Accessible from the Chief Ladiga and Silver Comet Rail Trails, the playful and rolling Dugger Mountain gravel routes are available in 41, 52 and 63 mile lengths. All three traverse ridges and climb the sometimes punchy hills in the pine glades of the Talladega National Forest near Piedmont, Alabama.
The Fried Green 28/42/50 routes explore the extensive network of gravel roads in and around the Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge near Juliette, Ga. Located little more than an hour south of Atlanta, three lengths provide options for riders of all abilities. All feature pristine pine glades and hardwood forests, rolling and sometimes playful terrain, a few creek crossings and postcard perfect gravel.
The 53 mile mixed-surface Cades Cove route enters Great Smoky Mountains National Park via a seldom used gravel road over Rich Mountain. Cades Cove is one of the most visited locations in the entire national park system and simply too beautiful to ride fast. The 11 mile paved loop road and gravel roads within the cove are sometimes closed to motor vehicles to allow car free access to cyclists.
Congress authorized the Foothills Parkway as a scenic drive to provide magnificent views into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Located in East Tennessee, 31 miles of the roadway are open as of 2020. The Foothills Parkway route is 63 miles and 8100 feet of climbing if ridden end to end as an out-and-back. Climbers will love it but even if you don't have the legs for the whole route then at least do the newly constructed eastern section for its stunning views.
The 39 mile Murder Creek and 60 mile Double Murder gravel routes meander through pecan groves and past country churches on the rolling back roads of middle Georgia's Jasper County. The start is less than an hour from downtown Atlanta but it feels a world apart.
The 46 mile Cloudland route consists of three long horizontal paved sectors interrupted by two short vertical gravel sectors. The first gravel sector descends the west side of Lookout Mountain to the hamlet of Rising Fawn, GA and another ascends back to the crest. Stunning views, the gorge and waterfalls at Cloudland Canyon State Park and the ride along the escarpment make this an unforgettable route.
The paved Tower of Terror road route climbs and descends the hills northeast of Sosebee Cycling Park in White, Georgia. There is a tower but the only thing frightening about this 66 mile road route is a bit of chipseal. Expect lots of elevation change, some technical descending and virtually no traffic. The area has many interesting features including rushing creeks, a spring which pours out of the mountain and some truly bizarre roads.
The 41 mile mixed-surface Tellico Gorge/Bald River route circles the Bald River Wilderness east of Tellico Plains, Tennessee. The route starts and finishes on the Cherohala Skyway. It includes River Rd through the Tellico River Gorge and 18 miles of gravel through pristine federally protected forest.
North Georgia's 46 mile mixed-surface Swinging Bridge routes crosses the Tocoa river twice, first an antique non-swinging steel bridge in the quaint town of Aska and again on the cable suspended bridge which really does swing. The route features broad valleys with mountain vistas, an uninterrupted 24 mile gravel sector and the blistering "High House" descent. This is one of the prettiest routes in the state.
Alabama's Little River Canyon has been called the Grand Canyon of the East. The waterfall alone is worth seeing but cyclists get to ride along the canyon rim. Two lengths are offered - 39 and 57 miles. Both are 100% paved.
Three County Line routes are based on two decades experience riding the Suburban Atlanta's Cobb and Paulding County roads and provide alternatives to driving an hour or more to the ride start or staring at a screen in the basement.
Expansive ranches, well groomed gravel and WMA access roads make the 48 mile mixed-surface Blue Car Body Road route through rural Paulding County, Georgia seem far removed. Several gated roads and a short section of hike-a-bike give this route an adventurous feel. Even so, a fit rider could cycle to the start from Atlanta.
The adventurous 48 mile mixed-surface Talona Creek route is centered around the self-procliamed "MTB Capital of Georgia." Elijay is more accessible to Atlanta than the far northern mountains and this route includes a little bit of everything, from bucolic country roads past orchards and wineries to gnarly and nearly off the grid gravel and even a bit of seldom used singletrack to keep things spicy.
The Local Routes Project was created to expand our growing list of bicycle routes in the deep south. The goal is to make the best cycling routes available from any location in the southeast. We're looking for great routes in every area as well as updates to routes already published on SoutheastCyclingRoutes.com.