From the State’s best biking trails to hiking, kayaking and relaxing along lakeshore beaches, make tracks to family-friendly adventures outdoors in North Georgia
Adventure awaits just 80 miles north of Atlanta and 65 miles from Chattanooga, Tennessee, in Ellijay, Georgia, where the State’s best mountain biking trails, as well as hiking trails and a lakeside beach, beckon visitors to reconnect with Mother Nature. Find out where to chart your next course to adventure.
Pedal some of the country’s most gorgeous and challenging mountain biking trails. More than 100 miles of single-track trails have earned Gilmer County the official designation as “Georgia’s Mountain Biking Capital.” Local mountains offer nationally recognized mountain biking trails with everything from easy cross-country to technical downhills. Ellijay is also home to the oldest mountain biking trail in the state, River Loop. Mountain Bike Action Magazine called it “…a trail you won’t forget.” Other popular trails include a large section of the Pinhoti Trail, Bear Creek, Mountaintown Creek, Windy Gap and many more. These scenic paths are maintained year-round by a large group of volunteers. Pick up trail maps, rent bikes, join group rides and chat with knowledgeable staff at Cartecay Bike Shop in downtown Ellijay. Just 12 miles from downtown Ellijay in the heart of the Cohutta Wilderness you’ll find Mulberry Gap Mountain Bike Get-A-Way, a rustic haven for mountain bike enthusiasts. Quickly access trail heads from the property or take advantage of their shuttle services to save your legs. Enjoy the cozy cabins, tent and RV sites, hot tubs, vast selection of craft beer and home cooked meals after a long day in the saddle. 2017 marks the 10 year anniversary for Mulberry Gap and the 20 year anniversary for Cartecay Bike Shop, which will have a small satellite office at Mulberry Gap’s newly expanded retail space where they will offer bike repairs, rentals and basic essentials.
Take a hike!
Take a break from the bike and go trekking with the whole family. From beginning hikes to those for more advanced path-explorers, Gilmer County has a trail to suit every outdoor desire. This Appalachian Trail community is home to over a dozen beautiful tree-lined and waterfront trails. Take the family to the Trout Adventure Trail. This “do it yourself” hike is a learning experience for kids of all ages and leads hikers through the legendary trails of the Chattahoochee National Forest in North Georgia. It offers individual hikers and families the opportunity to hike, learn and earn a free decorative commemorative patch. Or, explore the trails at Fort Mountain State Park where a short footpath leads to the Cool Springs Overlook with a view of the Cohutta Wilderness area. Paths vary from less than a mile to more than eight miles in length. Other options include the Big Acorn Trail that begins at Carters Lake Visitor Center and is nearby another Carters Lake option: Tumbling Waters Nature Trail. At Fort Mountain State Park, try the Old Fort Trail, ideal for photo ops, or the Lake Loop Trail, with scenic views of the lake. Get your steps in at Amicalola Falls, the tallest cascading waterfall in the Southeast, marked by a steep slope and stairs (604 stairs, to be exact), that rewards hikers with a view. Contact North Georgia Mountain Outfitters for a complete Hiking Trail Guide. http://www.gilmerchamber.com/hiking-march-madness/
Tubing the Rivers (That’s right! You can tube more than one!)
Cool off from trail explorations with water adventure. Ellijay’s name is derived from Indian word(s) meaning “many waters.” Tube or kayak the Ellijay River, Cartecay River or the Coosawattee River. All three offer a combination of relaxation and fun!
Cartecay River Experience, Kayak & Tube Rentals, 706-531-4746
Coosawattee Tubing Company, 706-635-1609
Ellijay River Outfitters, 706-889-8697
Spend the Day at the Beach … on Carter’s Lake
Continue water pursuits at the beach! If you can’t make it to the ocean this summer, don’t despair. Carter’s Lake offers a great beach at Harris Branch for families to enjoy–sans the sharks. Harris Branch also offers camping and a pavilion to enjoy a picnic. Another beach at Fort Mountain State Park provides a second option for refreshing summer relaxation.
If you go
The beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains originate in Gilmer County and rental cabins of all sizes dot the countryside, each unique and offering peaceful surroundings. Or, try sleeping in a vintage Airstreams or glamping in a geodesic dome at Elatse Yi. Whether you’re looking for a night under the stars at one of the area’s many campsites, a hotel room or a charming bed and breakfast, Ellijay, Georgia, can accommodate every overnight need.