCruz
Summary: Haven't yet made the entire 16 mile ride yet. Twice road south to north 9 miles and twice hiked south to north 6 miles.
As mentioned, a tough varied trail. Definitely not an over used trail. Heading north from parking off Hwy 136 it's a 1.5 mile climb, then several miles of ups and downs, loose rocks, loose sand, more loose rocky sandly climbs followed by rocking ridge tops. At about mile 4 to 5 you start downhill toward the creek between the ridges. Turns into double track here. Start crossing the creek for a 1/4 mile; 3 times, then trail turns left. Climb double track up and down for couple more miles then at mile 8 a left onto single track along a ridge top. Roughly mile 9 is where I turned back. Riding at a steady pace it was 2 hours to the 9 mile mark and 1hr 45mins back. That last 1.5 miles downhill is straight and smooth enough to hit 25mph. Be aware, one to many babyheads in a slight turn can send you rock hopping off the trail!
Recommended Route: Since I'm coming for Canton, the south parking is the closest. Some day I'll make it up the entire trail and yes, that day I'll have both cash for refueling before returning and a water filter to restock up at the creek!
Other recommended trails in the same area: Pigeon Mtn is further up 136. A tough little mountain with horse and climbers to share the trail with. Hiking the Pinhoti south of the allowed mountain bike section is a good stretch of the legs and l