Georgia's Top Off-Roading Trails (Maps Included)
There is plenty to do in town in Atlanta during the warmer months, but sometimes you just need a break from it all. There's no better way to get down and dirty with nature than by going off-roading. There certainly is no shortage of trails to choose from. In fact, the difficult part may be narrowing down your options to a few select favorites. You can choose a different course every time, or you may find yourself returning to a tried-and-true spot.
Beasley Knob Trails
If you are in the mood for a real challenge, head to the Beasley Knob Trails (PDF map), located near Blairsville. This course runs 10.6 miles, but it is not recommended for first-timers or those with only a casual interest, as the trails contain steep ascents and more difficult terrain. It's recommended that you call ahead before heading up to the course, as it can often be closed due to inclement weather, including rain. Also, the course is closed for resource protection from January through March. If you are at the more experienced end of the spectrum however, you'll have a blast, whether you're on a four-wheel drive vehicle, a motorcycle or an ATV.
Davenport Mountain Trails
Also located near Blairsville is the Davenport Mountain Trails (PDF map), which is less difficult than the Beasley and has a range of terrain, some of it suitable for novice or young riders. If you are new to riding, keep to the well-marked easy section until you gain more experience, and be careful when crossing paths with the more difficult course. These trails are approximately 6 miles long, and both ATVs and motorcycles are permitted. They are open from mid-March through December.
Houston Valley Trail System
If you are looking for a longer trail, consider the Houston Valley Trail System (PDF map) west of Dalton, Georgia. With over 22 miles of trails, this system offers a range of difficulty levels appropriate for ATVs and motorcycles, open from April through December. Pickups and four-wheel drive vehicles are not permitted, nor are vehicles with more than a 50-inch width.
Oakey Mountain OHV Trails
Another option which might work well for folks who want to camp out before or after their ride is the Oakey Mountain OHV (off-highway vehicles) Trails, which are located near a developed campground on Lake Burton and Lake Rabun. Most importantly for some riders, the campground contains restroom facilities, as well as other standard amenities. The trails are over nine miles, and Clayton, Georgia is about half an hour away. These trails are closed during winter months, opening in mid-March, and they are suitable for three-wheelers, trail bikes and ATVs with less than a 48-inch axle width. This may not be great for novices, as there are some steep inclines and blind curves.
Town Creek Trail System
Finally, you'll want to check out the Town Creek Trail System (PDF map), located just north of Greensboro, Georgia. The 15 miles of trails contain two separate loops so ATVs are kept separate from motorcycles and bicycles. This is a good choice if you're a bike rider or if you ride ATVs and you don't want to worry about cyclists on your path. As with most of the trails, it's a good idea to call ahead to make sure that the trails haven't been closed due to weather-related concerns.
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Keely Herrick is a freelance writer. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.
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