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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
going to be in Marietta area for lunch tomorrow but have to be in Atlanta by 530 pm

any recommendations?

was thinking blankets creek or allatoona creek? I'll ride anything, technical or flowy. would like to get in 15-20 miles
 

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Check out Blankets and Rope mill. Worth the trip and less than 5 miles from each other. Allatoona is nice but Blankets beats it hands down.
 

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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.
 

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I kinda feel the same way with rope mill. Both trail systems are so close to each other you could do both. 15.5 miles at rope and 15miles at blankets. Sorba redid VMT and it's a blast. I live about 2 miles from blankets and 5 from rope mill. Both trail systems are great. If 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.
 

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If 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.
Any mountain riding will make city trails like Blankets, Big Creek, and Rope Mill seem boring :)

I doubt he can make that in the timeframe, though (lunch-530p). That's a pretty long/remote ride and the drive to downtown would take a while. Definitely worth doing, though, if you have the time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
won't have time to go much further to ellijay, but it is in my plans one day.

trailforks and mtbproject show rope mill being all blues and blankets with 1 or 2 blacks. is that accurate? realistically I'll have about 1.5 - 2 hours to ride so I'd probably like to just stay in one trail system
 

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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.
Ok, probably too late for the OP but maybe this will help someone else.


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.

At Rope Mill, there are no 3 loops that will give you 12 miles or so.

The three loops of the Avalanche trails are 6.25 miles total
The three loops of the Explorer trails are 3.00 miles total
The Mill trails aren't stacked loops, but they are 5.1 miles total

Ok, having written that, I think you meant trail systems rather than loops (Avalanche, Explorer, Mill).

At Blankets:
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.

I like both trail systems but I think Blankets offers more variety.

Altoona Creek is mostly closed for hunting but will reopen January 1st. I said mostly because some of the trails are open but you have to park and access at a different location (the dog park).
 

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...
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.
...

At Blankets:
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.
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).
 

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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).
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.
 

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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.
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.

The freeride area is mapped and marked, but it's a bit more hodgepodge once you get there. There are 4 or 5 main trails, but some of them (Lunch Line in particular) have a number of different unmarked trails branching off of it. The main ones are labeled, though.

It was originally easier to find the FRA, but people were coming out and climbing up Pine Hill, then going down unprepared for some of the features and getting hurt, so they tried to separate them a little more. You can access the FRA using an access trail near Pine Hill (just before on the left if going MWFSu, just after and on the right the opposite day). There is a lot there, best bet is to go with someone that knows them. The main trails are Gully, Honor Roll (which feeds into Gully), Slalom, Sender's Row, Lunch Line, and Typhoon.

With the exception of Typhoon, the main trails aren't overly technical. Gully had a few root features at one point, but they've since been filled in. The more interesting portions branch off of Lunch Line into one of several rocky sections that get somewhat steep. On Typhoon, there are a few more rock features including a 4ft-ish rock drop with a chicken line to the right. Again, it's no Pisgah, but it's the closest to anything I've ridden around here.

It's also closed much less frequently this time of year. I live a mile away and can count on one hand the number of times it's been too wet to ride out there in the last year.

I'll have to revisit Blanket's, it's possible I missed something. I've been a few times, but I usually just do ORM if I go out that way.

For Quell Hollar being rated black, I expect that they do that since people tend to get a little braver on trails like that and get hurt. I know a few months ago someone was carried off in a stretcher doing runs down it. There are also a few gap jumps, or were the last time I rode it, so I expect that plays a part. They rate all the trails in the Big Creek FRA as "expert only", despite several of them being primarily smooth, I think it's primarily due to the jumps and people potentially injuring themselves, although there are one or two there I'd put in the expert category for sure.
 

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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.
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.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
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
 

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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
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.
 
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