Mountain biking in winter, if you can avoid freezing temperatures, is one of the best times to hit the trails in Georgia.
At Georgia State Parks, mountain bikers can also spend the night, allowing more time on the trails. With gravel paths and single tracks, the parks have options for all riders, but five of the best mountain bike trails are at Cloudland Canyon, Fort Mountain, Fort Yargo, Unicoi State Park and Watson Mill Bridge state parks.
The Cloudland Connector Trail is one of the least-known. It starts in Cloudland Canyon State Park (Rising Fawn) and extends for 21 miles into Five Points Recreation Area, a multiuse trail on Lookout Mountain.
Bikers will pass scenic overlooks and bump over rocky single track on Fort Mountain State Park’s (Chatsworth) trails. The East/West Loop tests endurance on 14.6 miles of trails, including a technical downhill section. A $3 permit fee is required to ride these bike trails and can be purchased at the park office.
Equally appealing to both beginners and serious riders, the Yellow and Blue-blazed mountain bike trails at Fort Yargo State Park (Winder) are great for going fast.
The mountainous terrain and scenic overlooks at Unicoi State Park (Helen) make the 7.5-mile trail a top pick for experienced riders.
At Watson Mill Bridge State Park (Comer), three primary double-track trails feature fast, lengthy descents through canopied woods.
Looking for added challenge? Check off more than 68 miles of mountain bike trails at Georgia State Parks with the Muddy Spokes Club. The club highlights trails at those and other state parks: Magnolia Springs, Mistletoe, Panola Mountain, Red Top Mountain, Richard B. Russell, Tallulah Gorge, Victoria Bryant.
To join, buy a $10 membership card to get it punched at park visitor centers after completing each trail. Cards are available at parks, by phone at 770-389-7401, or by emailing customer email@example.com. After completing all trails, bikers get a club T-shirt.
For more information, go to GaState Parks.org.