2017 marks the 200th anniversary of the bicycle. Baron Karl von Drais introduced it to the public in Mannheim in summer 1817. Those looking to celebrate the invention of the bicycle can take it for a spin on one of the many trails available for beginners and seasoned riders at Georgia State Parks. Choose from an array of trails to ride, from single track that will dirty up the tires to paved roads for easy rolling.
For thrill-seeking mountain biking, Fort Mountain State Park’s East/West Loop tests endurance on 14.6 miles of trails, including a technical downhill section through a powerline alley. Scream down invigorating downhills, pass scenic overlooks of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and bump over rocky single track.
Equally appealing to both beginners and serious riders, the Yellow and Blue-blazed mountain bike trails at Fort Yargo State Park are great for going fast. The trails are not too technical, and both loops are one-way directional based on the day, meaning mountain bikers can tackle the terrain in both directions. Be sure to yield to hikers on the Yellow Trail.
Cloudland Canyon State Park is now offering Marin Bobcat Trail mountain bike rentals to make the mecca of trails more accessible for all riders. Bikes are available to rent for $35 (half-day) and $55 (full day.) Payments for rentals are made at the park visitor center, and mountain bikes can be picked up at the park’s interpretative center. Take the rentals on the 14-mile Cloudland Connector Trail to the Five Points Recreation Area for more than 23 miles of trails that will eventually connect to the Chattanooga Connector Trail and downtown Chattanooga. Experience single track ranging in difficulty from moderate to strenuous, featuring contour line trails, loops and challenging jumps.
Those who prefer smooth yet challenging roads, head over to Panola Mountain State Park, which offers access to the Arabia Mountain PATH. More than 30 miles of trails wind through southeast Atlanta on a traffic-free recreation path, and cyclists can ride to a scenic overlook of Panola Mountain. Keep pedaling to explore Arabia Mountain as well.
In addition to the above trails, more than 68 miles of bike trails comprise the Muddy Spokes Club. The 11 state parks with designated trails include Fort Mountain, Fort Yargo, Magnolia Springs, Mistletoe, Panola Mountain, Red Top Mountain, Richard B. Russell, Tallulah Gorge, Unicoi, Victoria Bryant, and Watson Mill Bridge. To join the Muddy Spokes Club, mountain bikers buy a $10 membership card which they will get punched at the park visitor center after completing each trail. Cards are available at parks, by phone at 770-389-7401, or by emailing customerservice@GaStateParks.org. After completing all trails, mountain bikers receive a Muddy Spokes Club t-shirt.
After a day of pedaling, spend the night at the park’s accommodations, taking in some much-needed R&R surrounded by nature. Pitch a tent in one of the campgrounds, lounge in the yurts, or enjoy the A/C in a cabin. To find more accommodations and additional outdoor recreation offerings at Georgia State Parks, visit www.GaStateParks.org.