Monday, February 8, 2010

Hawkes Creek Farm, Athens, Georgia

Getting There
From the loop, take the Lexington (HWY 78) exit, and head East (away from Athens) on 78.  Follow it all the way into Oglethorpe County. As you crest a hill and pass a church, take a left onto Yancey Road.  Follow it all the way through Arnoldsville until it T's into Hargrove Lake Road.  Take a left on Hargrove Lake Road, go a couple of miles, and towards the bottom of a hill there will be a small sign for Hawkes Creek Farm on the right.  Park at the small bike parking area right after the turn off. The trail starts on the other side of the road from the  parking area (it's obvious).
Click here for the Google Map trailhead location

The Route
The Route is basically a straight-up loop. From the parking area, head up the short hill, and I recommend riding the loop in a counter-clockwise direction.  Head straight on that trail, and after a bit it pops you out on a short bit of dirt road.  Continue straight, and then hang the left between the two fenced-in pastures. After riding between the fences you'll end up in a field. Either follow the singletrack looping through the field, or cut straight down the hill into the trees.  After that, there's not much way to get lost.  This loop serves up 9 miles of very "single" singletrack.

Also note: this trail is a split use trail system between bikes and horses.  Only ride your bike on odd days of the month (ex: 1,3,5,7...)

All About the Trail
My opinion of this trail changed greatly over the year that I lived in the Athens area. I first rode it after moving here from Montana, and frankly, the vast majority of the singletrack I've ridden in Georgia and South Carolina doesn't hold a candle to Rocky Mountain singletrack. Considered regionally, however, this trail became my favorite ride in the Athens area. It is true singletrack, and not any of the super-wide trail that is generally found at places like Fort Yargo. Hawkes Creek gets pretty stinking narrow at parts, and it's one of the more technical rides in the area too. there are several fun rock and root gardens, as well as a couple of small drops and slick rock rides. However, you can head to North Georgia and find rides way more technical than this really easily. The climbs come on quickly, and the descents, just as quickly.

This trail also gets surprisingly little traffic, probably due to the fact that it can be hard to find. But it is so worth it! The seclusion offered while riding this trail is a welcome breath of fresh air as compared to the business of the city of Athens.

Bottom line: Visiting the Athens area? Make this your one must-ride trail.

Hawkes Creek


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Greg Heil is the Editor in Chief for He's been writing and publishing online since before blogging existed.

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