Author Topic: Atlanta to Nashville?  (Read 4144 times)

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Offline akmarcia

Atlanta to Nashville?
« on: May 22, 2011, 10:34:59 am »
I'm interested in riding from Atlanta to Nashville in a couple of weeks.  Does anyone have route advice?  Google maps give a few examples, but its hard to tell what the roads are really like.  It looks like getting out of Atlanta is great on the Silver Comet trail.  But after that...?  Thanks for your help.


Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Atlanta to Nashville?
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2011, 02:20:18 pm »
I'd look at getting off the Chief Ladiga trail in Piedmont and heading north on AL 9, to Centre (although I've never driven or ridden that route).  U.S. 278/431 from Gadsden to Huntsville is NOT my cup of tea -- high speed, four lane divided highway.  U.S. 411 from Centre to Leesburg, then AL 68 to Collinsville, was relatively low traffic.  From there I got lost on low traffic back roads driving back from Atlanta and popped out in Guntersville, which would be my choice of bridges for cycling over the Tennessee River.

The late, great Ken Kifer referred to AL 79 as a hidden gem for cyclists.  Avoid the stretch from Guntersville into Scottsboro during rush hour and you should be fine.  From there it's a bit of a climb to Skyline, but this is usually lightly traveled for the quality of the road (pavement, width, and sightline).  Fall off the other side of the mountain into Winchester, TN, and you're half way there!

I think the randonneurs in Nashville have a route or two that goes near Winchester.  You might pick up some routing tips from there.  If you take TN 50 through Lynchburg around lunch, make reservations at Miss Bobo's!

Offline bikeguy54

Re: Atlanta to Nashville?
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2011, 08:37:44 pm »
Just rode from Atlanta to Nashville and back a few weeks ago. (Actually went to Lebanon, skirted Nashville, then over to Franklin.) Plan on five days of riding.

Went up through GA and came back via AL. (725 miles). Pdlamb is absolutely right about 278/431 in AL. I found riding on it stressful, if not down right dangerous. I definitely recommend the GA route.

I took the Silver Comet to Rockmart, Rockmart to Lafayette , Lafayette to Tracy City, Tracy City to Murphreesboro, and Murphreesboro to Lebanon. You should be able to fill in the route details with Google maps from there, although it did mis-direct me heading to Lafayette. (Hint: stay on the Dalton road out of Rome.) Otherwise, ask the locals. they know the roads.

The prettiest parts of the ride were riding through "The Pocket" into Lafayette and up 193(?) out of Lafayette into St Elmo, Tn. St Elmo was an oasis with both a coffee and buritto shop.

US 41 turned out to be a good route out of St Elmo all the way to Murphreesboro. (I-24 picks up all the traffic.) Expect some climbing out of St Elmo around Nickajack Lake, but you'll be rewarded with a great descent.

After crossing the river, you'll have to side-track through Jasper because, as I understand it, 41 merges with I-24 to go over Monteagle. Coming out of Jasper is where you'll climb the Cumberland Plateau. Things get flatter after that.

I found three campgrounds. 1.) two or three miles before hitting Rockmart just off the Silver Comet (water, and outhouse. Questionable on the shower); 2.) about eight miles past Rockmart on the trail (primitive) 3.) a state park a few miles after climbing the Cumberland Plateau out of Jasper, which is about eight miles before you hit Tracy City. Otherwise I stayed in motels in Lafayette and Murphreesboro.

I stayed at the Jackson(?) downtown in order to avoid going toward I-24 for the chain motels in Murphreesboro. The attendant was behind plexiglass, but the room was clean and cheap. I felt safe enough.

I veered off 41 after Murphreesboro to go to Lebanon, so you'll have to figure it from there.

Good luck,


Offline JHamelman

Re: Atlanta to Nashville?
« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2011, 10:06:03 am »
Hi Akmarcia,

Looks like you're getting some advice to get you started in your route planning. You might also want to check the resources that Georgia and Tennessee have on their state bicycling web sites. If you don't see what you need or have questions about a specific route, you can also contact the Bicycle/Pedestrian coordinators for those states. Links to their pages follows:



Hope this helps.


Jennifer Hamelman

Adventure Cycling Association
Inspiring and empowering people to travel by bicycle.
800/755-2453, 406/721-1776 x205

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