July 31, 2018
Mountain Biking in Helen, Georgia
By: Ginevra Boyes
North Georgia is a mountain biker’s paradise. Its rugged mountain ranges and scenic Southern beauty attract mountain bikers from all across the country looking to conquer its world-renowned trails. Even for novices, mountain biking is the perfect way to explore the natural beauty of the region while getting the blood pumping along the way. The sights will take your breath away, both literally and figuratively. Whether you are advanced or a beginner, you will find a perfect trail for you. Here is our exclusive guide to mountain biking in and around Helen, Georgia.
Beginners should consider taking the Gap Ride with Woody’s Mountain Bikes. Woody’s will fit you for a bike and helmet, drive you to the mountain, and help you prepare for your self-guided tour of the trail. People of all ages can do this trail, from kids as young as 10 to super-fit septuagenarians. The compacted dirt on the trail makes for a smoother ride, perfect for those not yet accustomed to rocky and uneven terrain. Along the way, you’ll pass nearly a dozen waterfalls, including the stunning Horse Trough Falls. Plan on alotting 2-5 hours for this pleasant 14-mile ride.
Unicoi State Park is a beautiful 1,050-acre park located in the gorgeous mountains just outside of Helen. With its waterfalls, sparkling mountain lakes, and many excellent hiking and biking trails, Unicoi is one of the most popular parks in the state. We recommend the Unicoi Mountain Bike Trail, a moderate 7.5 loop through some of the most marvelous mountain terrain in the area. There are many stunning scenic overlooks along the way where you can stop to catch your breath and soak in the views.
The Cloudland Canyon Connector Trail is another popular route near Helen. It is a thrilling 14-mile, out and back trail nestled within the 5 Points Recreation Area. Formerly a coal mining area, it is now blanketed in beautiful middle-growth forest. Trail runners, hikers, horseback riders, and mountain bikers all flock to the Connector Trail for an invigorating adventure. It is considered moderate to strenuous, with some adrenaline-boosting jumps along the way.
Now it’s time for the really serious stuff. Hickory Nut Ridge Trail is considered one of the most difficult trails in all of Georgia. This intense, 19-mile single-track trail boasts an impressive 2,500 feet of elevation gain. The ride may be challenging, but many bikers comment on how smooth and well-maintained the trails are. But be warned: going down, it is recommended to stay on the lookout for rocks and other minor obstacles. This is one of the most epic rides in Georgia, so don’t miss it if you are up to the task.
Mountain Bike Shops
Woody’s Mountain Bikes is Helen’s premier bicycle shop, here to help with any and all of your biking needs. At Woody’s, you can rent a bike and gear, come for repairs, and book a convenient shuttle with other riders. They also offer several guided rides to take some of the burden of planning off you. They organize the Gap Ride as well as gold mine trips and rides along the Chattahoochee River. Even if you just come in search of recommendations, their skilled and friendly employees will ensure that you have the best mountain biking experience possible.
There are many wonderful things to do in Helen, Georgia, but mountain biking is one of our favorites. After your strenuous day on the trails, come back to the Sylvan Valley Lodge to enjoy a relaxing glass of wine while watching the sun set over beautiful Yonah Mountain.
Planning a mountain biking adventure to Helen, Georgia? Book a stay at the Sylvan Valley Lodge & Cellars, a winery bed & breakfast with rustic charm and unbeatable mountain views.