Sunday, April 3, 2011

River Loop Trail Review, Ellijay, Georgia (Day 2)

Despite the fact that the River Loop lies in the flatter land southeast of Ellijay and not in the big Cohutta mountains to the north, don't be deceived: this little trail will test your legs and maybe even your technical abilities.

There are no long, sustained climbs to be found here in the River Loop, but there are plenty of short, steep 10 minute climbs. Of course, these short, steep climbs are paired with short, fast descents, so there is definitely a delicious reward for your hard labor!

While the trails aren't seriously technical, there are a few hairy spots that may test your skills if you haven't been riding for more than a year or two. The initial descent to the river bottom is delightfully rocky and steep: consider getting your butt back behind the saddle, or if you can't handle it take the easy detour to the right.

Overall, I personally don't consider this trail very technically challenging. I personally think of the random spread of roots and rocks as more of an entertaining technicality as it requires you to think about what you're doing, but for the most part it is not challenging enough to threaten a dismount or fall. Of course, it definitely depends on your individual technical proficiency.

The River Loop's best characteristic is definitely its scenic quality. The trail runs along the Cartecay River for a significant distance at two different spots, offering many opportunities to sit on rocks in the middle of the river or take a dip in one of the deep holes. There are a couple incredible views of the mountains, and the trail runs through several gorgeous sections of deep forest that are most assuredly photo-worthy!

Bottom Line

Be ready to grunt up the hills and work your suspension on the way back down, but the beauty of this trail is worth every minute of pain!

The Route

To be honest, both of the times that I have ridden my trail I have not ridden the route that I was trying to ride. My only advice to you is to just try and follow the most worn path, and keep an eye out for the occaisonal sign.

Getting There

From Ellijay, head east out of town on Hwy. 52 for roughly 3.5 miles and take a right onto Mulkey Road. Take another right at the sign for the Rich Mountain WMA Cartecay Tract.

Rider: Greg. Photo: Summer.


bikepirate April 3, 2011 at 9:58 PM  

Thanks for the post Greg. Looks like a sweet trail to ride. I must admit I am jealous, Canmore, Alberta just received 20 cm of snow overnight and it does not feel like spring - the trails look like they won't be ready for another few weeks.

Greg Heil April 4, 2011 at 12:25 PM  

Hey bikepirate,

Thanks for the comment! I hope the snow melts quickly and you guys can hit the trails!

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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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