32 Miles / 1400 Feet of Climbing
Enjoy farmland scenery and rolling hills on a pleasant ride between historic Chickamauga and the city of LaFayette!
Potential Route Modifications: As an out & back, this route can be made as short as you like simply by turning around at any point. You can also ride this route in reverse, starting at LaFayette instead of Chickamauga. Skipping the short loop over to Veterans Memorial Park reduces the route by about a mile.
While this route can also be run from LaFayette, we've started it in the charming little town of Chickamauga at their historic train depot on 10th Street, which is now the Walker County Regional Heritage Museum. Restrooms are available inside.
From the Heritage Museum, head east on 10th Street across the train tracks. Look for the "bicycle house" on your right about a quarter-mile later. The owners of this house have decorated their yard with what looks like a fence made entirely of bicycles, which makes for a fun photo op!
After passing by the bicycle house, turn left on Crittenden Avenue and take it up a couple of blocks to 8th Street. As you approach 8th Street you'll see a Huey helicopter mounted in the air in the middle of a park-like setting. This is Holland-Watson Veterans Memorial Park, originally dedicated to a pair of Vietnam veterans but today honoring Chickamauga's veterans from all wars. It's a nice tribute, and the helicopter is a striking image in this town known primarily for its Civil War history.
After turning left on 8th Street, follow it as it bends hard to the left and becomes Long Street. Long Street will take you back to 10th Street, where you'll turn right and head back across the train tracks (where the street name changes from 10th to Gordon), past where you parked at the museum and up to a traffic light at the intersection of Gordon Street and Cove Road. Take a left at the light and ride single file along Cove Road, as this road may have a few cars.
Shortly after turning onto Cove Road, look to your right for the Gordon Lee Mansion, which is a classic antebellum house and worth a closer look when you get back from your ride. On the other side of the road, across from the Gordon Lee Mansion, is Crawfish Spring, another historic site dating back to the earliest settlers of the region. The spring is named after the Cherokee Chief Crayfish and played a role in the Civil War and was even home to a resort in the late 1800's.
After passing by these historic sites, look to your left for Glass Mill Road, which is after the baseball fields and about half a mile from the traffic light where you turned onto Cove Road. Turn left onto Glass Mill Road and you'll pass through a nice residential neighborhood that soon transitions into rural scenery.
After a couple of miles on Glass Mill, you'll come to a "Y" intersection with Old Bethel Road. Veer to the left here to stay on Glass Mill. A mile later, Glass Mill will end at a "T" intersection with Old LaFayette Road. (You may notice an incredible variety of farm animals in the small barnyard on the left side of the road at this intersection.)
Turn right at the stop sign and follow it about a mile and half before turning right onto Straight Gut Road. From here it's a straight shot with no turns for the next six and a half miles. For the most part, this stretch of road is a mix of rural residences, small farms and a few wooded areas. One notable exception to this landscape is the Walker State Prison, which you'll see on your right about a mile and a half after turning onto Straight Gut.
Straight Gut is a rolling road that trends uphill heading south, which is particularly noticeable towards the end of this stretch of road. After cresting the last hill, you'll drop down a steep pitch to a stop sign with Hwy 136. Hwy 136 can be a busy road and it will have fast-moving traffic, so you'll want to use caution as you turn onto it. After turning right on 136, ride single file for a half-mile and then carefully take a left onto Old Mineral Springs Road. (There will be two other roads on your left before you get to Old Mineral Springs Road - Gordon Pond Road and Gordon Lake Road - so be sure not to turn too soon!)
After turning onto Mineral Springs Road, you'll be treated to some spectacular views off to the right. The road has a few bumpy spots, so keep one eye on the road while you're enjoying the scenery. After a couple of miles of rural scenery, the landscape will change from rural to residential and the road name will change to Chattanooga Street and you'll soon find yourself rolling into LaFayette.
Proceed straight when you come to a stop sign at the intersection with Culberson Avenue (watch out for the drainage grate on the right side of the road at this intersection), and then take the next left, which is Villanow Street. After crossing a couple of train tracks, look for Dari-Dip on the left side of the road. Dari-Dip is our recommended turn-around point, as they have all the makings for a perfect pit stop, whether that's a simple bottle refill or a full-blown lunch. They even have a walk-up window if you'd rather not go inside! (Station House at the intersection of Chattanooga Street and Villanow Road also has outdoor seating and makes an excellent pit stop as well.)
After refueling in Chickamauga, head back out on Chattanooga Street the way you rode in. After passing through the stop sign at Culberson Avenue, take your first right, which is Probasco Street. Probasco Street starts off looking a little industrial, but it quickly turns into a nice residential area that winds around for almost two miles before ending at a "T" intersection with Main Street.
Take a left on Main Street, and then almost immediately veer off to the left onto Gordon Pond Road. A mile later you'll be back at Hwy 136. As before, you'll want to proceed very cautiously as you turn right onto 136. Fortunately, this time you're only on it for a tenth of a mile before you turn left onto Straight Gut Road.
While it will be a relief to turn off of 136 onto a quiet road like Straight Gut, you'll immediately be hit with a steep hill, so be prepared to gear down! You can take comfort though knowing that once you get over the top of the climb, you'll enjoy a nice descent followed by a road that, while rolling, trends downhill in this direction.
After roughly six and a half miles on Straight Gut, take a left onto Old Lafayette Road. This road can sneak up on you after so many miles of pleasant riding on Straight Gut, so use the prison as your landmark to start paying attention. You'll pass the prison about a mile and a half before the turn.
Similarly, your next turn, which is a left off of Old Lafayette Road onto Glass Mill Road, can sneak up on you if you're not paying attention. You're only on Old Lafayette Road for a mile and a half before the turn, and you'll cross train tracks just before you reach Glass Mill Road. You may also remember the yard full of farm animals at this turn!
After turning onto Glass Mill Road, it's an easy three miles back to Chickamauga. Glass Mill Road will bring you back to Cove Road, where you'll turn right and roll through town to the stop light at Gordon Street. Take a right on Gordon and you'll be back at the Heritage Museum where you can walk to your post-ride recovery lunch!