Hawkes Creek Bike Trail: Athens' Hidden Gem
Located in the scenic outskirts of Athens, Georgia, the Hawkes Creek Bike Trail offers a true experience for intermediate level cyclists. This 9-mile loop winds through the heart of the region's picturesque landscapes and is often lauded as one of the top trail destinations in the area.
Getting to the Trail
Starting your journey from Loop 10, take the hwy 78 Lexington exit and head east (away from Athens). Venturing into Oglethorpe county, make a left onto Yancey road shortly after passing a church perched on a hill. Continue on Yancey road till it culminates and turn left onto Hargrove Lake road. After a short distance, you'll spot the sign for Hawkes Creek Farm. Convenient parking can be found on the left, and the trail starts right across the road.
The trail is broken down into three key sections:
- Start Point: Beginning right across the parking area, the trail promises an engaging journey from the get-go.
- Trail Quality: Over the years, certain parts of the trail have become overgrown, but recent efforts from organizations like SORBA Athens and the Boy Scouts have breathed new life into it. Following a cleanup and renovation in July 2011, an additional mile was added to the trail, enhancing its overall appeal.
- Trail Challenges: Cyclists should anticipate a mix of terrain, with a noteworthy amount of roots present throughout the trail. Some sections may feel a bit winded, reminiscent of old animal tracks rather than typical bike trails. The lack of significant climbs or descents contributes to its intermediate ranking.
- Trail Signage: While initially well-marked, some signs may have fallen or been obscured over time. It's recommended to stay alert and possibly carry a map.
- Trail Traffic: Interestingly, the Hawkes Creek Trail doesn't see the volume of cyclists one might expect, given its charm. This could be due to its slightly hidden location, making it a perfect spot for those looking to avoid overcrowded routes.
- Shared Use: An important aspect to remember is that the trail is split between horse and bike use. To ensure smooth coexistence, it's advised to ride on odd days (e.g., June 1, 3, 5) and avoid even days.
Many cyclists who have taken on the trail over the years have left behind a mix of reviews:
- Some praise it as a fantastic ride, making great use of the available terrain.
- Others felt the trail could benefit from additional maintenance.
- Regardless of individual opinions, most agree that the trail presents an enjoyable challenge, especially for those interested in genuine singletrack.
Though the trail has seen ups and downs in terms of maintenance over the years, its core appeal remains unaltered. If you're in the Athens area, seeking an authentic cycling experience, Hawkes Creek Bike Trail might just be the adventure you're looking for.