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Old 10-13-2013, 08:03 PM   #10
East TN DS Rider
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Joined: Apr 2012
Location: Chattanooga, TN
Oddometer: 206
That route going in at Cisco is known as the Cohutta Death March, or CDM. It was given that name as its the location of a very difficult annual mountain bike ride. Some Google searched on Cohutta Death March will provide some good maps of the route.

You can enter the CDM at Cisco by the old stone church. If you pack heat, you can take some target practice at a decent shooting range right where the pavement ends and the dirt begins. Also, a privy bathhouse located there.
The loop is about 70 miles and has 14 mountain gaps/peaks. Great scenery and diversity. No gas/food services and cell service is hit and miss. Its all gravel and dirt forest service roads. No mud or water crossings (Unless there were recent rains). A handful of bridges. Half in TN and half in GA. The section near the Ocoee puts you within 3 miles of the Olympic whitewater center. Conasauga Lake has bathrooms and water. Other than that, the loop is pretty remote, but very enjoyable for any size dual sport. Large dual sport bikes do fine on these forest service roads. (GS1200, Triumph, etc) You'll pass a handful of cars/trucks as you ride this loop. Lots of primitive camping in this area and a very popular multi-day hiking destination into the Big Frog Wilderness.

If you are coming from the South, I highly recommend Rock Creek OHV just off the Dalton by-pass. It begins in Chatsworth, GA and parallels highway 52, the road that goes over Ft. Mountain. Very challenging two track road deep in the woods. Lots of tough climbs and descents. I rode it yesterday. Both myself and riding buddy were put off on one very difficult climb. Second attempt, we both got over. Its been dry here. I think after a heavy rain, parts of this trail would be nearly impossible. (Large dual sport bikes are NOT recommended on this trail.) A 650 or smaller would be fine. You'll use every inch of travel in your suspension... There are high speed sections with great jumps and low speed technical climbs over and around loose boulders.

The reason I mention Rock Creek OHV is because it puts you out on Highway 52 very near where you can join back into the Cohutta Loop at Potato Patch Mountain.

So, for a great day ride with very little paved roads, the Cohutta loop and Rock Creek combination would be both challenging and scenic. You would likely total about 100 miles of non-paved riding.

I'll likely ride it again in early November. Parts of the CDM are closed January through March so that the Turkeys can have some peace... Not a joke. Its a turkey habitat. If you need directions to Rock Creek, let me know. The USFS web site directions are kinda vague. BTW, this OHV is open in spite of it being in a US National Forest, given the void of leadership in the nation's capital right now...

Have fun.
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