- Distance: 2.2 mi
- Level: Intermediate
- Route Type: Loop
- Location: Dahlonega, Georgia
Overview: A Blend of Elevation and Speed
Dahlonega’s Black Branch Loop is a sweet 2.2-mile circuit that showcases the best of intermediate mountain biking. Boasting both flowy descents and sneaky climbs, this trail has undergone several renovations since 2011 to ensure sustainability and optimal rider experience. Situated in the eastern part of the Bull/Jake trail network, this loop is an essential for anyone riding in the region.
Accessing the Trail
- Route: Head west on 52 from Dahlonega, keep right to continue on 52, and then make a right onto Nimblewill Church Road. Finally, turn right at the Bull Mountain sign.
- Parking: The trailhead will be to your right behind a large stainless steel barrier adorned with red reflectors. Alternatively, the loop is accessible via Jake Mountain trails.
- Map Resource: Be sure to pick up the latest Bull Mountain Trails map by Milestone Press as your crucial navigational aid.
The Ride: A Rollercoaster of Emotions
One of the trail’s main selling points is its fun, flowy nature, but make no mistake—Black Branch doesn't pull its punches. Expect the first half to be a pleasurable downhill ride, with the second half consisting of a more challenging climb. Those who opt for the counter-clockwise direction will find the ascent slightly more strenuous. Despite its challenges, the experience is exhilarating and never disappointing, as echoed by numerous riders.
Trail Conditions: Nature and Navigability
- Terrain: The descent on Black Branch's backside is slightly downhill and filled with rubbly sections.
- Trail Markings: Look for Forest Service markings indicating it as 223N. Ignore any older labels like 28G.
- Surface: Georgia’s red clay may make your wheels feel heavy, especially after rainfall. But on the upside, the trail sees little horse traffic, keeping it in excellent shape.
Final Thoughts: Why Black Branch Should Be on Your List
- Fast, flowy, and well-constructed
- Perfect as both a stand-alone loop and part of a larger network
- Minimal horse traffic ensures better trail conditions
In sum, Black Branch Loop offers a delightful but challenging ride that tests not just your cycling skills but also your stamina. Its current design emphasizes sustainability and flow, providing an experience that has been praised as "super fun" and "built to last." If you're in the Dahlonega area and have a penchant for trails that offer both speed and challenge, this loop is a must-ride.