Big Texas Valley isn't in Texas but a few minutes north of the city of Rome in northwest Georgia. Its the ideal start location for this 47 mile paved road route where you'll encounter easy pedaling on quiet country roads punctuated by two significant climbs. The area has a thriving cycling scene and draws cyclists from Chattanooga, Atlanta and points beyond.
THE TOCCOA SWINGING BRIDGE
North Georgia's 47 & 51 mile mixed-surface Toccoa Swinging Bridge routes cross the Toccoa river twice, first an antique steel bridge in the quaint town of Aska and again on a cable suspended bridge which really does swing. Both feature quiet country roads through broad valleys framed by mountain peaks, lakes, rivers, pristine forests and sustained gravel climbs. The longer option will test your skill on the blistering "High House" descent. Either option will likely be one of the prettiest routes you will ever ride.
TALKING ROCK GRAVEL
The 45 mile mixed-surface Talking Rock Gravel route is an absolute blast. Portions beg to be hammered and lots of climbing adds spice. The route starts one hour north of Atlanta and features impressive views of Rich and Burnt Mountains, meadows, orchards and genteel countryside. For those so inclined there's even mid-ride charcuterie and tasting available at a winery right on the route.
The 38 mile Grassy Mountain gravel route takes in all the North Georgia Cohutta Mountains have to offer. Expect a massive climb, a blistering descent, breathtaking vistas, and a fast finish.
BLUE CAR BODY ROAD
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.
DAS BOOT CUP
Georgia's 46 mile Das Boot Cup route goes up, then down, then up some more, most of it on gravel forest service roads. "You will be climbing for the next hour" explained one rider. Beautiful landscapes, lots of options for apres-ride in the City of Helen and a crossing of Duke's Creek make this an unforgettable route.
The start of the 68 mile Gravel Reaper route is located two hours north of Atlanta in the heart of Georgia's Blue Ridge Mountains. The area is a mecca for outdoor activity and on summer weekends you may encounter dozens of others on MTB, gravel and road bikes. This route climbs and descends several ridges and passes Camp Merrill, home to the US Army's 5th Ranger Training Battalion.
COHUTTA DEATH MARCH
The Cohutta Death March is a 76 mile circumnavigation of the federally protected Cohutta Wilderness in North Georgia and adjoining Big Frog Wilderness in Tennessee. Using gravel forest service roads for all but one mile, this route lives up to its name.