Nestled in the vicinity of Cornelia, Georgia, the Lake Russell Bike Trail offers more than just a scenic ride along its 5-mile loop. This intermediate-level route captivates riders with its stunning lakeside views, lack of significant elevation gain, and, of course, the sense of adventure that courses through its singletrack.
To get to this hidden gem, head North/Northeast on Dick's Hill Pkwy (Hwy 13) from Cornelia. Turn right onto Lake Russell Road, just across from the Lake Russell Convenience store. Continue for about 2.5 miles, and you'll come across a sign directing you to the trailhead near the old dam. Park your vehicle, and follow the signs circling around the lake.
Riding along the Lake Russell Trail feels like skimming the edge of the lake—sometimes quite literally. The lack of elevation gain might lull you into complacency, but make no mistake; this is not a trail for the faint-hearted.
Despite its captivating beauty, the Lake Russell Trail faces maintenance issues, impacting its rideability and safety. Numerous fallen trees and overgrown brush have been reported, and some bridges require precarious maneuvers. These challenges often elevate the trail from a simple beginner-level ride to a more "advanced" category.
In the fall, leaves cover the ground, making it harder to spot and avoid roots. If you're planning a trip around this time, exercise extra caution, and be prepared for a more technical ride. If you're a newbie, the views during this season will be well worth the effort.
Lake Russell Bike Trail might not be your well-groomed city park ride, but that's precisely its charm. What it lacks in polish, it makes up for in natural beauty and the exhilarating experience it offers. Just be prepared, stay cautious, and you're in for an adventurous ride that'll keep a smile plastered on your face.Ride safe and don't forget to explore responsibly!