Ride Report: Sope Creek, Big Creek, Rope Mill, Allatoona Creek – Atlanta, GA

Edited 10/21/14 – After originally about Sope Creek, I rode some similar trails in the Atlanta area and decided to add them to this blog instead of writing completely new posts for each.  If you have some time to ride in the ATL area, think about trying Big Creek, Rope Mill, and Allatoona Creek.  Depending on which area you’re in, these are similar in character and great alternatives to Sope Creek and Blanket Creek – I’ve added notes and photos from these rides at the bottom of this blog.
Sope Creek: This is a stellar after-work ride plopped right on the Chattahoochee River only 10 miles from Midtown, Atlanta.  Caveat – this area gets a lot of foot traffic from joggers and dog walkers, especially on weekends.  So be ready to encounter lots of fluorescent Nikes, camel-toed Lulemon clad yogis, and bluetooth stock traders.

Taking a break at one of the many trail signs.

Taking a break at one of the many trail signs.

 The yuppie crowd sticks mostly to the graded fireroad trails, so once you jump on the singletrack loops, you’re good to go.  Speaking of singletrack, there are two main loops open to bikes, the rest is off limits to bikes.  It’s very well signed (see photos) – so it’s pretty much impossible to make a wrong turn and accidentally poach.  Some of the hikers/dog walkers might try to make you feel like you’re poaching on the bike trails anyway – but you’re not.  They’re just grumpy they have to share, even though they can easily hike on the “closed to bikes” trails instead.  Like most of the other trail networks in this area, it’s directional to bikes based on day of the week.  This is good, keeps the riding fresh and increases safety.

It's easy to tell which trails are closed to bikes.  Makes it easy to navigate and feel confident you aren't poaching.

It’s easy to tell which trails are closed to bikes. Makes it easy to navigate and feel confident you aren’t poaching.

One other weird note – there is a trail speed limit here.  10mph max speed.  I couldn’t help but to laugh at this as I was riding.  I kept expecting a cop to bust out from behind a tree with his radar gun yelling “hault!”.  “Son, do you know you were going 12 in a 10 around that bermed corner back there?”.

Rules of the trail - 10mph speed limits or else!

Rules of the trail – 10mph speed limits or else!

I get the intention of the speed limit – safety between multiple user groups and all that .  Noted.  But it’s hilarious.  One quick peak at Strava will show you that nobody adheres to it.
Oh yeah, be ready to pay $3 to park.
With all that said, just wanna reiterate that this is a super fun ride if you’re short on time and just wanna shred for an hour, or people watch while making laps on the graded paths.  Down the road is Heirloom BBQ which my friend Chris turned me on to – great place to grub after!

Taking a quick break - man, riding here in the Fall is so LUSH!

Taking a quick break – man, riding here in the Fall is so LUSH!

One of the upper trailheads goes by this peaceful little lake - far from the Yuppie parade near the main trailhead

One of the upper trailheads goes by this peaceful little lake – far from the Yuppie parade near the main trailhead

Allatoona Creek:

  • This is a fun, quiet place to ride.  The hunting signs are a bit concerning.  I rode in September, when you can’t ride before 10am because it’s open for hunting.  In November and December the trails are completely closed due to hunting.  When I rode, it was around 10:30am, and a huge deer crossed the trail.  I couldn’t help but to imagine a hunter tracking it.
  • These trails are directional based on day of the week, much like many of the other trail networks in the Atlanta area
  • Turtle Back Loop and Spur (5.3 miles) – is my favorite part of the network … good flow and very fast.  It’s not technical, but fun nonetheless. 
  • Mason’s Bridge Loop (5 miles) is also fun, as well as Voo Doo.  Worth giving a shot if your’re in the the area.  There are more proposed trails coming soon.  Click on the link below for updates and maps.
  • More Info on Hunting Closures, Directions to Trailhead, and Map

    I've never seen signs like this on a bike trail before.  Then again, I've never ridden in "The South" before.

    I’ve never seen signs like this on a bike trail before. Then again, I’ve never ridden in “The South” before.

Big Creek:

  • Not my favorite, but if you’re in the Roswell area it’s worth a go.  Only 7 miles of XC trails and a few short freeride trails with some decent features.  But hey, it is singletrack.
  • I liked the Troll Bridge, Hurts So Good and Pine Hill the best – but it’s all decent.  El Scorcho has a couple short steep climbs to get you to the top of the freeride stuff, and that area is worth doing a few laps on.
  • More Info and Map

    Nothing better than rolling over golden leaves, fallen from recent rains.

    Nothing better than rolling over golden leaves, fallen from recent rains.

Rope Mill aka Taylor Randahl Memorial Bike Trails at Olde Rope Mill Park:

  • Such a fun, under-rated place to ride.  It’s only a couple of miles from Blanket Creek, so it gets much less attention.  But this also makes it less crowded and in my mind, a hidden jem.  It’s worthwhile to ride on it’s own, or combine it with Blankets if you’re looking for more saddle time. 
  • There are two main loops – Explorer (beginner, 3 miles) and Avalanche (intermediate, 6.5 miles).  Each of the main loops is divided into 3 smaller loops – in case you don’t want to do the full loop, you can bail out early. 
  • Explorer is a good warmup, and Avalanche rides very fast with lots of good flow.
  • More Info, Directions to Trailhead, and Map
  • Singletracks Page

    More luscious singletrack and changing colors.  Rope Mill in autumn is killer.

    More luscious singletrack and changing colors. Rope Mill in autumn is killer.

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