Dawson Forest is closed to mountain bikers and equestrians the first week in August.
From the parking lot, follow the orange and blue blazes north. The first 0.4 miles is a warm-up section on forest road - you'll pass by a mysterious, heavily fenced building just north of the parking lot which is a relic of the sites' past use.
At 0.4 miles, turn left onto a former roadbed turning into a singletrack to begin climbing. After a half mile, the singletrack gives way to forest road again. At a road junction around 1.2 miles, turn right. Shortly thereafter, the orange trail splits off to the left as a singletrack.
The singletrack continues for about three miles, winding gently up and down through the forest. The trail generally parallels a forest road and there are several bail options if it becomes too much. At four miles, the trail will join the road just before a three-way road intersection. Continue straight onto the forest road which begins descending. The forest road then becomes a singletrack and you have another fun 200 ft descent.
You'll hike in the Etowah River Valley for a short distance in a section that includes a couple creek crossings. Then you've got a really difficult 0.5 mile, 150 ft singletrack climb.
At the top of this singletrack, turn right onto the forest road and follow it back to the same three-way road intersection you passed through earlier. From there, turn left to follow the singletrack back to the parking lot.
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