Cooper Creek Trail Route: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/24069856
Written By Andy Lovell
Pictures contributed by: Andrew Beishline, Ezz-Eldin Hassan, Andy Lovell, & Adam Newsom
Cooper’s Creek is a challenging overnighter taking you through the Chattahoochee National forest through some of the best that the area has to offer. A great introduction to bike packing, this route takes you deep into the woods without ever being to far from civilization while leaving little options for re-supply. Thick wilderness and ferns line the route with many options for side trips and countless trails that beg to be explored.
Starting from the Jake Mountain Parking lot, the loop takes you through the Blue Ridge WMA past lakes and streams over tough gaps and down killer descents on your way to the Cooper Creek WMA. Cooper's Creek is one of Georgia's larger wildlife management areas spanning more than 30,000 acres. This area holds some of the last old growth pockets of forest in Georgia with a few Tulip Poplar trees measuring a circumference of 18 feet! The second half of this route will take you down some of the most pristine country roads to be had finishing off with one more leg burning climb and hand numbing descent.
his route is doable on a bike with at least 32mm tires but it will beat you up a bit. There is a little single track on the route but some of the roads are quite gutted and rutted. Bigger the better in my opinion. 2.0 or above would give you some much welcomed cushion. Few folks have done it with 40mm tires and had no issue.
Food is scarce on this route. There is one store at about mile 21 that will have basics like chips and candy bars. Don’t expect much more. There are times that the store has not been open at all. Pack what you need for the entire 2 days and use the store as a chance for a Strawberry Crunch and a corn dog if your lucky.
There are a ton of spots to stop and filter water along the route with only one spot for potable water. A Sawyer mini would do you just fine.
Camping is also plentiful along the route. The beauty of adventuring through WMA’s is you can camp anywhere you’d like so long as its not posted other wise. There are plenty of awesome free sites down along the river and at Rock Creek. Right at the half way mark is the Cooper Creek Recreation Area. These are $8 a night sites with picnic tables and fire rings. Potable water is available and two pit toilets as well. The creek runs right through the camp sites which makes for a great spot to take in a swim and listen to the water rushing by at night.
Fishing is great all along the route. Pack your rod and take the time to stop and throw a line or two. The area between Rock Creek Lake and the fish hatchery is a prime location to catch some trout or just to take a dip in the lake. Great fishing can be found all along Cooper Creek as well.
Take the time for a side trip to the Taccoa Swinging Bridge and Sea Creek Falls. They are right off the route and are worth the extra miles.