December 7, 2014
This is an incredible trail system. I can't think of anything else like it. Fast, flowy and fun. Here was my itinerary for two days at FATS:
Friday: First, all of the Great Wall (CCW) loop. Then the Skinny Loop CW to Brown Wave. Then Brown Wave CCW back to the junction with Skinny. Then Skinny CW back to the parking lot. The trails had really good flow in these directions. Out of the three main trails, I think I like Great Wall the best (more variety). We were there on a Friday in December. We wanted to hit the more popular trails before the weekend crowd hit on Saturday. These three trails are everything you've heard or read about. Big, rollercoaster fun!
Saturday: We parked at the south parking lot and then took Deep Step CCW to the connector trail. Then we took the connector trail over the north parking area to hit the north trails. There isn't much to the connector "trail". The first section of the connector trail is fun as you weave through a short section of pine trees, but most the trail is on the paved rode and FS661, a gravel road. Once we got to the north trailhead, we hit Big Rock CCW to the junction with Tower Loop. Then we took Tower Loop CW back to the junction with Big Rock. Then we hit the last portion of Big Rock going CCW for a fast fun descent back to the trailhead. I think this 2-mile descent is the best in the system. After that, you hit FS661 for even more descending, back to the junction with Deep Step. Finish Deep Step CCW to get back to the south parking lot.
This was my first time to FATS and I found the loop configuration I described above to work really well.
I actually preferred the north end trails (I know I'm the minority here!). I like longer ascents followed by longer descents, which the north end trails provide. The north end trails are much less crowded. But it`s ALL good! The paved roads provide a good bail out point if you encounter rain on your way back to the south end lot from the north end trails.
If you're looking for a clean, reasonably priced hotel, I suggest the Best Western in Evans. It's off I-20 and about 15 minutes from FATS. And fill up on gas at the Sportsman GasPlus station near FATS. It has the cheapest gas anywhere.