Welcome to Atlanta Chris! Aaron, Jeff, and Greg will give you a better snapshot of what trails in this area offer since this is their website and happen to have the trails here in Georgia as their backyard! BUT, there are a few of us who also live here and can point to a few good trails. According to this site Blankets Creek is the #1 trail in Georgia and while it deserves huge accolades and ratings that ranking is and can be debated depending on what MTB bikers are looking for, and get out of them. You mentioned that Blankets including the challenging VMT was rather flat. If you prefer to try a ride that has better, harder, challenging inclines with some awesome payoff’s downhill then let me recommend a trail up in Dahlonega, Ga. That is located in Northeast Georgia in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains. There are actually (2) trails and both combined make up what is called the Dirty 30. Jake Mountain is a 15+ miles Intermediate trail that possibly meets your expectations of better climbs/descents. BUT, if it’s not then ride beside Jake Mountain is Bull Mountain which is also another 15+ mile trail. (Thus both combined give you the Dirty 30!) It is an Advanced/Black Diamond trail that is every bit of what it is rated. I’ve never been to Mulberry Gap but you may not have to go as far right now to get a more challenging ride!
Either way, good luck and I hope you find what you’re searching for. If I can be of any help, shoot me a message here and I’ll be glad to help.
Welcome to the Dirty South. I agree with Ken above, but I will add that you can find something for whatever kind of riding you favor. As such, are you looking for more of a death march with tons of climbing and mellower descents or the opposite? I personally put Bull and Jake in the former category. It’s fun, but the descending payoff isn’t as good as some of the other regional trails. In that realm, I’d put Bear and the Pinhotis (where Mulberry Creek is) as a more fun option. Plenty of climbing, but with bang on descents particularly with Bear, P2 and Mountain Town. If you are looking for more gnar closer to town then Big Creek (roughest trail of the various city/county park options) and Alatoona (combo of rolling flowy aerobic stuff with kooky old school “freeride-esque” obstacles…Whippersnapper is a hoot) are good choices depending on which side of town yr on.
Mulberry Gap is a great place to go solo. Chances are you’ll meet make some new friends there. Mulberry does offer a shuttle to some trails for a fee, but as Jeff said, we earn our turns down here! Even the “downhills” will have some climbing in them, so it’s often not worth the time/effort/expense of arranging a shuttle.
I mostly agree with Dr. Sweets comments on Bull/Jake. The payoff on Bull Mountain isn’t that great for all the climbing. If you do it clockwise there’s an awesome descent down Bear Hare, but it’s over pretty quick and then you lose half of the elevation you gained on a fire road. Doing it the other way gives you an even tougher climb, and then a rolling double-tracky descent. Jake Mountain is a better bang for your buck in my opinion. Pretty buff trails all around though. That said, it’s still a fun place to ride and worth the trip if you like big rides with lots of climbing.
If you want something more challenging, there’s always the section of the Pinhoti trail around Dalton, GA, aka Snake Creek Gap. Lots of technical, rocky ridge riding there. Steep climbs to get up to the ridges, too. It’s about to be prime riding season there. It’s overgrown and thorny in the summer, but you also want to get up there before the leaves fall and you can’t see the trail. Winter is a good time to ride it as well if the weather is nice. The leaves will have blown off the trail and you get some good views along the ridge. The only issue with this section of the Pinhoti is you have to to do it as an out and back unless you want to make a loop on the pavement.
Again, welcome to Atlanta Chris. Jake and Bull is a good ride, but I would consider Aska Trails near Blue Ridge. I rode Flat Creek (there are several other trails there) and it was a good climb on the backside if ridden clockwise. I think you would enjoy that one. The whole Dahlonega, Blue Ridge, and Ellijay area has some great trails. You can do a search on Singletracks home page and look up trails by city….good luck, hope you find a good one brother.