POWDER SPRINGS, GEORGIA
Out and Back
The Morgan Valley Century route utilizes the scenic and car-free Silver Comet Trail for most of its length while gently rolling, low traffic Morgan Valley Road eliminates what is arguably the least appealing section of the trail. This could be your first century or your next PR. A variety of trailhead options make this route adaptable to rides of any length.
Georgia’s Silver Comet Trail extends west from the outskirts of Atlanta to the Alabama border. Alabama’s Chief Ladiga trail picks up where the Silver Comet Trail leaves off and together they make up one of the longest contiguous paved trails in the United States. Many sections of both trails are scenic and with one or two notable exceptions, very flat.
The Morgan Valley Century route takes full advantage of the “SCT” as it is known locally. Along the way you will pedal through the 800 foot long tunnel under Brushy Mountain and over the 750 foot long former railroad trestle which spans Pumpkinvine Creek.
Not all of the trail is appealing however. The section between Rockmart and Cedartown parallels a highway and climbs over what used to be a garbage dump. Mogan Valley Rd is a worthy alternative with views of the ridge to the south, several horse farms and opportunities for two additional store stops. Morgan Valley Rd becomes Antioch Rd as it approaches Cedartown and it turns what can be a slog on the Silver Comet Trail into a genuinely sublime ride.
A variety of trailheads allow shorter or longer rides depending on where one cares to start. Started at the Florence Rd trailhead in Powder Springs, the Pumpkinvine Trestle will be reached at mile 11 and the Brush Mountain Tunnel at mile 19. With good weather you can expect lots of other cyclists on the Silver Comet with a significant reduction in pedestrians west of the city of Dallas. On a cold fall or winter day you may have the Silver Comet Trail all to yourself. Five cars passing on Morgan Valley Rd would be a lot.
Keep in mind that bridges, tunnels and other factors cause mapping software to grossly overestimate elevation. Your GPS will likely report less than 2000 feet climbing when you are done. 20 feet/mile is as flat as it gets in Northwest Georgia and this route has even been ridden on 48×16 fixed gear bikes.
- Plan on self sufficiency to the west of Cedartown.
- Much of the Silver Comet Trail is through dense hardwood forest and shaded. While advantageous for summer riding, it can cause the trail to stay quite wet after significant rain.
- Access the Silver Comet Trail at mile 42.5 via the driveway to Kimoto Technologies.
- Parking is free at all trailheads.
- Store stops are often a short distance off the trail and not always visible from the trail itself. The stores indicated on the map are the most reliable.
- South Marble Coffee is located in Rockmart, 50 yards away from the turn onto Church Street.
- Mack’s Bakery is located in Rockmart only a short distance from the route. The spicy cheese straws are worth a few extra pedal strokes.
- Reliable store stops are indicated on the map.
- Convenience stores, fast food restaurants and a supermarket are located one half mile off the route at the intersection of Highway 278 (Jimmy Cambell Parkway) and Highway 61 (Nathan Dean Blvd). Take the spur trail at the Paulding Chamber trailhead at mile 8 westbound and mile 95 on the return leg.
Much of Morgan Valley Rd/Antioch Rd has been paved. The two long sections of cracked pavement are now as smooth as silk. Morgan Valley was stunning with yellowtops in bloom, horse farms and extremely few motor vehicles. All dogs were behind physical or invisible fence.
Did the full route with a friend all the way to Anniston, AL. We did a leisurely ride and stayed overnight in Cedartown, GA and ate at the sports bar (only one in town). Great ride and very easy riding until you get near Rockmart and suddenly the hills sneak up on you. Love this site, and thanks for putting it together.
Thanks for the kind words about the site Chris.
The Silver Comet Century route posted here actually avoids the hills on the trail by using scenic Morgan Valley Rd which eliminates the trail entirely between Rockmart and Cedartown. Morgan Valley adds opportunities for two additional store stops and is much nicer than the section of trail along the highway.
Check out the route map for your next attempt.