Starting about an hour northwest of Atlanta, the 100% paved Johnson Mountain route enjoys 25 miles of gently rolling terrain through Bartow County, Georgia before heading into the hills east of Highway 411. Here you’ll encounter 10% grades, descents to test your nerve and views which rival anything in the south. This is 53 miles of some of the finest road cycling the area has to offer.
|The Johnson Mountain route was contributed by SoutheastCyclingRoutes.com contributor GREG HANCHAR.|
Sosebee Cycling Park in White, Ga is most often associated with pastoral landscapes and gently rolling terrain. The Johnson Mountain route takes its fill but then heads into the hills for some great climbing and spectacular views. The Tower of Terror route is similar but the Johnson Mountain route lacks the chipseal which makes the Tower of Terror so special. Many of the roads on the Johnson Mountain route were freshly paved and delightfully smooth when the route was scouted in April 2021.
Initial miles will be familiar to those who frequent the area as the route heads north from the cycling park. Those riding out of Sosebee for the first time can expect sprawling ranches, picturesque country estates and freestanding chimneys marking where homes once stood. More of the same continues after the route turns east, following playful Covington Bridge Rd and eventually reaching Highway 411 in Fairmount for a store stop.
The rolling hills invite riders with a little pep in their legs to stand and apply some power. Those who prefer to sit and spin will find that climbs never seem to last more than a minute or two. Either way, the first 25 miles pass relatively quickly and all but the most ardent hammerheads will be able to hold a conversation and enjoy the countryside.
It’s a different story after the store. 40% of the climbing on the Johnson Mountain route is concentrated in the ten miles immediately after the stop. The climb up Carter Mountain averages 5% while the climb to the top of Johnson Mountain hits 10%. The entire section is like a roller coaster.
Along with the climbing are some genuinely technical descents which will test both your bike handling skills and your brakes. There are at least two steep descents to stop signs and several 90 degree turns which are easy to overcook. Experienced cyclists don’t need to be lectured but over the years these roads have surprised even veteran riders so please use prudent judgement. RULE #1 // Arrive Alive.
The 20 miles section after the store is a visual delight. Scenery rivals anything in the southeast. Expect mountaintop vistas and views of Pine Log Mountain at the tops of almost every climb. Townsend Teague Rd is particularly notable and the entire route is littered with old cars, faded signs and genuinely friendly people. While scouting the route we asked a local rancher for some water and were invited to their cookout for burgers and dogs instead!
SoutheastCyclingRoutes.com recommends riding the Johnson Mountain route twice; once slowly to enjoy the scenery and again to simply enjoy the act of pedaling a bicycle in such a wonderful place. A shorter Little Johnson route is provided below for those who find the Big Johnson too much to handle. Be sure to add your comments below after your enjoy either. Input on route conditions and ride experiences is invaluable to other cyclists and a great way to help fellow cyclists here in the southeast.
- The line on your GPS may deviate from the actual road in a few spots, especially in the trees around mile 20 on Covington Bridge Rd. Don't be alarmed. Follow the obvious road and you will be okay.
- Garmin GPS' never seem to announce the turn onto Bozeman Rd at mile 3.9. Remember to bear left.
- Motorists near Sosebee Cycling Park seem to be well acclimated to the presence of cyclists on the road and generally interact without drama. Please reciprocate and single up when it is safe to do so.
- Online maps show about 3200 ft of climbing. Your GPS is likely to show closer to 3600 ft.
- Sosebee Cycling Park has changing rooms, potties, picnic tables, grills and plenty of free parking. See the Sosebee Cycling Park website for more information and consider a donation if you have the means.
- The cycling park is located in White, Georgia, a few miles off Interstate 75 exit 296. Stores at the exit will be your last chance for supplies before reaching the route start.
- The Johnson Mountain route has a single store stop at mile 25. The OK Corral Grocery & Deli is a staple of the local riding scene and the coffee is surprisingly good.
- The Little Johnson route has store stops at 13 and 34 miles.
- The nearest town with full services is Cartersville, approximately 10 miles to the south.
Found this site a couple weeks ago. Been getting into biking more as my joints are not liking running. Rode Johnson Mtn loop in counterclockwise direction. Very beautiful with a tough climb on Johnson Mtn Road. The roads are amazing compared to downtown Atlanta. Very smooth.
Rode this route yesterday. Absolutely amazing ride! Thank you for putting this site together. Can’t wait to try out other routes on here. I’m new to the area and this is exactly what I’m looking for.
Interesting. I rode it Sunday as well, with a group of 7. Hot, but amazing climbs and views!
Ah yes, I think I was finishing when you were starting, I saw a group getting ready to head out. I started in the morning, I was sweating on the later half of my ride can only imagine what it was like in the heat that day.
Apologies for delay did not see reply initially. Getting over an injury and planning my next ride 🙂
Following you now on Strava Matt 🙂 Really loving the photos, especially the “Crash scene reenactment.” LoLing right now.
Great route and write-up/photos, Tim and Greg! Truly a gem of a ride.