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Tags:
Level: Intermediate
Length: 10 mi (16.1 km)
Surface: Doubletrack
Configuration: Out & Back
Elevation: +587/489 ft
Total: 100 riders
 

Mountain Biking Fort Mountain State Park

***   Add a review
#198 of 393 mountain bike trails in Georgia
#9685 in the world

Beginners: (Lake Loop 1.1 mi) Intermediate: Gold Mine Loop (6.3 mi), Cool Springs (7 mi) Advanced: East West Loop (14 mi) There are loops for various types of riders, but I have found none of them to be particularly mountain bike friendly. Most of the trails start off downhill and you have to pay for a 1000 feet elevation change at the end. There are nice scenic views of the North Georgia mountains and even creeks and springs. Deer are common and if you're lucky, you won't run into any of the bears. The eleven downhill switchbacks on the Cool Springs Loop are the most exciting thing I've run into on these trails. I know there has got to be better trails around the Chatsworth area though. Overall, the mountain bike trails seemed like good intentions on behalf of the forestry division but the trails are in desperate need of singletrack.

Before you go
  • No Drinking water 
  • No E-bikes permitted 
  • No Fat biking allowed in winter 
  • No Fee required 
  • No Lift service 
  • No Night riding allowed 
  • No Pump track 
  • No Restrooms 
Getting there
"I-75N to Exit 126-Hwy 411. Take Hwy 411 North to Chatsworth (right at the exit ramp). Follow this road for about 38 miles until Junction 52. Take a right at the stoplight heading east on Hwy 52 for 7-8 miles. Fort Mountain State Park entrance will be on the left. Stop at the park office for a map and permit ($2/rider)
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BillBB (on Nov 10, 2019)
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Leaf-covered (on Nov 10, 2019)
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Reviews

  • RNSqueezy
    **

    When a buddy and I arrived to Fort Mountain to ride, we had to check in at the ranger station and pay a small fee for a trail pass. We were then given a final, "stop by here on your way out and let us know that you made it safely." Unsettling? No. Odd? Yes. Especially when we FINALLY made it out of miles and miles and miles and miles of grueling, leg busting climbs and other assorted ills. The mountain views are beautiful, but the trail needs help. We were told (after the fact) that the trail was built 20 years ago as mountain biking was gaining its initial popularity in the area, but little has been done to properly maintain and develop the trail. Approximately half way through (up one of several logging roads at a 20-30% grade) was a rescue helicopter landing and picnic area. Extraction of an ill fated rider would certainly not be a simple or easy task. Trail conditions aside, there are a lot of really neat historic features along the trail including old munitions huts and caves (mostly now closed) that were used for artillery and munitions storage. This trail will have you swearing and praying for the end for most of the trail. Oh....when we finally did make it out (~ 5 hours later) there was no one at the ranger station to inform of our safety. This trail is also used for several trail running events throughout the year, including a 50 miler.

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  • ciphersevenx
    ***

    There is great potential for this Trail, however it is very poorly maintained if at all. There were plenty of trees that were in the way causing interruption in the flow. This seems to be a theme with the rest of the posts for this park, but has been a while since anyone has done a review so I figured I would give it a try.

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  • Kelly Fitzpatrick
    ***

    Me and the kids are doing the Muddy Spokes program and the Gold Mine Loop is one of the trails we had to do. Serious up hill but, the trail is very poorly marked and maintained. If they are not going to maintain the trail markers at least have GPS way points that someone can download and keep up with the trail that way. The Gold Mine Trail took us several hours to complete (mainly because we kept losing the trail) and it is only a little over 6 miles long.

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  • sburkey
    ***

    On 4/9/14 my son and I rode downhill (believe me, it's DOWNhill) from the mtb trailhead on 301 to the bottom of the hill where it crosses the Gahuti trail. Beautiful trail. Had a BLAST! Nice downhill. Little maintenance needed though on the trail. Lots of downed branches and two downed trees we had to lift the bikes over. Very good downhill especially towards the bottom. Then....the climb began. Yikes......

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  • zasyatkin
    ****

    Its not the sweet singletrack that you would find elsewhere in the North GA mountains, but its still an amazing place to ride thanks to its location.

    We made the mistake of taking our cross bikes out there because I heard it wasn't single track, but that was a terrible idea. Its a challenging ride with lots of loose rocks in sections and when these are covered with leaves you can't see them at all.

    I definitely recommend this ride because its a nice big 15 mile trail, with a great woods feeling, and its tests your endurance.

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  • eldest90
    ****

    Rode this trail in the mist. Was advised to start out at the parking lot instead of trail head. Great advice bc of the shirt crazy uphill at the beginning but the rest was pretty fun. Bummer it's 3 bucks to ride plus a parking permit

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  • dei3cmixer
    **

    Found these trails in a guidebook and thought it would be an interesting ride and get us off our normal trails. I had read earlier reviews about the state of the trail and thought surely the trails would be repaired by now... nope. Multiple trees down blocking the entire trail, large sections of undergrowth are allowed to grow across the trail making it hard to see anything coming in your path, large parts being virtually unrideable, and terrible trail markings made for an iffy ride. I luckily brought a copy of the trail guide with me which made navigating easier, but on multiple occasions we entered a trail marked approved for mountain biking only to come to the next junction and see a sign prohibiting mountain biking on the trail we had just come from. The parts of the Gold Mine trail we were on were a little better cared for, as well as the hiking trails, but everything else was badly overgrown. I give it 2 stars only because of the potential of the downhill from the overlook on the Cool Springs Trail. Most of it was unrideable which didn't make the climb back up to the start worth it. With so many better options a couple hours outside of Atlanta, I would steer clear of Fort Mountain. Also watch out for the bitch in the main office, fair warning.* Review edited 7/28/2012

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  • mscaldas
    *

    Not a fun trail at all.. Some places are impossible to ride. Even walking was dangerous going down some rocky hills. we probably ended up walking half the trail.

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  • vKAOSv
    *

    What a waist... Alot of climbing and alot of rocks! Downhills are way too bumpy to get any real speed...

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  • robale43
    ****

    Rode the Gold Mine Loop on Saturday (March 19, 2011). Recommend (as the girl in the office told us) to start at the parking lot by the lake and do the narly uphill part first while you're fresh! It's a beeeoch of a climb with a lot of loose rock. Ended up having to push the bike part of the way! After that section its a lot of nice downhill and the rest of the climbs aren't too bad. A couple of pretty technical descents that will have you sitting on your back tire. Two really nice views on this loop to reward you. No other riders were spotted either on the trail or in the parking lots... surprised!

    Note: There were several trees down on the trail forcing us to stop and carry the bikes over/under so use caution.* Review edited 3/21/2011

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  • enoeht
    *****

    Just rode Trail 301, which is the main loop. It is 14.2 miles, I had to cut it short at checkpoint 4 and hike up the switch back section trail 302 back to the central bike parking lot/area.

    This trail is one of my favorites in Georgia, its wide I grant, but why I like this trail is the legacy it has in it. The old double track are logging / gold mining roads from the 20's. There are old abandoned mines litters all over the place, and while it sounds putrid, there is old machinery littered all over, such as an old desiel hand crank engine, an old donkey track belt driven engine for pulling mine cars. It really is cool.

    Like the Goos said, bring your lungs and a lunch, its nice to eat lunch by one of the three massive overlook sections.

    The main downhill section if you are going clockwise runs down a powerline row and it is awesome, technical and scary at sections.

    Updatefor Parking Fees are now $5
    Trail permit is $2.

    Worth twice as much :)* Review edited 10/30/2010

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  • GoldenGoose
    *****

    I rode the East West trail and while it wasn't singletrack, it was some of the most challenging Doubletrack I have ever ridden. VERY technical for the majority of the trail. Bring you lungs for this ride as it will certainly work you over the last three miles; all uphill with a nasty switchback section that would even put it to a full blown racer. Don't let the intermediate difficulty rating fool you, this place is NOT for beginners or even the majority of intermediate riders.

    If I had to rate this place on trail quality alone, I'd only give it 4 of 5 stars but this is hands-down the most scenic trail I have ridden in GA. that easily makes up for the few issues you will run into reqarding the trail making it a 5 of 5 for me. It always recharges my batteries to go out into places that are still true wilderness and this is one of those few places left on the East Coast. Great views from plenty of overlooks. Interesting old ruins. Great places to camp and hike. I'm sure there was a lot of luck involved but in one trip I saw a family of 10 turkeys, 4 hawks, countless deer, and a bear.

    If you are ready for a challenge and want to get out in the wild. This is your trail.* Review edited 9/22/2010

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  • ryanherb
    ****

    All the reviews are spot on
    Rode the trails last weekend was as everyone said but lots of down trees with no option to navigate them (anything over 2 feet or so i cant j- hop)
    But there were a few i had a blasted soaring over on the downhills

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  • Jeff Barber
    ***

    Most of the reviews here are right on. The trails are tough but not just because of the elevation changes. Expect to find loose and rocky trail conditions all the way around the East-West loop and sections of overgrown trail. These trails are mostly wide singletrack and doubletrack and you probably won't see anyone else out here even on a Saturday.

    The official state park website says to plan on 4-8 hours to complete the entire East-West loop but I'd say that's a bit of an overestimate (it took me just under 3 hours). The East-West loop is not recommended for beginning riders. $2 fee for mountain bike trail permit at the park office in addition to the $3 state park vehicle pass.

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  • harohomeboy
    ****

    This place is awesome. Make sure you bring extra parts because if something breaks, you will have a really long walk, I speak from experience! Bring alot of water. The downhills here are top notch. There is one underneath the power lines that is a mile long or so. This place needs to be on your list.

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  • liquid20
    ****

    What a beautiful park! And what a beautiful drive up U.S. 52 between Ellijay and Chatsworth. Had the park to myself. I rode a trail and 1/2 which was about 7 miles. From the trailhead I rode trail 301 downhill then trail 303 uphill. You definitely need lungs and horses but if you want a good taste of riding this place without taking up your whole day and all your energy this is a good route to take. The park charges $5. $3 for your car and $2 for your bike. It's worth it! You get a gorgeous view, ridiculous downhill that's not too technical, and just enough climbing to put your lungs to the test. Try this in the morning, lunch in Ellijay, then head east of Ellijay and ride Rich Mountain/Cartecay tract.

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  • heydude720
    ****

    Not bad though some trail maintainance would be nice, lots of climbing but there's great rewards too, i.e. views. Bring a friend for safrty because I don't hink the trails are riden too much, I go there all the time and I've seen no other bikers. Tip: on the lake loop, watch out for inexperienced hikers. I have had several close calls with them and their dogs.

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