Had another great trip to Charleston Park in Forsyth County this past weekend for our second 10K (ish) race. We’ve also been to Charleston Park to do training runs several times over the past year. This is another great mountain biking trail, but going in the early morning or after it rains a bit and bikes aren’t allowed is a great way to avoid the crowds if you want to hike or run. There is a separate parking lot for the trailhead (MTB parking lot on Google maps), as the rest of the parking lot gets crowded with people using the boat ramp and picnic benches near Lake Lanier.
The trail is essentially two loops; A shorter loop close to the parking lot and then a loop farther out. The signage is great, and again, bikes and runners/hikers should go in different directions depending on the day. There are lots of switchbacks and some great views of the lake from some of the trails. Our friends got engaged at one of these views back in the fall! There’s also a bottomland section at the furthest point from the parking lot which is shady and has lots of roots. It’s pretty awesome and just a little other-worldly.
Be careful of roots and loose rocks, but as long as you’re paying attention the trail isn’t too technical and there aren’t any non-natural features put in for mountain biking like there are at some other trails. Most of our GPS watches clocked the whole course at 5.4-5.6 miles from the parking lot for those of you looking for specific mileage.