I could stop this article here without getting into details. It’s that fun, and everyone from our group would agree. Review done; thanks for reading.
Okay so you don’t believe me? Well read on!
Ellijay, Ga. is just above Atlanta. It’s a quaint little area with a lovely downtown and Poole’s BBQ where after you eat, you go and stake a pig in the ground with your name on it (okay, not a real pig – I think that’s still considered animal cruelty in most states).
Right past Ellijay is the long trek up to Mulberry Gap. You wind through many twists and turns seeing some unbelievable vistas and
mountain men playing banjos your stress levels from that busy work week start to melt away. The roads turn into gravel which turn into dirt roads, and then you see the magical Mulberry Gap sign:
When you pull into Mulberry Gap, there’s cabins and campsites – both are awesome for staying. The cabins are absolutely beautiful complete with air, heat and soft beds – a godsend when you are completely spent from biking all day. The campsite areas are fodder for getting devoured by ravenous bears – so you go ahead and camp there, dawg.
The cabins are beautiful and awesome. Check out some of these shots:
There’s some sites that review Mulberry Gap and give all the technical mumbo-jumbo of each trail complete with elevation and miles. That’s important and all, but I have ADD and that stuff just kind of glazes past me. So let’s cut to the chase, and I’ll give you a more narrative description:
There’s a fire road you must climb – and it ain’t pretty. If you’re out of shape then you won’t enjoy this at all. It’s hellish, no flats or anything – just up, up and up. Oh, it’s like 5+ miles of up. The first time I did it, I cried like I did when I got in the 14th row for Josh Groban and Michael Bublé with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra concerto (it was a REALLY good concert)
When you reach the top, you are rewarded with two very nice things.
Don’t like climbing? No worries – the friendly staff at Mulberry Gap will shuttle you up – pansy boy.
After the big fire road climb, it’s Bear Creek. It’s down, for a long time – and it’s fun. You scream down this trail something fast and furious – there are some areas that you can jump if you like and it’s big and wide, so zooming past
me someone is easy to do.
As you wind deeper into the trails it gets more lush and dense. There’s a huge tree where we always stop and get pictures, so when you get home, you can upload it to Facebook, and say the same thing everyone always says which is:
“OMG LOOK AT THIS HUGE ASS TREE! IT’S HUGE!”
Hmm, did you not like the part about the 6-mile fire road climb? You’ll probably want to skip this next part. Pinhotti 1 is up, steep and more up. In fact, there are times that you go up so far that angels in heaven start saying, “hey, how’d you get up here?”
It’s up, and it ain’t fun at all – but just think how much your thighs will thank you for all that exercise!
Pinhoti 1 weaves its way up for a while, however, like before, what goes up must come down, and the reward is amazing.
Do you like roller coasters? Oh god….OH GOD…this is like being on a roller coaster! So it starts out with a series of small little climbs, then one big climb (like a roller coaster) and then hang on – because it’s nothing but down and fast (okay one little bitty climb but then it’s RIGHT BACK DOWN – I swear!). The downhill seems to go on forever, and when you dump out onto the road from the trail you’ll be yelling like my wife saying “THIS IS BETTER THAN SE…”
I’ve just ordered my wife to never bike again. Good thing she takes commands well.
sar·casm[ sr kàzzəm ]
cutting language: remarks that mean the opposite of what they seem to say and are intended to mock or deride
Pinhoti 2 is an amazing trail that is fast and furiously downhill. Mountain biking + this trail = love.
I’m usually three sheets to the wind by the time someone says, “Hey! Hey we missed riding Pinhoti 3, anyone game!?”
One of these days I’ll go.
Mulberry Gap is in the Southeast, so if you are visiting from the not-so-cool-places-of-America, please note we have ticks, chiggers and a whole arsenal of creepy crawlies. Every spring or summer that I ride Mulberry, I always have a tick crawling on me. I generally get them off before they root themselves into my skin but it’s good to do a check on your body AFTER riding the trail. Brush up on your tick safety and how to deal with chiggers.
While the cabins are unbelievably nice, you have to walk to the bathhouse area. It’s not a big deal, really – I mean you’re a mountain biker…so walking 20 yards is not going to kill you. It’s just that if your bladder hits you in the middle of the night, and you are afraid of bears and that little dude from the movie The Saw (the little guy with the swirly red cheeks) then it’s a nightmare getting to the bathhouses.
This is…well I never have this problem myself. I’m brave.
Bring a bathing suit – there are hot tubs! Don’t go naked. I’m sure you look amazing with your mountain biking skills, but no one wants to see your nethers.
There are black bears in the area. This is something you should be aware of and not take lightly. If you’re camping, it’s a good policy to not leave food laying around as bears have a keen sense of smell and would like nothing more than to snatch up your Snickers bar.
speaking of food, seems like I’m forgetting something…
Mulberry Gap has a lot of things – great trails, great staff, great cabins, great camping, but oh god, their food is amazing. A Mulberry Gap weekend is the only trip that you’ll either remain calorically neutral or gain weight. They serve you an unbelievable breakfast and dinner (pack your own lunch) and you’re so spent from the trails that you can’t help but continue to consume food until you pop (or maybe that’s me…and maybe that’s why I’m still dealing with this spare tire around my waist).
Oh, and don’t forget to tip the staff the last day of the trip – Karma and all.
So you’re sold and want to take a group of your best buds there but need some actual detail? Here you go: