45 Miles / 4600 Feet of Climbing
Climb up Starr Mountain and take in the spectacular views from the White Cliffs before winding through backwoods "hollows" on beautiful creekside roads!
Potential Route Modifications: This route can be shortened to a 26-mile loop (with 2,800 feet of climbing) by starting at the Maple Springs Trailhead and heading south on Bullet Creek Road down to Reliance Road/315 and then following Ivy Trail to Towee Falls Road where you'll pick up the regular route. After looping around to the west side of Starr Mountain following the regular route along Forest Service Road, look for the north end of Bullet Creek Road and turn right to take the shortcut back to the Maple Springs Trailhead. The route can shorted even more to make it a 15-mile loop (with 1,700 feet of climbing) by taking Bullet Creek Road to Reliance Road/315 and following it south to Starr Mountain Road where you'll turn right. Starr Mountain Road will take you over to Forest Service Road where you can pick up the regular route (taking the shortcut on Bullet Creek Road back to Maple Springs Trailhead).
We recommend starting this route at a quaint little fishing camp and store called Reliance Fly and Tackle. They offer some convenience foods, have a small deli, carry fishing supplies, sell licenses, have guided fishing trips, and also offer a cabin rental and camping along a small creek. You can also arrange a stay at Mountain Streams cabin rentals and roll out from there, or you can start at Webb Brothers store or Flip Flop Burgers restaurant, which are only a few miles from Reliance Fly & Tackle.
This ride includes quite a few miles of pavement, but the majority of it is rough asphalt on lightly traveled roads in backwoods "hollows." Early on in the ride (around mile 5.5), you'll have a short section on Tellico Reliance Road/315, but it's only for a mile before you're on your way up Starr Mountain. The climb up Starr Mountain is long and tough - over 4 miles! It's well worth it of course, as the views from White Cliffs at the top are spectacular!
After mile 21, you'll start the long descent off the mountain, eventually coming to a "T" intersection with Hwy 39 where you'll take a right. This is a busy road so use caution and be aware of passing vehicles. The good news is that in less than a mile you'll be turning off it onto Dry Creek Road (on your right) and heading through some beautiful farmland on your way back towards the woods.
At mile 26.3, take a left to get back over to Reliance Tellico Road. A quick left/right jog on Reliance Tellico Road will have you on Rural Vale Road which will pass through more farmland until you reach a stop sign on the other side of the bridge over Conasauga Creek.
Take a right at the stop sign on 318 and then turn right again when you reach Steer Creek Road. After three and a half miles of tree-lined riding on Steer Creek Road, you'll turn left on Towee Falls Road and soon be back on gravel.
After passing Towee Falls at mile 35, turn right on Fingerboard Road and follow it all the way back to Childer's Creek Road (mostly downhill!), where you'll turn right and head back to where you started.