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Level: Advanced
Length: 6 mi (9.7 km)
Surface: Singletrack
Configuration: Out & Back
Elevation: +288/ -197 ft
Total: 88 riders

Mountain Biking Pinhoti Trail: P3

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#18 of 397 mountain bike trails in Georgia
#363 in the world

The P3 section of the Pinhoti runs about 5-6 miles from the Cohutta
Wilderness Overlook on Highway 52 west of Ellijay down to old CCC camp
road. This is a great trail to ride as a shuttle, but can be fun as an out-and-
back as well. This trail features one nice, LONG downhill, a few stiff climbs,
and some gorgeous switchbacks and exposed bench-cut singletrack.

The construction of this section of trail is stellar!

First added by Greg Heil on Mar 15, 2011. Last updated May 9, 2020. → add an update
Before you go
  • Drinking water: unknown
  • Lift service: unknown
  • Night riding: unknown
  • 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 Ellijay, drive out of town on Highway 52 a ways, heading West. Park at
the Cohutta Wilderness Overlook which is just off of the highway on the right.
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Pinhoti Trail: P3 Trail map

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Local Info

Trail conditions

Good (on Jun 26, 2022)
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Camping & Lodging

Coming soon!

Pinhoti Trail: P3 videos

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GREAT shot of bench cut p3
Pinhoti 3 Downhill, Me, Matt, and…
Niner on P3 0001
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Mountain Bike Trails Near Ellijay, Georgia

Intermediate | 5 mi
Beginner | 3 mi
Advanced | 5 mi

Rider questions

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  • BartNunley

    Rode this trail this weekend with my 11 and 14 year olds. Trail was perfect. It was well marked and perfectly groomed. The steepness freaked the boys out a little, but the quality of the trail made it extremely enjoyable for all 3 of us.

    Shuttled to the top and bombed down to Bear Creek. Ride as an out and back if you're a glutton for punishment. Shuttle for a great day in the woods!

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  • kay oh

    Expect to suffer. The climbs here are brutal. I had a beautiful ride.

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  • dheslep

    I rode this trail as an out and back after 2 rounds on P2 and 1 round on P1. This trail has a tough climb at the beginning and some challenging switch backs mixed in. The return trip was a little faster and more fun. Overall, the switch backs are technically tough but most of the trail is sweet single track. The P1-P3 trails are great.

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  • *****

    If you do this trail as an out-and-back from Mulberry Gap it'll be right around 10 miles and 2,300 feet of climbing.

    As pretty much every review mentions, the trail is steep and the toughest bits are the switchbacks. Even if you shuttle it from Highway 52, you will have to do some climbing.

    One of my favorite loops is: Mulberry Gap > Bear Creek > P1 > P2. If I have enough energy, I'll ride P3 as well. I probably skip it half the time, but every time I ride P3 I'm glad that I did.

    As a bonus, the view from the Cohutta Overlook at the top is pretty amazing.

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  • bw020752

    OMG great trail, I road up from mulberry gap and man it kicked my butt. I can't wait to come back! Best trail I have ridden in the past year!

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  • mtndew24

    Awesome!! If you got the legs for it otherwise...not. The grade is good enough to stay on the bike the whole time; its sort of like pinhoti 1 except with switchbacks which is what really gets to you because you are climbing while making a sharp turn. Yet the more I rode this trail the better my cornering skills became. This is also a less traversed trail so it gives you the feeling that you are alone out here as I didn't see anyone else past the entrance. Don't be afraid to ride this after doing p1, p2 and bear creek. Anyways if you get too tired you can always turn your bike around and come screaming down back to the trailhead, but the view at the top of the highway is totally worth making it all the way up.

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  • MTI

    Some sadistic person designed this trail. I like to climb. I really do but man did this kill me. Maybe because it was at the end of the day and I was tired but wow! I think the previous reviews called these some stiff climbs? Not! This was some of the steepest singletrack I have been on and Gregg's switchbacks were above my skill level. I managed a couple but they were difficult. The downhills were great but the switchbacks kind of broke up the flow but that is mountain biking. I will make a point to ride this trail first next time.

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  • RJen

    The previous reviewers nailed it. This is a sweet trail that I prefer riding E to W (downhill switch backs). You can make this a loop ride by parking on Gates Chaple road and riding up 1.5 miles to the Bear Creek trail head. Then the Pinhoti is a short distance up on your left. When the Pinhoti dumps you out on a forest road, you're a short downhill ride to your parked vehicle.

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  • trekmtbrider

    I started this trail at the bottom just near Mulberry Gap instead of getting dropped of near Highway 52. This was a challenging climb, but rewarding on the way down. I meant to do P2 but did not venture far enough down the FS 18.

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  • dgjessee

    This section of trail is as close as you might get to the buff wilderness rides of Oregon and Colorado on the East Coast. The trail surface is super smooth and rocks/roots are the exception to the rule. You can really get some awesome speed going down from Hwy 52, but be careful - the only technical part of this ride is the super sharp switchbacks. Awesome flow with good exposure and enough woop-di-woops, rocks, and turns to keep it nice and interesting. As opposed to P2, this section has much less doubletrack or the kind of singletrack that is just a defined path on a large defunct road grade. Almost all of P3 is honest singletrack cut into the hillside. The remoteness of the entire trail gives you a really hardcore feeling for even being on it, too.

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  • Greg Heil   ✓ supporter

    Several times I have lamented the absence of switchbacks on mountain bike trails in Georgia. Riding switchbacks is almost an art form due to the precise bike handling skills that it requires. I've found amazing sections of switchbacks during my rides in North Carolina, but I have never come across a truly inspiring set down here in Georgia... until now.

    P3 contains numerous picture-perfect 180 degree turns bench cut into the steep side of the mountain. These are switchbacks in the finest sense of the word! After riding this trail, my heart has been put at ease: yes, there are switchbacks in the state. You just have to find them!

    The Rest of the Trail
    There is so much more to this section of trail than a mere couple dozen switchbacks. This portion of the Pinhoti contains a long descent that features narrow, swooping singletrack lasting over 6 minutes. Of course, it might last a little less if you rode faster. Or you could drag it out and make it last longer, but what would be the fun in that?

    While the overlook is situated at a pretty high elevation and the end of the trail is in the bottom of the valley near a stream, don't be fooled into thinking that this is downhill the whole way. When we shuttled this, I brought my downhill rig along anticipating a high-speed bomb down to the truck. I quickly learned that that would not be the case, and I paid for my choice with some good-old-fashioned hike-a-bike.

    Yes, the vast majority of the time you'll be descending, but there are one or two stiff climbs thrown in there. Bring your all mountain bike and your gears. Besides, 5" of travel is plenty for this trail.

    Bottom Line:
    Some of the best switchbacks and most exposed singletrack I have ridden in Georgia, coupled with a screaming fast descent at the end! If you haven't ridden this trail yet, add it to your wishlist!

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