Perfect for an intense, short work out or add it on to other trails for extra mileage and elevation.
Typically ridden as an out and back from Mulberry Gap, you'll ascend and descend 1,880 feet in just 8.4 miles.
To find Pinhoti 3 from Mulberry Gap, turn right out of the driveway on Mulberry Gap Road/Forest Service Road 18. Ride 0.4 miles on the gravel road and you'll approach the entrance to Pinhoti 3 on the right.
During spring & summer, you'll quickly be encapsulated by a green tunnel as you begin your climb to the top of the ridge. The fern covered forest floor accented by the thick hardwood canopy greet you for miles with a few opportunities to catch a glimpse of the mountain ranges in the distance.
During fall - the changing colors and incredible and winter provides scenery for miles!
With a few thigh-burning, punchy climbs, you're heart rate will rise quickly but you'll be grinning from ear to ear on the downhills. Most of the trail is smooth and flowy with a few rocky/rooty sections that are short lived. The biggest kicker are the switchbacks. Most are tight and sneak up on you quickly. Others lead into the turn with roots and rocks, making it hard to climb up and descend with good traction. Good to know if you're someone who likes to bomb downhill, especially if you have a group of friends piled up behind you. There's a little thing we like to call the "domino effect" on this trail. Make sure you have your GoPro for entertainment purposes.
Ways to enjoy Pinhoti 3
There's a few ways to best enjoy this section of the Pinhoti and we'll lay them out in detail here. The first question to ask yourself..what am I looking for? There's a multitude of trail combinations that will offer a variety of difficulty levels. We'll start with the easiest way and build up in difficulty from there.
- Easiest: Shuttle to the top, drop in and enjoy the ride. You'll have a few short climbs but from this direction, it's mostly downhill. View details and gpx files here.
- Easier: Start from Mulberry Gap and ride to the top. From there (optional), we recommend turning right onto pavement (Hwy 52) and going about 1/8 mile to the Cohutta Overlook. Climb up the hillside up to the circular stone wall and enjoy the breathtaking view of the mountains. View details and gpx files here.
- Moderate: Add Pinhoti 3 onto the end of the Pinhoti 2 Loop (10 miles) for a total of 18.5 miles. View details and gpx files here.
- Difficult: Add Pinhoti 3 onto the end of the Bearhoti Loop (18.5) which includes Bear Creek, Pinhoti 1 and Pinhoti 2 for a total of nearly 27 miles.
- More Difficult: Start with Pinhoti 3, continue to Pinhoti 4, Pinhoti 5 and Dennis Mill. From here, you can ride road back (a few options) or request a shuttle pick up. View details and gpx files here.
- Most Difficult: Add Pinhoti 3 onto the Brutal Loop (35 miles of gravel / single track with 7,000 of elevation gain). The Brutal Loop route includes Mountaintown Creek, Bear Creek, Pinhoti 1 and Pinhoti 2. Total would be close to 43.5 miles.
Into night rides? This trail makes for an adrenaline rush! Whether you climb up after dinner (when we have long days) and catch the sunset at the overlook or get shuttled to the top and drop in for a quick descent, it will be sure not to disappoint. Grab your headlamp and a beverage to quench your thirst at the top.