Tucked away near Helen, Georgia, the FS 44 and 44B trail system provides a laid-back but engaging ride for cyclists who enjoy scenic gravel roads. Not a singletrack route by any means, it compensates with its natural allure and offers some unique challenges that might keep even the seasoned rider engaged.
From the Game Check station, a one-mile stretch on FS 44 will bring you to the closed FS road 44B. It's a 10-mile loop around the ridge, returning you back to where you parked. The trail involves a steady but elongated climb on FS 44B, which gives way to a rapid downhill section. However, don't let your guard down; briers on the trail demand your attention.Moreover, local cyclists have shared that the route offers beautiful gravel roads, complemented by stunning seasonal views. During warmer months, the southern end can get overgrown with weeds and briers, which mandates a more cautious ride.
To reach the trailhead, drive one mile north on GA 75/17 from Helen. Cross the river and take a right on FS 44. Drive 2.9 miles to reach the Game Check station where you can park. It's worth noting that the first entrance to FS 44 may be closed, requiring you to find an alternate entrance further down the road.
For those who find themselves wanting a break after the ride, Helen is less than four miles away, offering refreshments and local delicacies like beer and burgers. Also, for riders seeking guidance, locals are often generous with trail tips and directions.If you’re seeking more variety, multiple riders have reported the area contains miles of closed FS roads and other loops, such as the second 44B loop, for an expanded ride. Detailed road maps of the area are recommended.
Though it may not provide the singletrack thrill that technical riders seek, FS 44 and 44B offer a splendid escape into nature with a good blend of climbs and descents. Add to that the opportunity for camping and further exploration, and you've got a gravel trail worth considering for a day out in the woods.