Holy smokes, y’all, this one is a find! Leaving the Atlanta area, I headed a little north just past the town of Ellijay to Mulberry Gap Mountain Bike Get-A-Way. It’s a special spot in the woods where you can camp or rent a cabin, pay for lovely meals to be prepared for you, buy a beer, and most importantly, ride straight onto some fine trails and gravel roads. (Services also include guided rides, shuttles, and map consults. All services à la carte – meaning you can cook for yourself, etc.) This is a magical place.
Hops and I parked the van, took in a few meals, and listened to the creeks burble along. I did a short ride alone but was quickly set up with some other guests who took me out on some self-shuttled adventures. Even with shuttling, I climbed nearly 2000 feet each ride: these are hilly parts. My first night there – a night on which they were technically ‘closed’ – I was invited to share beer & pizza with a small group including the proprietors and a few friend/guests. Within hours of meeting, guys were handing me keys to their trucks to drive up & down mountains. The mountain bike community is a special one. I mostly keep well to myself on this trip, other than visiting with people I already knew before beginning. This couple of days was the first time I’ve really made new friends, and it was such a delight. Thanks to Kate & Andrew for the above-and-beyond hospitality; Alan of Walking Tree Brewery for beer & companionship; Greg for taking charge, pushing me, and even a bike wash (!); and Scottie of Club Ride for the ride, the gear, and talk of the future. I’m humbled.
For my mountain biking buddies out there, I highly recommend this experience. It’s remote – no cell service, and very spotty wifi. It’s absolutely gorgeous. The trails are plentiful and challenging, mostly in terms of climbing, but with some whooping fun downhills as well. Routes tend to include some gravel road as well. There’s more here than I could ride in a few days, even with shuttle assistance. I’d be thrilled to hang out for a week, like Greg was doing. The food is very good, the beer selection likewise, great company – really, this is the destination you’ve been looking for. Heartily recommended.