Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Pinhoti: P2. Ellijay, Georgia


If you live in Georgia, that word conjures up images of endless bike-legal singletrack full of steep climbs and fast descents. The section commonly referred to as "P2" is no exception!

The Route

Out-and-Back Route
From the junction of the gravel roads on Wilderness Road (see driving directions), climb about a half a mile up the road marked with the Pinhoti signs, and then turn right past the gate and onto the trail.

The singletrack climbs along an old road grade for a mile or so before diving into the deep woods. It then begins to drop steeply down towards Mulberry Gap Road. When you reach the road, turn around and ride back up the way you came, if you are doing an out-and-back. Total length is roughly 4 miles each way.

All About the Trail

As I climbed up the old road grade, I was enjoying myself and the trail, but didn't think that it was really up to the caliber that I have come to expect from the Pinhoti Trail. Sure, the tread was narrow and tacky, but the terrain was boring. The bench that the trail lay on had definitely been a road at some point. Now, it was filled with thorny berry bushes and scrubby brush, with the singletrack lying in the center of it all. This wasn't exactly the most exciting terrain to ride.

That all changed in an instant when the trail headed into the woods. The old road grade was abandoned, and the trail transformed into beautiful, bench-cut singletrack! The trees closed in around the trail as it began to twist and turn, creating a much more challenging riding environment.

After a little more climbing, the trail began to tilt down, and the bottom just dropped out! Gone were the mild climbs and rolling descents: fast, furious descending on narrow one-track took it's place!

The descent was such a rush that it was hard to take in the deep, beautiful forest that the trail passed through. All I could think about was pushing into each turn, exploding out the other side, negotiating the roots, and not careening off the end of the next corner.

But no matter: on the steep grind back up I had plenty of time to enjoy the scenery as I agonizingly regained all the elevation I had lost.

Bottom Line

P2 embodies all of the characteristics that I have come to associate with the Pinhoti Trail: narrow, curvy, singletrack; beautiful scenery; and climbing and descending aplenty!

Pinhoti Trail Sign

Getting There

  • From Ellijay, head west out of town on Hwy. 52.
  • After about 8 miles, turn right on Gates Chapel road. 
  • Go about 5.5 miles to the Y in the road.
  • Take the right fork onto Wilderness Road.
  • Go a mile or 2 up to the top of the hill, and look for the Pinhoti signs.
  • Park at the junction where the Pinhoti goes down a gravel road to the left. 
  • Begin biking and follow the signs.


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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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Mountain biking, plain and simple. Trail reviews, ride reports, and philosophical musings induced by delirium from grinding up way too many vertical feet.

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