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Level: Beginner
Length: 10 mi (16.1 km)
Surface: Singletrack
Configuration: Network
Elevation: +781/ -542 ft
Total: 127 riders

Mountain Biking Paynes Creek

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#17 of 397 mountain bike trails in Georgia
#353 in the world

The trails are more or less a lollipop system with another lollipop offshoot from the main loop. You will enter the trail head and there will be a map board beside it. Upon getting to the split you will see a sign telling you the direction for the day.

This is a brand new trail built in co-op between the Army Corp of Eng and IMBA. Multipile SORBA chapters helped put the finishing touches on this trail and it will only get faster as its ironed in. Super fast fun and very flowy is how I would describe this awesome new addition to the NEGA area. All the fun of FATS without the drive! Built by Long Cane Trails.

Night riding is allowed, but the park closes at 10:00pm.

First added by Medic on May 3, 2011. Last updated May 11, 2020. → add an update
Before you go
  • Drinking water: unknown
  • Lift service: unknown
  • Night riding: yes
  • Pump track: unknown
  • Restrooms: unknown
  • Fat bike grooming: unknown
  • E-bikes allowed: unknown
  • Fee required: unknown
This trail information is user-generated. Help improve this information by suggesting a correction.
Getting there
From I-85 take Exit 177 and travel on Whitworth Road Hwy 77 almost 5.2 miles and turn left on Junction 77 and travel to the end. Take left on Mt Olivet Road and travel 4 miles and take Paynes Creek Road on left. Campground entrance will be on the right. Stay straight to the boat ramp and trailhead will be on the left.
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Paynes Creek Trail map

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f0n1x (on Sep 26, 2021)
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Trail conditions

Good (on Sep 26, 2021)
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Mountain Bike Trails Near Hartwell, Georgia

Beginner | 2 mi

Rider questions

Q: How long is it
A: It is 10 miles long.

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  • pkrohnert

    What a great trail! A few climbs, and a lot of roots make it ride like a longer trail than it is, but it's a lot of fun, with plenty of beautiful views.

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  • FarmerDobes

    I rode this today for the chainbusters 6 hr and loved it. The first lap at least. After a couple times around the main trail and heartbreak the roots and the punchy climbs had me whooped. Good thing this place packs a punch. Climb a little and then flow A LOT. I caught myself thinking I was at Tsali a bunch of times. Will be back for sure. Great amenities and lakeside camping.

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  • Kurti_sc

    More flowy than ever. The best part is that it's all single track. some of the whoopdies that make you G-out have been tamed. I don't know if that's really good or not, just different.

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  • Daniel_Sheets   ✓ supporter

    Deserves a five because of good use of terrain to create a great flow.Very well maintained.Built to keep the water flowing off the trail and last a long time.Fun and fast but still some what technical

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  • Rollin' a Giant

    Rode it on a Saturday (counter clockwise)
    Included Heartbreak Ridge on the ride, guessing it was about 10 miles total. Very good cardio workout, no jumps, fast at times, a lot of gear shifting. A number of trees fell across the trail and hadn't been removed. I'm very surprised someone finished this in 30 minutes with Heartbreak Ridge included. I'm somewhat skeptical about that.

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  • hikebikepaddlega

    Great views of the lake. Well maintained (all blow downs and sticks are moved off the trail) Easily followed yet winding. Elevation change minimal to the point you won't have to stop unless you want to stop. Pay attention to the direction/day of week, be safe, have fun!

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  • lb chocolate

    I'm a beginner, 62 year old hiker and this trail was great. There were roots and rocks to watch for but the grade was good using switchbacks instead of steep climbing.

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  • Superfly Lee

    Fast, smooth, and scenic. Flows better counter-clockwise. Very nice campgrounds.

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  • Byram_90

    I enjoy riding this trail which is fast and flowing. I am a beginning rider (less than 1 year) and this trail is fun to ride in both directions. Limited climbs which are not too steep, and wide trails that are easy to stay on. The only downside is the number of roots along the lake shore, but I still enjoy the trail. Probably the best trail I have ridden in my limited experience.

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  • Ranger 1198

    Today was my first ride on these trails, both the main trail and the Heart breaker. Trail conditions were great and the trail quality was excellent. Kudos to SORBA and the local volunteers for making this partnership with the USCOE happen. Excellent work and a job well done.
    I left a donation and I will be back even though I'm an hour and a half away. Worth it! ???????????

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  • archercrew

    I rode this trail on a gorgeous February day with temperature in the mid 60s. It's nice to live in the south.I rode on a Wednesday (goes counter on tue, Thurs. Sat,)in the clockwise direction and included the heartbreak ridge section as well. I would describe this trail as a feel good trail. It's long enough for a nice aerobic workout but I would say there are few technical obstacles. It is mostly good for flowy up-and-down fun riding with a few sharp turns and twists. There are only a couple of gentle sustained climbs but nothing in the Pisgah style.
    I would compare this trail to Tsali with smooth hard packed trail but just with no long climbs. There are some good lake views and roots really do not add to the technical challenge on this trail.
    This is a great trail especially if you were just getting into mountain biking. If you are a seasoned rider in shape I bet you could put it in the big ring and have a blast with some significant speed. I'm somewhere in between and had a really good time on this trail.
    The trail was in excellent shape and somebody has put a lot of work into maintaining it. The signage is excellent and I do not believe you could get lost even if you have never seen a map.
    A couple of notes. There are no bathroom facilities anywhere. And this is an extremely rural area. I was the only car in the parking lot and I suspect there was not a soul around for about 10 to 20 miles unless they were on a boat in the lake
    If you are in the area this is definitely a nice trail to spend a morning or afternoon.

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  • Rkg80

    Awesome trail system!!

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  • nicomyth

    I love this trail! It's not Hardcore, challenging, or technical; it's just pure, flowy, smile-on-your-face fun. The trail is all wooded with tons of lake views. You could even stop and swim to cool off.

    Both directions are a hoot but counter clockwise is best (Tues, Thurs, Sat)

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  • koltanp

    Great flowing trail, lots of fun smooth down hill. No big climbs or descents. Very fast and Easy to ride.

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  • jlwest60

    Great Trail. No change to what others have described. I was traveling back from Helen, GA area to Savannah, GA. This provided a great place to get one more trail in during our vacation while traveling back home on a 5hr trip.

    My experience: I went to the Main Trailhead with the Multi-Purpose Sign you see posted in some of the pictures on the site. If you follow the sign labeled "trails" when you drive into the campground, you can't miss it. When entering the trail, just inside the tree-line, you will come to a set of signs that give you the direction of the day. It was Weds, so I went left. This was perfect as I had an hour available and it was my first time on the trail. With that, the Weds Course will bring you to another intersection with a sign for either Heartbreak Ridge or the Main Trail System. I took Heartbreak Ridge, which on some Google Image Searches is the Blue Route. I provided a link if you would like to cut and paste it into your browser. BTW, the map with Heartbreak Ridge (blue route) is not posted at the main trail entrance.(http://www.mtnlakes.com/Nearby/PaynesCreekMultipurposeTrail/PaynesCreekTrail.htm).

    Timing: From the Main Multi-Purpose Trail Head, using the Weds Route, then take the Heartbreak Ridge Trail, it only took me 30mins to complete. Perfect if you only have an hour, you could do it twice and see if you could make the second turn faster.

    Trail: Trail was dry, solid, and fast. Because there has not been a lot of rain, the corners where slick, even with low tire pressure. Since I was not familiar with the course I used a lot of brake.

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  • Aaron Chamberlain   ✓ supporter

    Like Ft. Yargo, Paynes Creek is a great place to go if you want to take a beginner riding. There's not much here to challenge an advanced rider, but you can haul serious amounts of ass on this trail. The trail is very well built with plenty of flow. Climbs are mellow and short. Much of the trail runs right next to the lake, which provides great views. Not something you get on too many trails in GA.

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  • [email protected]

    Great trails fast well maintained. Great flow with quick climbs. Views of the lake are awesome.

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  • Gregory George

    Great Trail. Its like a roller coaster of speed. I will definitely do this again.

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  • treysxe84

    This trail is always fun and it can be as fast as you want it to be. Nice rolling hills and some good climbs. Its well maintained and signage is well posted also. I heard that in October this year they are going to be adding berms so that will be really awesome.

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