A biker rides on the fire road in Mulberry Gap, Georgia

Riding Georgia’s Potato Patch

Photo: Mick ferraro/Shutterstock

One of North Georgia’s best gravel routes delivers big challenges and big rewards.

Potato Patch is a bucket-list ride for gravel cyclists in Georgia, thanks to the combo of beauty and challenge along the 40-mile loop. The route takes you into the heart of Chattahoochee National Forest and delivers you to waterfalls, scenic overlooks as well as one of the longest dirt climbs and descents in the state. There’s even an optional side-trip to a fire tower you can climb in the middle of the ride for an epic view. And maybe the best part? The ride begins and ends at Mulberry Gap Mountain Bike Getaway, a collection of cabins with a bike shop, beer store and restaurant, plus quick access to world-class mountain bike trails like the Pinhoti. Mulberry Gap even has some dedicated jump lines on their property. Having those kinds of services on a remote ride like Potato Patch feels downright decadent, but it also streamlines the logistics of the ride, with everything you need in one convenient spot. 

The ride gets its name from Potato Patch Road, an 11.4-mile gravel road that climbs the side of Potato Patch Mountain, which serves as the backbone for this route. The road also lays claim to the longest climb of the day: a 2,000-foot beast that you’ll tackle almost as soon as you pedal away from your car. The reward for that effort? Low-traffic terrain, the occasional waterfall sighting, and big views from overlooks. You’ll pedal some pavement on this route, but it’s mostly on quiet country roads, and it comes at the end of the ride after a monster climb and white-knuckle descent, so you’ll be happy for the relatively easy miles. If you only want gravel, many people ride Potato Patch Road as a 22-mile out-and-back. You can still tack on the fire tower side-trip, too. 

Recommended Route 

The majority of the climbing comes in one big grunt, and it begins right out of the gate as you make your way up Potato Patch Road on a 6-mile climb that gains more than 2,000 feet. You’ll get an optional break around Mile 4 at Barnes Creek Picnic Area, where you can see a small waterfall. At Mile 10, you have an optional 7-mile out-and-back spur to a fire tower that stands at the top of Grassy Mountain. The views from the top of the tower show off the green, rolling mountains of North Georgia. All long climbs deserve a long descent, and that’s the case here; back on the main route you’ll drop elevation for 10 miles passing a couple of scenic overlooks that beg for you to hit the brakes. You’ll find pavement at Mile 29 and roll through farming country, passing barns for 6 miles until you hit gravel again and then finish the ride with a 600-foot climb back to Mulberry Gap. 

Getting There 

The Potato Patch ride is within Chattahoochee National Forest, 90 miles north of Atlanta. Take Interstate 75 and I-575 north to state Route 5 north, then GA-2 to Mulberry Gap Road. 

More Info 

Download directions for the route and send them to your device at Ride With GPS. You can park at Mulberry Gap for $5 a day, and that gets you access to bathrooms and Wi-Fi. Pay $10 and you can use their showers. 

Refresh & Refuel

Mulberry Gap serves breakfast, lunch and dinner to guests staying in the cabins and day-visitors looking for a homestyle meal after a big ride. Dinner is an all-you-can-eat buffet affair ($23 a person) loaded with either home-cooked chicken, beef or pork, veggies, salad and desserts. The menu rotates daily. They also operate a beer store with an excellent selection of craft brews. 

All articles are for general informational purposes.  Each individual’s needs, preferences, goals and abilities may vary.  Be sure to obtain all appropriate training, expert supervision and/or medical advice before engaging in strenuous or potentially hazardous activity.