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Ellijay, GA, has the best of both worlds: a charming, small-town way of life and a variety of food and drink choices that rival big cities. Located between Atlanta, GA, and Chattanooga, TN, Ellijay is best known as the Mountain Bike Capital of Georgia, but this idyllic location isn’t limited to biking adventures.
Home to 11 mountain hiking trails, 59 mountain bike trails, several impressive waterfalls, and some of the best trout waters in the southeast, there’s no better destination for an all-natural vacation.
An Outdoor Adventure
True to its nickname as the Mountain Bike Capital of Georgia, Ellijay is home to incredible mountain biking trails fit for every experience level, from newbies to biking enthusiasts.
Find a like-minded community with the top trail recommendations at Cartecay Bike Shop, known for its mountain bike classes, top-of-the-line biking attire, and exciting Saturday Social Ride. No mountain bike trip in Ellijay would be complete without a stop at Mulberry Gap Adventure Basecamp. Part-campground and part-resort, Mulberry Gap is surrounded by some of the best trails for mountain biking, gravel cycling, hiking, trail running, and outdoor exploration. Before and after your rides, grab a warm meal and join in community-minded events and sparkling conversations. It’s not just for mountain bikers, either—Mulberry Gap is a hub for other types of trail exploration, including bikepacking, trail running, and even fly fishing.
For an outdoor experience that will get the whole family involved, head to the Big Acorn Trail at Carters Lake. This well-loved trail starts at the Carters Lake Visitor Center, which also serves as a nature centre full of educational, fun, and free things for kids. This trail is short, easy, and ideal for budding trail blazers. On the other side of Carters Lake is the Tumbling Waters Nature Trail in the Ridgeway Recreation Area. Slightly longer, this trail is full of scenic stops and includes a 150-foot-long bridge that crosses 30 feet over Tails Creek and ends at the cascade’s peak.
The Bear Creek Trail, located in the Chattahoochee National Forest, is a must-see for families that love getting up close and personal with nature. This trail provides close-up views of some of the most beautiful trees around, including the state record Gennett Poplar, the second-largest tree in Georgia. Aside from the numerous physical and mental health benefits of spending time in the great outdoors, a family hike allows you to see the world through your child’s eyes—and when you’re immersed in one of Ellijay’s beautiful trails, the journey is often more fun than the destination.
Ellijay is just as fun on the water as it is on the land! With three rivers (The Ellijay, the Cartecay, and the Coosawattee) and Carters Lake (Georgia’s Deepest Lake), Ellijay is the perfect destination for kayaking, tubing, and boating! Bring your family for a whitewater adventure or relax on the Cartecay River.
Whether your version of adventure is a lazy day on the lake, a gentle walk along the river or something a bit more adventurous like mountain biking or hiking into the wilderness, you will find just the adventure to keep you coming back for more.
Nestled in the rolling foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains an hour and twenty minutes north of Atlanta, Ellijay and East Ellijay are the perfect get away destinations. Far from the hustle and bustle, visitors will find this area of north Georgia the ideal place to relax and unwind.