Bear Creek

4.53 out of 5
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↑ 4,700 ft
↓ 4,200 ft
elevation (ft)

Trail Description
About this trail
Blue Ridge Mountain singletrack at its finest. This out-n-back trail weaves its way upwards through shaded valleys and semi-steep hills. The trail is an equal mix of narrow singletrack and old fireroad doubletrack. The climb to the overlook is rewarded with a wicked downhill spin that brings you back to your starting point. The lower points of this trail are nearly always a little bit damp and tacky, but the trail is rideable nearly year-round because it drains so well into Bear Creek. There are several creek crossings and switchbacks to make things fun. Stop and take a picture at the Gannet Poplar, a very old and massive tree along the trail. Numerous trailheads are in the area, but the preferred route is to park on Gates Chapel Rd and ride up FS 90 to the small parking area where the singletrack starts.

From the parking area, ride up the gravel road, bearing left at the sign for the Bear Creek trail approx. 1 1/2 miles to the trailhead (there is a small parking area at the trailhead, but we always ride the gravel road as a warm-up). There are two trails here, but take the one beside the information kiosk. The other way is not meant for humans. After crossing a small, rocky creek, stay left at the sign for the Bear Creek Loop trail. After climbing two short whoops right beside the creek, follow the hard left switchback uphill (do NOT cross the logs and continue straight). Continue up the singletrack to the forest service gate. At the grassy clearing, continue to the LEFT, uphill on the doubletrack. After crossing through a wide but shallow creek, go left downhill to the gate and onto the gravel road. Turn right on the gravel road and continue up approx. 1/2 mile to the overlook. Enjoy the view! Continue to ride up the gravel road another couple hundred yards to the sign for the upper parking lot. Turn into the lot and follow the singletrack trail downhill. There are several hard switchbacks and the trail will dump you out back at the wide shallow creek. Continue the ride back downhill the same way you climbed up!
added by RebusDoubletrack December 31, 2002
Trail Features
Trail features
  • Lift Service
  • Drinking Water
  •   Night Riding
  • Pump Track
  • Restrooms
  • Winter Fat Biking
Directions to Trailhead
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Recommended Trails
Recommended Trails
Blankets Creek
Local Info & Nearby Trails
Trail Check-ins
Trail Check-ins
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Recent Trail Check-ins     (24 total check-ins)
  macheekin   2 days ago
  shannoncarrell   3 weeks ago
  fredsparky   on Apr 17, 2015
  SmithZ714   on Mar 22, 2015
  GTechRacer   on Jan 17, 2015
Photo & Video Gallery (132)
Trail Photos & Videos (132)
Reviews (85)

May 23, 2015
Review: Great single track, good speed and you can get some nice air of the drainage channels that run into bear creek.

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May 7, 2015
Review: Bear Creek is a classic North Georgia trail!

The descent from the Bear Creek Overlook is one of the best in the state. Little Bear Creek (the very top) has a couple of tight and technical switchbacks. After crossing the wide, shallow creek you get a ripping fast, wide open double track descent.

Once you go through the gate the trail narrows and you'll be hauling ass through rhododendron. Eventually, you'll make a 180 degree switchback and you'll descend parallel to Bear Creek. This is the best part of the trail with lots of rocks to gap and jump off of. There are little bonus ninja lines everywhere.

This lower uber-fun section is also where you're most likely to see hikers, so be careful. It's also where you're likely to see BEARS. Ride fast, but in control. Give other trail users a wide berth and be friendly!

A classic loop is to ride Bear Creek > Pinhoti 1 > Pinhoti 2. If you've really got the legs, get Pinhoti 3 as an out and back in there as well.

If you're in the area don't miss this ride.

Similar Trail: Pinhoti 2, Pinhoti 3

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January 31, 2015
Review: Descending this trail was a blast! I rode up Pinhoti 1 then rode up the fire road to the top of Bear Creek and then descended down Bear Creek. I highly recommend that route. Or if you want to do a longer ride, ride Pinhoti 2, as well. The Pinhoti trails were also a blast to descend and had killer climbs that made this FL boy walk from time to time.

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December 14, 2014
Review: This has a hell of a climb if your up for it or take the Lift up. There is everything you could want from this trail. I will be back. This is a do not miss trail!!!!

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September 6, 2014
Review: I screwed up and crashed on my last outing here and had to go to the ER. I was at the end of a few hours of riding and quite close to the lower trailhead in the Bear Creek Loop, having already done the Bear Creek Trail going up and the Bear Creek Loop coming down. (I've ridden down the Creek Trail before.). Anyway I crashed on something fairly easy. Here is the result:

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September 4, 2014
Review: This is an awesome trail. It is a hell of an up hill but worth it when you come back down it.

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August 19, 2014
Review: The mileage is way off, I dont understand. The description says 10 miles. It's actually a 4 mile out and back. This is one of the best trails in the state? How can a 4 mile trail be one of the best? This is a great downhill run that is it.

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October 22, 2014
Review: 4 miles up, 4 miles back plus extra 2 miles near the trailhead that you probably didn't ride = 10 miles

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August 18, 2014
Review: Great loop in the Pinhoti system

Similar Trail: Pinhoti 1 and Pinhoti 1

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August 9, 2014
Review: Great trail. Hell of a climb to overlook, but awesome downhill.

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July 30, 2014
Review: I rode Bear Creek on Tuesday, 29 July 2014. Bear Creek Trail is in outstanding shape. It is very well marked with signage and there are good maps on the trail.

If you are new to this trail, just remember that there is the Bear Creek Trail and the Bear Creek Loop. Bear Creek LOOP is an additional trail generally located to the east of Bear Creek TRAIL. I only did Bear Creek Trail as an out and back / up and down.

Started at Gates Chapel Road (lower elevation) and rode up FS 241. (I also took a detour on purpose by going to the camp-ground.) There is a sign where Pinhoti I goes to the west. You cannot miss the Gennett Poplar - there are even railings / signs. I did the little loop at the top where you can check out the overlook on FS 68.

My trip odometer showed 12.6 miles, starting and finishing at Gates Chapel Road, short detour at campground, out and back on Bear Creek Trail. Since I did it that way, my odometer did not match the easily seen mile markers on the trail.

This wonderful trail is nothing to be afraid of if you know and follow your limitations on the few technical spots. Be prepared for a few rocks and small stream crossings. As far as fitness, it is about 5-6 miles uphill, but it is very doable if you stay within yourself. The warm up on FS 241 is a good idea.

I will try to add some photos on this site, and also on my flickr site shortly.

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Bear Creek MTB Trail 4.53 out of 5 based on 85 ratings. 85 user reviews.
Trail Conditions
Trail Conditions          < / > embed
Feature Article
Behind the Scenes of a Destination Trail: Bear Creek with the Cartecay Crew