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The Georgia Jewel 35 Miler

Running the Pinhoti Trail from Dalton to Snake Creek Gap
Difficulty: Strenuous
Length: 35 miles
Duration: Full day

Overview :  The Georgia Jewel is an annual event held in September with 3 distance choices: 35, 50 or 100 miles. The 35 and 100 begin and end in... more »

Tips:  As with any trail run, bring food and water. If you are running the event AS 1, 5.5 miles, is unmanned and water only. AS 2, 10 miles,... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Start

The race begins at the North Georgia Convention Center off of I-75, Walnut Street exit. The Pinhoti Trail is well-marked with the turkey foot symbols. On raceday there will be pink flagging tape, for night visibility.
That's Karen Pierson, the RD, pictured. She loves tough races and has a great attitude about events. You will like her!

2. Finished

Pretty good goodie bag: water bottle, socks, pen, several sample bars, hoodie and the jewel for finishing. Ginny Smith placed first female overall in the 35 miler this year.

3. Dug Gap Road

Out of the gravel lot to left following white arrows and onto Dug Gap Road. That mountain has to be climbed. be thankful you are on the road. How'd you like driving at 0600 and seeing 120 headlamps coming at you in your lane!!!!!

4. Dug Gap Climb to Pinhoti

There are a couple of sharp S curves on the way up and it is pretty steep. It'll be dark on your way out so nothing to see except city lights below. Look for Dug Gap historical marker on right on the way home. You'll see the arrows directing you onto the trail on your left at Tower Road.

5. Tower Road to Pinhoti

You have a very short single track and then are dumped onto Tower Road. Left turn uphill. When you reach the cell towers you will see the Pinhoti Trailhead on your left.

6. Rocky Face Ridgeline

This section is known as the rock garden. The whole trail is a rock garden! Imagine at 0630 running in a pack of a hundred or so runners and people are tripping and stumbling and falling. The key is take your time and make it to daylight. Then you can do what I did, trip and fall. Good times.

7. Descent to AS 1

By the time you begin to descend off Rocky Face Mountain towards Hurricane Valley and AS 1, the sun is rising. I was with 2 other guys climbing up this on the way back and none of us rembered how steep it was. I mean, damn, it hurt to climb up this hill. I stopped, sat on a rock and took a break kinda of hurt.

8. AS 1

The water only stop caught us all by surprise. After stumbling through the rock garden for an hour or two you arrive at a table with water and realize you are roughly a third of your way to the turnaround. On the way back this was one of the more peaceful sections with a boulder wall and open, runnable trail. Just after the AS there is a right... More

9. Hurricane Mountain

I don't really remember this section on the way out just was going with the flow. Rock formations and twisting and winding trails.

10. Middle Mountain

By Middle Mountain the sun is up and you can start running. This is where I started running then hit the ground. I did stop on the way back to take a picture of the view. The weird part about the course is you know you are on bluff after bluff after bluff, but you never get a good view.

11. Stover Road

Before you know it you are deposited on a gravel road. Right turn, downhill. Was well-marked. I beleive this is Stover Road. Finally, some wide open downhill running. After AS 2 the road turns to clay and there was a boulder field the right.

12. AS 2

Not long after getting on Stover Road you arrive at AS 2. A quick check-in, refill the bladder, grabbed some Edurolytes and pretzels and see ya!

13. Swamp Creek

At the bottom of the descent you merge with another road from the left. Keep going right on the Pinhoti. You will then cross a creek 3 or 4 times. Swamp Creek, I believe. Very little water on raceday.

14. Climb from Swamp Creek

Eventually you head left away from the creek and begin to climb. Wide trail, not too steep. Beats the heck out of all that rock from earlier.

15. Mill Creek Mountain

This last bluff run has some personality. There was a burned out section, many, many more rocks and some good runnable sections. Again, all bluff, no view.

16. Descent to Snake Creek Gap

Finally, you begin your final descent to the turnaround. It is fast. I screwed up the track on the GPS so don't take the final portion of track as gospel. I drew by memory. The trail is well-used and well marked in this area. People park and walk up to the bluff section.

17. Snake Creek Gap

Aid Staion 3 is off of 136. Grab some stuff and climb back up that hill. You are halfway there. At least will daylight on the return trip.