Largely dominated by steep inclines, forest service roads, and a relentless challenge to your quads and lungs, the FS 28-42-77 Loop is not for the faint of heart. However, if you've been craving a strenuous cardio and power workout along with rewarding panoramic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, this trail is your ticket to cycling nirvana.
Embarking from FS Road 28, the route takes you past the 4H camp and the US Army Ranger training camp, before the real climb begins on Cooper Gap Road (FS 80). Once at Cooper Gap, it's a left onto FS 42 that rewards you with a ride above 3,000 feet on a ridge offering sweeping vistas. The final thrill is the steep and quick descent via FS 77 back to the starting point.
To access this loop, drive north/west from Dahlonega on GA 52 until you reach Nimblewill Church Road. Turn right and go for about 2-3 miles until you see FS Road 28, which marks your starting point. Parking options include the side of the road and the game check station a little further up FS 77.
This trail is a behemoth that challenges your pedaling strength and technical prowess. Cycling it is more akin to a rite of passage among the local riders—many anecdotes include seasoned cyclists being overtaken by even more seasoned veterans. If you're looking for a quick spin, look elsewhere. But if you're up for a grueling ascent rewarded by a dizzying descent, this loop offers one of the most rewarding mountain biking experiences in Dahlonega.