Routes for 2024 Major Taylor Mountains Summit

Helen, GA

Helen, Georgia sits amongst the highest mountains in the state, and it’s the start of the Georgia Gran Fondo, as well as the epicenter of Georgia’s famous Six Gap Century and the defunct Tour of Georgia.  Across 2024 and 2025 the MTMS will hit all six of those famous gap climbs.  But there are numerous other great rides in the area.  We will tackle different multi-mile mountain climbs, encounter a half dozen mountain lakes, and enjoy isolated, low traffic roads on every ride.   But be aware:   there are no flat rides in the Helen MTMS, so come prepared with the right gearing, new brake pads, and good winter training.

All rides will begin and end in the municipal parking lots in downtown Helen, at the corner of Chattahoochee Strasse and Edelweiss Strasse (1180 Edelweiss Strasse).  This will also be the location for checking-in for the MTMS, signing waivers, etc.   Hours will be announced on this website closer to the date of the event.  Public restrooms are very close by.   We encourage MTMS  participants to ride to the start from your hotel, motel, campground, or cabin.  Otherwise, all public parking is $10/day.



Wednesday, April 17th, 6 PM

The Sky Lake Loop Welcome – 18 miles, 1,00 feet of climbing  

This short little loop will give you a flavor of what the roads in the area are like.   The biggest climb on the ride is in the first few miles, as we do a clockwise loop up to Unicoi State Park, past Sky Lake, through the Sautee Nacoochee community, and back into Helen from its east side.


Thursday, April 18th, 10 AM

Lake Burton Loop – 69 miles, 5,500 feet of climbing

Shorter options of 52 and 34 miles (neither of which include the big climb of the day)

Long Option:

Mid Option:

Short Option:

This loop takes us mostly north on big rollers, skirting the western and northern shores of Lake Burton, before going further north (almost to North Carolina) to encounter some great little rollers, followed by perhaps the most isolated hard climb in North Georgia – Devil’s Branch Road.  Returning back to Lake Burton, the ride hugs the eastern and southern shores, taking in the short climbs of Charlie Mountain Road, and the steep climb of Burton Dam Road.  From here, its “mostly” downhill all the way back to Helen.


Friday, April 19th, 10 AM

The Mountains Crossing Ride – 59 miles, 5,500 feet of climbing

Shorter option of 38 miles, which includes plenty of climbing, but no multi-mile “Gaps”

Gaps Option:

No-Gaps Option:

Today is the real deal, tackling 3 of the big climbs used in the famous 6 Gap Century:  Neels, Jack’s and Unicoi Gaps.  But the 21 mile ride to the first climb is no walk in the park, with big rollers on GA Alt-75 and the steep ¾ mile climb after the North Georgia Zoo (llamas and camels, y’all!).  Be sure to check out the Mountains Crossing outdoor store at the top of Neels Gap, located in a historic building with great views of the valley below.  After summiting the third climb of the day, Unicoi Gap, it’s a roller coaster ride back to Helen on one of the best downhills in Georgia.


Saturday, April 20th, 10 AM

Soquee River Valley Tour – 54 miles, 3,600 feet of climbing

Shorter option of 30 miles

Long Option:

Short Option:

Today is a little bit of a respite from the previous two days – good amounts of uphill, but no multi-mile climbs and a lot less overall elevation gain.  This route takes in the Soquee River Watershed, one of the best free-flowing trout rivers in the Southeast.  Watch out for the cars of trout fishing enthusiasts parked along the roadside on GA 197.   Expect moderate rollers for the first half of the day, with most of the more difficult climbing coming in the 2nd half of the ride.   You will finish with a fun downhill from Unicoi State Park back to Helen.


Sunday, April 21st, TBD

OPTION 1:  Ask the MTMS organizers for maps for something else today.

OPTION 2:   Sign up for the Tour of Georgia Gran Fondo, with options of 25-90 miles, and pricing from $90 – $200, depending on when you sign up.  Starts in downtown Helen, just a ½ mile from the start of the MTMS rides.  The long option goes up Unicoi and Jacks Gap the opposite direction of Friday’s MTMS ride, then over Hogpen Gap (2nd hardest climb in Georgia).

MTMS organizers are researching a special discount for the Gran Fondo for MTMS participants.

NOTE FROM MACC MEMBERS:   For those planning on using a GPS unit for these routes, we strongly encourage you to download the routes into your technology before you travel.  Riders who have tried to pair their phones with their head unit have found that there are too many disruptions to cell coverage in the mountains for this to work.   We will also have old school hard-copy maps for everyone to use as a backup.  Ride safe.

For your convenience, we created the routes on once you create a free account and ping the routes to your account, you will need to follow the below instructions to sync the routes into your head unit.

How to add the route to your head unit:



Exporting the files (.fit .tcx)