THE NORTH GEORGIA MOUNTAINS
Point to Point
The Georgia Gravel Traverse is gravel/bikepacking route across some of the highest mountains in North Georgia. Showcasing Georgia’s spectacular mountains and world class gravel, the GGT meanders 252 miles and climbs close to 29,000 feet from the Georgia-South Carolina border to the western edge of the Cohutta Mountains.
With a preference for ridges and peaks, the Georgia Gravel Traverse will test both your physical and mental strength. The route is as beautiful as it is demanding, traversing a variety of terrain and ecosystems as snakes its way through fern filled coves, follows rivers on quiet country roads, climbs to remote peaks and passes Appalachian homesteads forgotten in time.
In spite of the demands, water and resupply are never far away except at the western end of the route where the rugged Cohutta Mountains still keep modern conveniences at bay. The route even passes three Georgia state campgrounds with showers, laundry and wifi if one were so inclined.
While remote and difficult, this route lacks the bushwhacks, obstacles and long singletrack sections of more infamous individual time trail courses. Paved country roads and established forest service roads make the GGT more suitable for gravel touring and bikepacking. The GGT was developed with ordinary gravel bikes and 38 mm tires in mind.
The route was developed to be ridden east to west over five days but can be adapted as needed to suit individual needs and styles. Elevation gain is likely to be the deciding factor on how you plan to ride the Georgia Gravel Traverse.
- Bears are active in North Georgia, especially in the Cohutta Mountains on the western end of the route. Hanging a bear bag is recommended when camping anywhere in North Georgia.
- Forest Service roads from mile 224 (Jacks River Fields Campground) through mile 239 (West Cow Pen Rd at Mill Creek Rd) are closed seasonally during winter. The roads will be gated and impassible to motor vehicles. Check the National Forest Service website before heading out.
- Automobiles may be left at the Ridley Fields at the start of the route or Jacks River Trailhead in Alaculsey at the end of the route. Both locations are popular trailheads for hikers. Bears are active in Alaculsey so don't leave food in your car.
- Streams, creeks and rivers are plentiful in North Georgia and in places water simply pours out of the side of the mountains. The only exception may be at the tops of ridges or during times of drought. Filter early and often is always good advice and as a general rule, it is always best to fill up before any big climb.
- Convenience stores are scattered along the route but expect to be self sufficient west of Cherry Log as there is only one store and its hours are unpredictable.
- Cimmi’s Cafe in Helen has great breakfast and nearby Betty’s Country store offers fresh fruits and veggies.
- Van Zandt’s Grill at mile 188 offers country biscuits.
- Mountain Crossings, one of the premier outfitters for Appalachian Trail thru-hikers is located near mile 130.
- Three Georgia State Parks are located on the route with laundry, showers and wifi.