The Chattahoochee National Forest is the heart of Georgia's Appalachian Mountains. The Jake-Bull Mountain Trail Network on the south side of the forest weaves up, down, and around through these gentle mountains in the Blue Ridge district. There are over 30 miles of unique trails to ride in this network. Each leg is connected by Forest Service roads, and all intersections are well-marked with the section letter. There are two main parking areas, one at each mountain, and numerous other pullouts along the forest roads.
From the Jake Mountain parking lot, heading east descends down gently for a fast rolling, flowing ride to Jones Creek. It is an easy crossing, although you will get your feet wet. After the creek is a climb out of the valley, and then back to a fast flowing trail along a small creek. The Nimblewall Branch (K) follows a closed forest road to No-Tell-Trail (P), which then climbs up and up. At the top is a view through the trees, and then a bombing downhill run over large gravel and water ruts. The Black Branch Loop (O and N) continues the downhill run to a rolling fern-covered low-land, then climbs back up a gently graded hill to the access road. The Nimblewall Branch Spur (sections L and M) are mostly level and connect to the Jones Creek Dam section (E).
Jones Creek Dam climbs steadily up to a ridge. A large grassy bald is to the east, and the tree cover thins out for spectacular mountain views to the west. After rolling along the top, the trail plummets to the Jones Creek Dam. Watch out for several sudden switchbacks here, and then a deeply-rutted section just before the dam. Past the dam are several more open field areas with signs directing the trail traffic back into the woods. An old-growth forest road rolls over to the Bull Mountain parking area. From this lot, the Bull Mountain Connector Trail (F) returns to the Jake Mountain parking area, while the rest of the network lies to the northwest and is accessed by the Bull Mountain Cutoff Trail (D).
The Bull Mountain section is more challenging and technical than the eastern area. Riding counter clockwise makes for a long uphill climb, but this is rewarded by a downhill streak all the way back to the parking area. After taking the cutoff trail (D) along an old forest road, Saddle Back (B) is a difficult and rooty uphill battle. It climbs along a ridge and runs up the side of Springer Mountain near the Appalachian Trail approach trail. The end of this climbing is marked by a quick U-turn near Springer.
The Lance Creek Trail (A) bypasses some of this rooty ridge and reconnects after the U-turn, although a small piece of the downhill is missed. Shortly after Lance Creek joins to the main Bull Mountain Trail, there is a clearing to the right with an old rusted truck. After this point, hold on to the bike! It's a very fast downhill section with a few rock and root hazards, small water drain bumps that can be jumped, and minor rutting from water erosion. Options for returning to the Bull Mountain parking area are include continuing down the Whoop-De-Dos Trail (C) and pedaling back along the Cutoff Trail (D) or continuing on the main Bull Mountain Trail the rest of the way.
After a rain, creek crossings will be flooded and the red clay on some trails will be slick. Watch out for horses and hikers on this multi-use trail.