Hailed as one of the unique trails in the Georgia International Horse Park (GIHP) system, the Granite Loop is a 3-mile circuit characterized by its remarkable granite outcroppings. While its sibling, the Steeplechase Loop, offers a different experience altogether, the Granite Loop provides a terrain that brings riders close to moon-like landscapes, paired with sections of flowy trails and technical climbs.
The trail includes granite surfaces abundant in the region, reminiscent of the semi-famous tourist attraction, Stone Mountain, situated northwest of the area. With only about a mile on the granite itself, it offers an otherworldly feel. The rocks' discoloration due to tire marks often serves as an intuitive guide for riders, but first-timers should bring a map for ease of navigation. Keep an eye on painted arrows and "read the rocks" to stay on course.
The Granite Loop is an intermediate-level trail, but don't let that fool you. Even seasoned bikers find the path a 'sufferfest' at times, especially when compared to its mellower counterpart, the Steeplechase Loop. A full-suspension bike is the preferred choice, but a hardtail will suffice. The granite sections can get slippery, so caution is advised, particularly during or after rains.
About 2/3 through the loop, take the opportunity for a detour to a canoe launch that opens into a massive marsh/lake. This spot teems with wildlife like fish, turtles, frogs, hawks, and osprey, offering a serene break before tackling the trail's challenging sections like the Olympic Hill.
The Granite Loop might not be everyone's cup of tea. While some find it less exciting than other trails, its unique terrain and additional points of interest make it a worthwhile experience for riders seeking something different. One thing's for sure: it's a trail that leaves an impression and often brings riders back for another round.