Saturday, March 27, 2010

Yahoola Creek Reservoir Trail, Dahlonega, Georgia

Getting There:
 Head out of Dahlonega north past the Walmart on the "bypass." Go straight through the stop light at the entrance to Walmart,  and straight through the stoplight at the junction with 52.  Shortly after the second light, hang a right into the small gravel parking area overlooking the dam.

The Route:
Head down across the dam, and hang a left up through the ditch next to the road.  Continue straight a little ways, go around the yellow gate, and head down past the couple of shelters.  From here the trail is really straight forward and goes around the lake and back up in the woods.  It then comes out into a clearing by the highway again.  You're almost done, but bear left back towards the lake to pick up one lest section of open trail.  Round about the boat landing the trail ends, and to connect the loop you'll have to hop on the highway quick, cross over the bridge, and that will bring you back to your car! In total this will be about a 3.5-4 mile loop.

All About the Trail:
This is a very new trail: construction finished in December of 2009.  It was built by a local greenspace-type advocacy association, and as such is wide doubletrack because they apparently knew very little about what goes in to making a quality trail that will actually attract visitors instead of just being a ho-hum trail for the locals to walk when they are bored. 

That being said, this is one of the only trails in-town to take your bike off-road.  Currently, there are no signs permitting or banning bikes, and there has been a decent amount of bicycle traffic on it.  Until some sort of notice is posted indicating what sort of travel is allowed, I (and everyone else) assumes that it is fair game!  (Written 03/26/2010)

Despite the fact that it is wide doubletracky stuff, this trail is actually a fun ride through the woods. The views of the reservoir are awesome, and anytime away from the hustle and bustle of the world is a good time.

As I said, the people who constructed the trail weren't well versed on quality trail construction.  I.E.: expect some steep, anaerobic climbs that are going to make your heart rate spike!  This four mile loop packs a punch and can provides a pretty decent workout, especially if you ride to the trailhead from home.

Other side effects of poor construction:
  • Steep, fall line hills with sharp turns at the bottom that disrupt flow.
  • Hills that are begging to be deeply eroded in less than a year due to the fall-line nature, overall steepness, and the lack of grade changes.
Here's an update with more information on the status of the trail, from a review posted on the listing:

Just a couple of notes: This trail was built by Todd Smith Grading Co., by contract to Lumpkin County, who received a Recreational Trails Program grant through GA DNR. It was NOT built by Yahoola Trails Conservancy (or any other advocacy organization). In fact, YTC attempted to assist the county with the planning, design, and even construction, but the County wanted complete control...and this trail is the unfortunate result. What a missed opportunity! At any rate, it is supposed to be a single-use (hiking) trail, but it has not been marked as such (there are no maps/markings at all yet) fact the County says it is not "officially" open, but plenty of people are using it. Because of several very steep grades (>35%!) this trail would be rated as "most difficult," but it is very wide (more of a road than a trail) and very scenic. If you are using it, please do anything you can do to improve it.

Nearby Trails: 


Anonymous,  June 19, 2011 at 8:56 PM  

Well that's Lumpkin county for you. Look out how badly the roads are repaired in the county. Just sit in at county meeting or even a chamber of commerce meeting and see backwards thinking they are.

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