(Photo credit: Thinkstock)

(Photo credit: Thinkstock)

Whether you have just bought your first mountain bike or you’ve been riding for years, you’re probably itching to get out of Atlanta and find a great trail to really let loose. From Augusta to Woodstock, we’ve chosen a few of our favorite rides for your review. Give them a try this summer.

Pumping Station

Pumping Station in Augusta, Georgia, is a great track for those just learning to master their rides. It’s a single-track tread course that runs in a three-mile loop, so you shouldn’t find yourself getting lost if you just keep going. The average rider takes about two hours to complete their ride. It’s known for being a smooth ride, which is part of what makes it great for beginners who might not be as comfortable with a bumpier terrain.

Pavnes Creek

Paynes Creek is another trail recommended for beginners, with 10 miles of trails in a lollipop formation. It’s known to be a particularly fast trail, with most riders completing it in around an hour and 15 minutes. The park closes at 10 p.m., so you’ll want to plan your ride accordingly. The park is located in Hartwell, Georgia, and the trail can be a bit wet, so dress appropriately.

Blankets Creek

If you’re feeling a bit more comfortable, head to Woodstock, Georgia’s Blankets Creek trail. This intermediate-level course runs 15 miles and the average rider will complete it in an hour. It’s relatively close to Atlanta, compared to some of the other trails, so you can expect it to be more populated than the less convenient rides. Beginners can stick to the short and easy trails located adjacent to the parking lot, but those who are feeling more bold will want to head on in to take on the rocks and jumps.

Windy Gap Cycle Trail

Of course, sometimes you need a real challenge, and on those days you may want to head to Eton, Georgia for the Windy Gap Cycle Trail. This is a double-track trail, and though it is only five miles, it is a true beast that will let you get off the ground as often as you want. In addition to keeping to the curves of the course, you also may find yourself challenged to keep your eyes on the track because the surrounding scenery is fantastic.

Hickory Nut

One more advanced course that might work well for experienced riders is the Hickory Nut trail in Helen, Georgia. If you are taking the family to Helen to experience the cute quirks of this Bavarian village in the middle of Georgia, go ahead and pack your bikes and get ready to take on this trail. Leave the little ones on the sidelines though, as this is known to be one of the most difficult trails in the state. It contains steep inclines and lots of rocks, so you will use all of your muscles and mental acuity to stay on track. Of course, what goes up must come down, and the ride is exhilarating.

With all of these courses, it’s a good idea to call ahead before heading out to ride, as weather conditions can occasionally result in closures.

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Keely Herrick is a freelance writer. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.