The Pinhoti Trail is a sweeping 130-mile journey that starts in Alabama and terminates at the southern end of the Appalachian Trail. But the hidden gem in this sprawling network of trails is a section known locally as P1. Situated in Ellijay, Georgia, this 13-mile, intermediate-level, out-and-back section serves as a gateway to the classic Pinhoti experience: steep climbs, fast descents, and a communion with nature.
If you're looking to get your tires dirty on P1, it's recommended to use Mulberry Gap as a base camp. It offers facilities for mountain bikers including maps and shuttle services. From Mulberry Gap, you can either ride or drive to the trailhead at Bear Creek, and set out from there.
Reviews are mostly glowing but not unanimous. One reviewer expressed disappointment, particularly with the descent part of the trail, attributing it to possibly being misrouted. Thus, keen attention to trail signs is advised. The signage may be misleading at times, and the possibility of getting turned around is real.
The trail is generally well-maintained and offers a host of riding experiences that range from technical sections to long flowy downhills. If you're spending more than a day in the area, consider staying at Mulberry Gap. Their meal options come highly recommended. For the adventurous, combining P1 with other Pinhoti sections and Bear Creek can result in an "epic point-to-point ride," as some reviewers have noted.
Pinhoti P1 offers a blend of what mountain bikers crave: challenging climbs, exhilarating descents, and raw natural beauty. Its divisive aspects, such as certain tedious stretches, only add to its mystique. One thing is sure; if you're in or around Ellijay, P1 is a trail you'd regret not experiencing.