Any mountain riding will make city trails like Blankets, Big Creek, and Rope Mill seem boringIf you really want some nice riding head up to ellijay it's less than a hour from blankets. Ride up to mountain town 13.5 mile climb on service roads. Bear creek,p1,p2 and p3 is a freaking blast. Do that a couple times and both blankets and rope will feel boring.
Ok, probably too late for the OP but maybe this will help someone else.I don't understand the fascination with Blankets. I don't really enjoy any of my rides there, I just find it kindof dull. I've definitely ridden worse, but if I was up there, I'd ride ORM before Blankets.
I would go to Rope Mill, you can do all 3 loops for about 12 miles or so, then do The Mill (middle) section again. It's the most fun and can get you some more mileage. Be sure you take Turbine on the way out of the middle area.
I believe most of Allatoona is closed for hunting season. I'm not sure what is open, but my understanding is that a lot of it is closed off.
You could also hit up Sope Creek, although I'd still probably go to Rope Mill before Sope, but Sope may be closer and has a few more interesting sections to it.
Also, be aware of traffic, which will be a nightmare at 530p. It won't be as bad going into the city, but it's going to be bad. I'd double your commute time from wherever you are coming from and going to.
I normally ride Big Creek during the week, which I find more enjoyable than Blanket's. I like the "technical" aspects of riding there, but if I drive all the way to Woodstock, I find ORM more enjoyable than riding Blanket's as a change of pace. It's not that Blanket's is terrible, it's not, but I don't think it is good enough to justify all the hype and writeups that it receives....
Rather surprised you don't enjoy Blankets but you do Rope Mill. The Mills trails are new-style flow trails; the other two systems are more traditional trails.
Mosquito trails (2): beginner
Dwelling: intermediate and I believe the most popular trail
South Loop: advanced; this is an old hand cut trail. Most of it you can't go super fast as the turns are flat and this trail is know for its rocks and roots. A few techie spots and one of my favorite trails in the area.
Van Michael: intermediate; modern flow trail with huge berms and jumps if you want them. Lots more climbing and gravity that the Mill trails. Intermediate in that there aren't really tech sections but it will give your lungs and legs more challenge than any other trail at Blankets or Rope Mill. BUT, if you don't bypass the Kevorkian Pass, it is advanced and probably the most difficult section in metro Atlanta.
Quell Hollar: double black diamond expert downhill jump run. I run it box style keeping my tires on the ground and its not difficult.
Different trails for different… uh, mountain bikers?I normally ride Big Creek during the week, which I find more enjoyable than Blanket's. I like the "technical" aspects of riding there, but if I drive all the way to Woodstock, I find ORM more enjoyable than riding Blanket's as a change of pace. It's not that Blanket's is terrible, it's not, but I don't think it is good enough to justify all the hype and writeups that it receives.
I think the only really difficult aspect of Blanket's is the climbing, I don't think there is much there in terms of technical features that make it overly challenging. There are a few technical sections and alt lines, but unless I missed something on my handful of rides out there, there aren't a lot of technical features or sections that are overly difficult.
I really do like the skills area, though. I wish more of our parks here had them. I was out there after an injury once and had to bail out, decided to spend an hour at the skills area and it was really fun despite not being able to put the miles in.
I also wouldn't consider Quell Hollar to be black diamond (I realize it's rated as such) unless you are really hitting the jumps, in which case there are a few gaps. It's not difficult at all, especially compared to some of the trails at the FRA at Big Creek (which keeps getting toned down and losing it's variety, unfortunately).
The XC area should be 9 miles if you do everything at Big Creek. They've done a much better job with signage in the last 6 months or so, but it is easy to take a cutoff and miss part of the trail system. Your best bet is generally to stick to the outside perimeter of the trail (so stay right on TThSa, left other days), that'll get you to 7.5 miles. The remaining 1.5 is Troll, which starts at the upper lot and cuts down the center, should add another mile to mile and a half. It's not technical in the Pisgah sense, but I've found it moreso than other trail systems in the area.Different trails for different… uh, mountain bikers?
I'm the exact opposite, I find the trails at Big Creek to be a bit boring, but I'm not really riding the free ride area, so that probably is the difference. Outside of the FRA, I'd say the trails are way less technical than the ones at Blankets (and I don't consider Blankets to be very technical) but you're probably including the FRA.
The signage at Big Creek also drives me crazy, most of the signs only show part of the trails with no indication that there are additional trails; I guess they don't want noobs to the trails knowing about the FRA? I'm riding around in circles thinking, "I know there is more out here." And then some signs show a trail in one color and then you come across another sign and it shows the trail in a different color. Most of the trails seem really short but I guess if you ride there enough, you know how to string them together and how to find all of the trails. My son does enjoy the pump tracks; I'll leave him there while I search out the trails off the maps on the parking lot side.
Quell Hollar doesn't seem to be much, if any, more than Turbine at ORM and Turbine is rated an intermediate so not sure what is up with that. Quell Hollar seems to attract a lot more kids, easier to get to from the neighborhoods I guess.
I think the XC area is closer to 7 miles. The outer loop is about 5 miles. That's what I get on Strava. If I ride from home, which is 1.5 miles away, ride everything except the freeride area at Big Creek, then ride 1.5 miles home, I end up with just about exactly 10 miles.The XC area should be 9 miles if you do everything at Big Creek. They've done a much better job with signage in the last 6 months or so, but it is easy to take a cutoff and miss part of the trail system. Your best bet is generally to stick to the outside perimeter of the trail (so stay right on TThSa, left other days), that'll get you to 7.5 miles. The remaining 1.5 is Troll, which starts at the upper lot and cuts down the center, should add another mile to mile and a half.
We don't have the big boulders you have in Texas so I'm not real surprised that you were not impressed with the technical aspects nor that you found the climbing to be the hardest part. Sorry you missed Kevorkian, you would have enjoyed it more; it is an alt on Van Michael. VM recently had work done and they made it an optional add-on whereas it used to just be part of the trail with no bypass. You must have missed the sign. Hope you did enjoy the trails.so i did get to ride blankets and honestly was not too impressed with the most technical parts in south loop. i rode them all (except kevorkian, i did not come across it). the hardest part was the sustained climbing since i don't get anything of that sort at home. the flow of van michael and quell were fun, tho