Typical North Georgia mountain biking. Lots of ups and lots of down with a mix of rock, roots, and washouts to make it fun. There are four trails ranging from beginner to “seat of your pants” expert.
Directions to Blankets Creek
Take I-575 north from Atlanta and exit on Sixes Road (Exit 11) make a left at the light. Follow Sixes Road approximately 3/4 of a mile. You will see the sign on the right side of the road indicating that the trail head is on the left side of the road. Turn into the left turn/u-turn lane. The entrance will be on the right. Parking is available here or at the church just up the road.
Blankets Creek Specs
Classification: Cross Mountain, it adds a little bit of both!
Trail Difficulty: Whoa! Airtime. (medium)
Trail Traffic: Little help here (medium)
Blankets Creek Mountain Bike Trail Review
By far my favorite trail around Atlanta. Blankets Creek provides something for everyone. The trail network consists of approximately 19 miles of sweet, succulent singletrack. The trails are broken up into various groups. They are Mosquito Flats (beginner), Mosquito Bites (beginner/intermediate), Dwelling loop (intermediate), the South loop (intermediate/expert), and Area 51/Van Michael’s trail (expert). The trails are well marked and the loops are directional. Clockwise Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Counter clockwise Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. SORBA Woodstock handles trail maintenance (much thanks!) and IMBA bike patrols are out helping everyone.
The trails themselves are great fun.
Mosquito Bites and Flats are geared toward to the recreational rider providing enough wow factor to stimulate the senses, but keeping it smooth enough to take your five year old on their first off road experience. Part of the trail borders on a tributary to Blankets Creek and meanders along the shoreline before ending by far the coolest place, The Zen Garden. The guys and gals at SORBA Woodstock created a guide pole showing locations to Moab, Tibet, Tennessee, Fruita, and other parts of the world. It represents the center of the known-Blankets Creek-universe. It is also the halfway point on Mosquito Flats, a junction/crossroads of all the trails, and direct connection back to the parking lot.
Mosquito Bites us a bit more technical than Mosquito Flats and takes a little more technical skill. There are a few tight switchbacks thrown in to up the fun factor. This also serves as the connector to Area 51/Van Michaels Loop (see below for details). Mosquito Bites is accessed via the Mosquito Flats trail and reconnects with Mosquito Flats about a half mile from the traihead.
NOW FOR THE GOOD STUFF!!
The Dwelling Loop is considered to be THE intermediate trail. Don’t let this fool you. The trail is approximately 4 miles from start to finish and can either start with, depending on days, with a subtle yet leg warming 1/4 mile climb or end with a full tilt ripping downhill topping 20mph on other days. Hence the loop! OK, now that we are all on the same page, Dwelling was created along the main tributary of Blankets Creek leading to Lake Allatoona. As such, it rips a sleak two foot thread through various hills and undulations along the banks of the Lake and creek.
The South Loop was the expert trail until Area 51 was built, but it is still by all means an expert trail. Some of the key features are the various log crossing and rocky ledges to traverse. It consists of about 4.5 miles of singletrack weaving in and out of various hardwood, softwood, and evergreen forests. Watch for deer, racoons, and an occasional visit by a diamondback. The singletrack samples some of North Georgia famous yet misunderstood red clay. Again, the trail overlooks Lake Altoona and Blankets Creek. There is a section containing two clay berms that are sweet to rail when dry, but treacherous when wet. The metaphor of “slick like snot on a glass knob” applies here. I’ve left plenty of DNA samples on many a rainy ride on this section.
And now the granddaddy of them all!!
Area 51 was opened in 2008 with the thought of adding some hair-raising singletrack on the edge of the mountains overlooking Blankets Creek. This trail has various segments within such as “gravity drop”, “hurl hill” and “the ninth ward”. Gravity drop is just that, a few seconds of downhill bliss. Hurl hill is the culmination of 200 vertical feet of twists and turns over 1/2 a mile on up to the top of the mountain ending with a short 20 foot long near vertical precipice that you can only crest by praying to the mountain god and giving the granny gear a kick in the big cog. By the way, your stomach had done so many turns I’d be weary of a big breakfast prior to riding. You WILL see it again! The ninth ward undulates through a series of mardi gras beads and vegetation crushed during a recent tornado outbreak in the area. Ahh, the memories of Mardi Gras and New Years in NawLeans… the sights, the sound, the smells, and did I mention the sights… What did you think the beads were for? I digress. The trail is gripping your handlebar with all fingers, white knuckle style. Brakes are used to the point of exhaustion. Sometimes you scrub off a little and other you pray that they will stop you. Avid’s don’t fail me know! Specifically, there are two switchbacks that will literally put you the edge of the mountain. Remember to look for the safety cord. You may need it.
So, hopefully this has wet your appetite for riding the area just north of what I call home. Come enjoy the taste of sweet, succulent singletrack that is Blankets Creek.
My favorites are doing Area 51 on Saturday followed by Dwelling. That gives you a good work out with lots of smiles, grins, and WHOA Mama moments.