Gorgeous horse ranches, tree canopy tunnels, open views and an almost complete absence of traffic make this 57 mile road route northwest of Cartersville GA as beautiful as it is challenging. Road cyclists have been climbing Boyd Mountain since the days of lugged frames and cue sheets. In spite of its name it isn’t quite the mountains but it isn’t flat by any stretch of the imagination. Lots of elevation change, including the 8% KOM from which the route gets its name, will exercise both your derailleurs and your legs.
|SoutheastCyclingRoutes.com owes a debt of gratitude to contributor GREG HANCHAR for his submission of the Boyd Mountain route.|
Nowadays, routes featuring Boyd Mountain are most often ridden from Sosebee Cycling Park in White, Georgia. Others start in Calhoun to the north. This version starts in the small town of Kingston and forms a compressed loop to the north which more closely resembles the classic Boyd Mountain routes ridden before carbon fiber was a thing.
Take a moment to soft pedal through the all but abandoned downtown before heading out. Kingston was an important railroad town and burned to the ground in the Civil War. Sherpa Guides has a brief overview of the town’s history and notable buildings.
The southern end of the route is defined by rolling hills, dense hardwoods and some wonderful climbing through pine glades during the early miles. A small stone building is passed at mile 3.3, just prior to the pines. This was a quilting house from the early 1900’s where ladies would gather to socialize and sew quilts for expectant mothers and newlyweds. The roof was raised but the building still contains the original quilting frames.
Expansive views open up toward the northern end of the route where you will enjoy stately horse ranches and a spin along a most interesting bayou formed by the damming of Dry Creek. The ten mile segment leading up to the store stop is as close to flat as north Georgia gets and a welcome respite before climbing resumes. Most of the route is genuinely hilly however, so beware of blowing up early.
The Boyd Mountain climb itself is about 0.7 miles long and 6.6% average grade. It relents about half way up, allowing one to catch a breath, and then maxes out at around 8% just before the top. This is a “Goldilocks” hill if there ever was one – long enough to be a genuine challenge but not so steep as to be sadistic. It’s just right for racing your friends to the top or testing your fitness on a solo effort.
Those not too intent on taking the KOM might note the house and windmill on the left as one nears the summit. Mr. James “JR” Boyd himself tells SoutheastCyclingRoutes.com that the home was built from wood salvaged from a North Carolina YMCA which was built in the late 1800. The lumber was hauled to Georgia and the home was perched on the overlook circa 1918. The property consisted of 800 acres and at various times included an orchard and dairy farm. The Cohutta mountains are visible from the front porch on a clear day. Mr. Boyd is a perfect gentleman. Don’t hesitate to say hello if you see him out and about.
After the climb, Boyd Mountain Rd rewards riders with a pretty section of dense hardwoods and flowy pavement carved into the hillside. The routes highest point is reached at mile 44.4 where a series of long descents signal that the route is nearing the end. The descent on Rock Fence Rd is over two miles long! Compact cranks are sure to spin out. Tuck down and enjoy.
As published, the Boyd Mountain Route is just under 57 miles. Riders looking for a bigger day can start at the Hardin Bridge Boat Ramp which also happens to be the start of the Taylorsville route. Starting at the boat ramp adds eight miles and 450-ish feet of climbing. Almost all of the additional climbing is at the end of the route so keep this in mind as you meter your effort. A map of the long option is linked below.
Please post a comment if you ride the Boyd Mountain route. Your feedback helps other riders keep up with conditions and is a great way to participate in the local cycling community.
- Dogs are ubiquitous in Georgia. Unfortunately not all owners are responsible. Animal control recommends carrying pepper spray.
- The ungrammatical "Extreme Danger" death sign is a great spot for a souvenir selfie. Pay it no mind.
- Be alert for the hairpin turn onto Mulinix Rd at mile 51.4. Its easy to blow past as you descend Connesena Rd but doing so means climbing back up to get back to the route.
- Park at the Kingston Park which is next door to the police/fire station or downtown along Railroad Street.
- There are no bathrooms at the ride start in Kingston.
- For those riding the longer route, the boat ramp has porta-potties but may lack toilet paper. Bring your own roll just in case.
- The nearest full service towns are Cartersville, approximately 10 miles to the southeast and Rome, approximately 15 miles to the west.