OUTDOOR WOMAN

Two-wheeling through fall

Fall looks fantastic from the seat of a bicycle.These seven great bike trails have something for riders of all levels.

By STEVE HUDSON
Posted

Fall is coming – I promise it is — and once the weather starts to cool it’s hard to beat a day of bike riding with your family.

But where should you go? There are literally dozens of great rides on Atlanta’s north side, but here are seven of my favorites. No matter what your skill level, there’s a perfect ride here for you!

Big Creek Greenway (Forsyth County)
We’ve got a real treasure in the Big Creek Greenway. The Forsyth County section extends from McFarland Parkway north to Bethelview Road, with three official parking areas – off Bethelview Road north of Castleberry Road, at Fowler Park (off Ga. 9 north of Post Road), off McFarland Parkway east of Ga. 400, and off Union Hill Road. Currently, this section offers 9.6 miles of wide, smooth trail. It’s truly a great place for a family ride.
Info: bigcreekgreenway.com

Big Creek Greenway (Fulton County)
The Fulton County section of the Greenway offers an additional 8 or so miles of great family-friendly riding.  The portion in Fulton extends from Marconi Drive to just south of Mansell Road. Official parking is available across from North Point Mall and also off Haynes Bridge Road, Kimball Bridge Road at Rock Mill Park, Preston Ridge Road near the YMCA and Marconi Drive south of Windward Parkway. Official parking for the Roswell segment is at Big Creek Park. For a bit more adventure, check out the dirt mountain bike trail area about 0.4 miles south of Webb Bridge Road. I
Info: bigcreekgreenway.com

Blankets Creek
Looking for off-road biking excitement? Then thank the Southern Off Road Bicycle Association of Woodstock for the world-class mountain bike trails at Blankets Creek. This great riding location is about 1.8 miles west of I-575 off Sixes Road (exit 11). From the Mosquito Flats trail (great for beginners and families) to other trails rated intermediate, advanced and expert, it truly has something for every rider. Remember your helmet!
Info: sorbawoodstock.org

Cochran Shoals Loop Trail
The Cochran Shoals Fitness Loop is a level, graveled 2 -mile loop trail in the Cochran Shoals Unit of the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area. It’s perfect for families! It’s accessible from the south via a half-mile connector trail from the parking area off Interstate North Parkway, or directly from the north from the parking area at the end of Columns Drive. One leg of the loop (as well as the approach trail from the Interstate North parking area) closely parallels the Chattahoochee; the other leg follows the toe of a ridge. By the way, if you’re inclined to serious off-road mountain biking adventure, check out the mountain bike trail in the adjoining Sope Creek Unit of CRNRA. A daily parking fee is required at CRNRA sites.
Info: nps.gov/chat/planyourvisit

Noonday Creek Greenway (Cobb County)
With a length of about 7 miles, the Noonday Creek Trail in Cobb County extends from Bells Ferry Road to Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park. Access is at the Bells Ferry trailhead (3001 Bells Ferry Road) which offers limited parking, at Town Center Mall, and at Kennesaw Mountain. Bike rental is available at several spots on this trail. Part of the trail is a “side path,” which means that it parallels a road.
Info: cobbtrailplan.com

Noonday Creek Greenway (Woodstock)
Here’s another Noonday Creek bike trail, this one a short 1.5-mile trail connecting Ga. 92 with Woodstock. Access to the middle of the trail via the Woofstock Dog Park (150 Dupree Road). The northern end of the trail is at the intersection of Elm Street and Market Street in Woodstock. There’s no trail parking at the Ga. 92 (south) end of the trail. This trail is mostly level once you’re south of the dog park. Speaking of which, don’t miss crossing the bridge that carries you from the trail over the creek to Woofstock. And if your four-legged friend is tagging along, make a stop at the dog park too. You’ll be a hero!
Info: woodstockga.gov/800/Trail-System

Olde Rope Mill Park bike trails
Here’s another SORBA mountain bike experience -- the Taylor Randahl Memorial Bike Trails at Olde Rope Mill Park, just off I-575 at Exit 9 (Ridgewalk Parkway) at the far end of Rope Mill Road. This network of three trails offers no fewer than 10 different loops with names like Raceway, Powerhouse and Turbine. Non-bikers in your group will enjoy hiking these trails while you ride…but remember that bikes have the right-of-way. Don’t forget your helmet!
Info: sorbawoodstock.org

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