Monday, February 22, 2010

Jake Mountain, Dahlonega, Georgia

Getting There
From Dahlonega, Georgia head West out of town on Hwy 9.  Take a right onto Hwy 52, and then 4.6 miles later take a right onto Nimblewill Church Road at the old Grizzle's Country Store. Take a right at the Jake Mountain parking lot sign, and take a left/straight into the first parking lot. The trail starts by the corner with the fence. Click here for the trailhead's Google Map placepoint

The Route
Beginning from the trailhead just off of Nimblewill Church road, continue down the gravel road, past the campsites, past the outhouse, and the trailhead will eventually be on your left.  Ride on up the trail.  Eventually, there will be a couple of forks in the trail, offering several options.  Please refer to either the red Bull Mountain map from Milestone Press, or the Maps Illustrated map #777. Also, Jim Parham's Off the Beaten Track. is a good reference for this ride.

The left most fork will lead you to connect over with the Jones Creek Ridge trail, and if you bear more towards the right you will be able to hook up with either the No Tell trail or the Black Branch.

4 Foot Deep Trench
All About the Trail
The Jake Mountain trail is a very mixed bag.  It begins as a wide doubletrack climb, but narrows into some beautiful, long sections of singletrack intermittently throughout its length.  Jake Mountain, along with Bull Mountain, are historically two of the oldest and most popular trails in the area.  As such, they have both seen (and continue to see) the most traffic, especially from horses.  Jake Mountain is a really popular horseback ride, and many sections of the trail have been hammered, widened, and destroyed by hooves.  This has created the single most technical section in the entire network.  With the trail turned into a 4 foot deep ditch at the top, several 2-3 foot drops, washouts, and loose rocks and dirt, that single section can prove to be a challenge, especially to those with minimal suspension. More than anything, this section of trail is an ugly testimony to the incredible damage that horses can do to a trail, especially when ridden wet.

The ditch-like vestige is a fate that many of the trails in the area which are popular to horseback riders  have suffered, and Jake Mountain is no exception.  There are most definitely sections of this trail that are a joy to ride and embody the essence of gorgeous singletrack, and there are some that exist to define what a worn out trail looks like.

One last note: be prepared for several serious stream crossings, especially in the spring.

Bottom line: be prepared for everything. Steep climbs, deep streams, gorgeous singletrack, gnarly descents, boring doubletrack, and navigational nightmares.

Update 10/12/2010:
The horse people finally decided to take care of the mess they caused with the massive washout pictured above. They got a small trail dozer in and flattened it out, so now instead of a 3-4 foot deep ditch it is a 3-4 foot wide section of doubletrack:

Also, while they were at it they rebuilt a couple of the turns further up the trail, and fortified them with some big stones.  Not the most mountain biker friendly rebuild, but it works:

In addition, I want to add a little bit of commentary about the trail as a whole.  In the body of the previous review it may seem like I'm giving this trail a bad rap.  In truth, that wasn't my goal.  Sure, there are a couple of sections that aren't all that great to ride, but some spots are simply sublime one-track! There are a couple sections in specific that run through the deep trees on heavily shaded northern aspects (most of the trails in the area are on southern-ish slopes) that are narrow, fast, and a joy to ride!  So get out and ride Jake Mountain.

The Rest of the Trails in the Bull / Jake Mountain Network:
Your Turn: Do you have more information that needs to be included, or do you have information on new developments since I originally posted this review?  If so, please leave a comment and help keep this post up-to-date and as useful as possible.

Rides at this Trail 


Anonymous,  April 6, 2011 at 10:08 AM  

I resent the implication that the "horse people" have ruined these trails when they have been the driving force to build and maintian these trails. They are not exclusivley bike trails. We repair the ruts and ditches and that should be appreciated. We share these beautiful places and gladly, but let's not throw blame around.

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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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