Brush Creek, Flat Creek, Stanly Gap, Pinhoti & Bull Mountain

By on August 5, 2014

Outdoor Adventure Editor Greg Dunn Gets The DL on Local Mountain Bike Trails From His Favorite Fiends, er, Friends

It’s Tour De France month so I thought that it would only be fitting to talk about mountain bike riding. Seeing the Tour on CBS in 1989 is actually what inspired me to ride a road bike for the first time. Every year since, racing or not, I get more motivated to ride in July.

As I write, and watch the guys battle on the rainy roads between the towns of Arras and Reims, I keep getting distracted by my increased motivation to get on my bike. But where should I ride? Stanley Gap? Flat Creek and Green Mountain? Maybe a road ride on Skeenah Gap? It really gets stressful with all of these great choices around here, ya know? (insert snicker)

Those who have ridden in north Georgia know what I mean by “so many choices.” The choices in this area really do seem endless when it comes to pedaling.

I rode Bull Mountain a couple days ago which is just west of Dahlonega and about a one-hour drive from my house. It was awesome!

The last couple of months have been busy so I’ve not driven to another trail system in a while. Going to Bull Mountain reminded me of how fortunate we are to live here since driving to a trail head around here is almost as fun as the ride itself.

I could go on and on about what I love about living in the mountains of north Georgia, but instead I thought I would reinforce my bias with some other opinions. Meet DJ Carder, Justin Rush, and Rebecca Rush. Three “locals” I’m proud to call friends and fellow riding fiends:

DJ Carder Riding the trailsName: D.J. Carder
Age: 31
Hometown: Cherry Log, GA
Hobby/Passion/Obsession: Mountain Biking

Greg Dunn: What do you do for a

DJ Carder: Log home manufacturing and sales with Sisson, DuPont and Carder

GD: What’s your favorite trail in North Georgia?

DJC: My favorite trail in North Georgia is the Stanley Gap/ Flat Creek combo.

GD: When did you start riding?

DJC: Six years ago. My group of friends that rode motocross and snowboarded together decided to give mountain biking a try and I fell in love with it. I ride as much as a family guy with three boys will allow. Riding is a great way to stay fit without having to go to a gym.

GD: Anything else you would like to add?

DJC: As the president of Ellijay Mountain Bike Association (E.M.B.A) my current goal is to get more quality beginner single track to the north Ga area. We are also working hard to add diverse trails to the Aska trail system in the near future.

E.M.B.A is also in the middle of a large membership drive right now. We are responsible for a lot of trail work in the area so membership numbers really help. If you’re not a member please consider joining.


Rebecca Rush road bikingName: Rebecca Rush
Age: 29
Hometown: Morganton, GA
Hobby/Passion/Obsession: Triathlon, road and mountain biking

Greg Dunn: What do you do for a

Rebecca Rush: Graphic Design

GD: What’s your favorite road loop in North Georgia?

RR: A 65 miler from Morganton that goes south on hwy 60 into Suches, left on Hwy 180, over Wolfpen Gap, left on Hwy 129, over Blood Mountain, left on Owltown Rd, then Old Hwy 76 back home. It’s a great route with a 5 mile climb, 9 mile climb, and plenty of rollers in between. Its beautiful and not too much of traffic.

GD: What’s your favorite triathlon in north Georgia?

RR: Tri-The-Mountains in Blue Ridge of course! There’s nothing like racing on your home turf, plus it’s awesome to see so many people come from out of town to compete, who view it as a ‘destination race’. It makes you feel lucky to live and train in such a beautiful area.

GD: When did you start riding/racing?

RR: I started in 2009 with a sprint triathlon with a bunch of friends from the gym. I’ve been hooked ever since!


Justin Rush Trail ridingName: Justin Rush
Age: 29
Hometown: Morganton, GA
Hobby/Passion/Obsession: Mountain biking, racing enduro, downhill, super-D, dual slalom.

Greg Dunn: What do you do for a

Justin Rush Professional Photographer

GD: What’s your favorite trail in North Georgia?

JR: That’s a toughy. It’s a toss up between Flat Creek and Stanley Gap in Blue Ridge, and Pinhoti 3 in Ellijay. All three are amazing trails.

Flat Creek has some challenging climbs and great descents. The 2.5 mile climb on Stanley Gap can hurt you but the 3.5 mile descent to Deep Gap parking lot is one of the best descents anywhere in the southeast. This is a great example of raw single track; like how it all started, tight, twisty and steep.

Pinhoti 3 has a little bit of everything and is why I enjoy it so much. Great gradual climbing, great flow, crazy switchbacks, and great descents.

One of the great things about living in Morganton is trail access. There are hundreds of miles of trails within an hour or two, many just 20 minutes away from my house.

GD: What’s your favorite mountain bike race in North Georgia?

JR: I race mostly downhill events which are held all over, but not in Georgia. Even though I don’t do a ton of cross country races, I would say my favorite is Black Bear Rampage, which is held at the Ocoee Whitewater Center.

GD: Is your wife faster than you?

JR: Yes– uh– well accept for gnarly downhills!

GD: Anything else you would like
to add?

JR: Well, just like any mountain biker would say, we need more trails! Of course I would love to see more downhill trails with jumps, berms and wooden features, but what the area really needs is more beginner friendly trails.

When I started riding, I didn’t know where to go so I ended up riding THE worst trails around. These trails were old logging roads that have been abandoned. I hated it. Then I heard about Brush Creek at the Ocoee Whitewater Center. That trail alone changed everything I thought about mountain biking.

Anytime we take someone riding who is just starting out, we take them to Brush Creek. It’s just a nicely laid out trail with a lot of flow. Great for beginners, and experienced mountain bikers as well.

Blue Ridge is surrounded with national forest that would be ideal for these types of trails!AC