Blanket Creek Trail Map – you can download the full version on the SORBA – Woodstock website (link at bottom of this blog)
I’m in Atlanta for a couple of months on a job. Brought my bike with me. Can’t believe Delta charges $150 for a bike. Alaska only charges $75. What a rip. Especially since my bike box is lighter than my luggage!! Even with a floor pump, cycling shoes, helmet, bike lock, and assorted tools / gack – it only weighed 38lbs. Anyhoo, slightly frustrating… but I digress- the important thing is my bike made it here in one piece.
Unpacking the bike and crossing fingers that all is intact.
Within minutes, my bike was built – bam!
I had a free day on Sunday before we began shooting on Monday. I decided to hit what most around here consider the best “local” trail system- Blanket Creek. It’s about 20 minutes from where my hotel is, and probably around 40 minutes from Midtown. Well worth the drive.
Buff, well-manicured singletrack on the VMT trail
This is a very modern, IMBA-style
trail network. Purpose-built with mountain biking as the primary use (although hikers are allowed as well). It’s a stacked loop system, which basically means they’ve squeezed a lot of trail mileage into a smaller area. This is popular these days as it maximizes acreage in urban areas. It also has the beginning trails closer to the trailhead – perfect for children/families. As you get farther away, you reach the intermediate and advanced terrain.
Even though the trails are all newly signed, they left the cool old signs up too.
Although these “cookie cutter” trail networks lack the character and adventure factor of more primitive / natural trails, they are great for getting people in urban areas on their bikes without making it daunting. Blanket Creek, like many of these “new wave” networks, is ridden one-way. Depending on day of the week, you either ride the loops clockwise or counter. The main beginner trail, Mosquito Flats, is two-way, but has many areas where it splits and passing is very easy. There is also a small skills section at the trailhead called Hamilton’s Hop, where beginners (or anyone) can get the feel for riding dirt and go over some basic features to gain confidence before hitting the trails. Perfect for kids and newbies.
A fun little wooden bridge section on Mosquito Bite
Temps on this day were about 80 degrees. I’m definitely not used to the humidity. I was sweating like a pig! Luckily, almost all of Blanket Creek is shaded, forest riding. Nice and cool in the trees. Mosquito Flats is a great warmup – flat, firm, rolling terrain. I saw a couple Strider bikes, and it made me wish I had some trails like this when Lucy was using one. You soon reach Mosquito Bite, which was more of the same – and then you get to some real riding: the Van Michael Trail and Inner Loop. These trails are very similar, with the Inner Loop basically being a shorter version that cuts off some of the mileage/climbing of VMT. Both are super fun with short, punchy climbs and fast, flowy descents littered with bermed turns. The trail is buff and non-technical, thus very fast. Ideal terrain for a rigid singlespeed!!
Next up was the Dwelling Loop. Very similar to VMT, but more rooty and rocky with slightly longer climbs, although nothing too steep. It had a great flow with the climbs and descents blending into each other and you could carry speed from the downs into the ups. It also got you to some nice scenery including the Alatoona Lake. The cicada are so loud!
A nice bermed turn on the super fun Quehl Holler trail.
After this, it was the main event – South Loop and the Quell Holler jump run. This is the farthest from the trailhead, thus the least crowded. I had South Loop all to myself. The locals tell me that it’s not ridden that often. Maybe that’s why it was my favorite loop? More my style. Longer climbs with some technical spots. Feels remote and secluded, although you do ride near a couple McMansions which spoil the illusion :). You skirt the banks of the Alatoona Lake. Overall, I just enjoyed the “quiet” vibe and got into a good rhythm without having to ring my bell at other riders. I do wish there was some kind of lookout point for the lake. You never get a clear view through the trees, and it would’ve been a great reward at some point. Right at the end of the loop, you can tackle Quell Holler, a short freeride section. I didn’t hit any of the jumps hard, but it still was fun and ended with a big wall ride – sweet!! Great way to end the ride!! After riding Mosquito Flats back to the car, I used the complimentary bike wash in the parking lot – another great perk. All in all, I rode about 15 miles of pristine singletrack. Not too shabby.
These trails were built and are maintained by the local MTB group, SORBA Woodstock.
They’ve done an awesome job – very impressive. Anyhoo, super stoked to pedal in Georgia for the first time! And drink good beer – I hit 5 Seasons Brewing
at the Prado for post-ride replenishment. Life is good.
The bike wash. Nice touch for a trail network.