Get ready for rugged adventure (and some fast downhill pedaling) riding this scenic hidden gem that features spectacular mountain views on the world's largest college campus. This trail offers a little bit of something for everyone- from narrow rock gardens to a historic home and beautiful reservoir, it will surely leave you dreaming of your next visit!
The House of Dreams trail is a true “ditch the city experience” for those seeking an epic biking adventure less than an hour and a half outside of Atlanta. Located on the gorgeous 27,000 acre Berry College campus (world’s largest), this 10 mile trail boasts spectacular mountain and ridgeline views along with some heart pumping climbing and technical, fast-paced downhill action. Several trail options are possible and the ride can be personalized for everyone from intermediate to advanced which allows for a quick spin through the woods or a full day of fun which is highly suggested!
What Makes It Great
The adventure begins with a 2.6 mile ascent of Lavender Mountain on the House of Dreams gravel access/fire road and is not very technical. Enjoy the serene, but adrenaline pumping climb as you take in the spectacular mountain views and lush forest! Be on the lookout for wild turkey and deer while riding as well- sightings are very common! Towards the end of your climb you will pass through a large stone gateway and make your way to the beautiful Berry historic home and lookout tower. The amazing views of Rock Mountain, Little Texas Valley, and portions of Big Texas Valley and Taylor’s Ridge from the top of the 1,500 foot summit are breathtaking! Leave some extra time to explore this area if at all possible.
The singletrack downhill section of your adventure starts on the back left side near the lookout tower- there is a “Bike Trail” sign marking where the trail begins. Get ready for more amazing ridgeline views on both sides and some fast pedaling as you make your descent- this section of the trail is rocky and more technical with some controlled braking and a nice flow! When you reach the fire road (Mountain Goat) take a left and continue for about a mile- the trail drops to the right. There is next a choice of going left or right on the trail- "The Post" trail to the right is recommended that leads to a beautiful and peaceful reservoir area. This area of the trail is also technical with more rocks, logs, and a small creek crossing. Swimming is not allowed at the reservoir, but a stop here is highly recommended- there are several great spots to relax and enjoy the scenery! Follow the fire road by the reservoir to the left (water tower should be on your right) to make the final downhill descent to the Old Mill, a historic waterwheel/pond area. Continue to follow the gravel road by the Old Mill back to the main paved road and then take a left which will lead you to the Frost Chapel parking area.
Who is Going to Love It
This trail has it all- from slow pick-a-line to fast, narrow, and steep downhill. The amazing downhill sections make any climbing worthwhile- as if the incredible views weren’t enough! There’s a little bit of something for everyone- there are sections of the trail that will challenge the intermediate rider, yet still be technical enough for more advanced riders. For beginners or those looking for a quick adventure, a ride to the House of Dreams and back on just the access road is fun, but there are also side trail options for those looking to extend their mileage. The views are best during Fall and Winter, but the overall scenery is spectacular during any season. Most of the trail is shaded which is great for warmer months. The House of Dreams trail really gives the rider a true off the beaten path “rustic” feel and mountain experience!
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
Your journey begins as you enter the campus and make your way to the Mountain Campus/Winshape Center, passing by several lakes and huge fields on the way to Frost Chapel. Both trail and campus maps are available at the gatehouse upon entrance and there is plenty of signage leading to the trailhead parking at Frost Chapel. Take a right out of the Frost Chapel Parking lot and continue a short distance on the paved road until you see the gravel road to the right with “Historic Berry/House of Dreams” sign. It is advised to take written directions on your adventure as well because some of the trails are not as clearly marked as others.
There are no fees to enter the campus and trails are open from dawn to dusk. The trails are usually not crowded (weekdays are least busy), but be cautious of runners and hikers that use parts of the trail as well. Dogs are allowed but must be kept on a leash. There is plenty of parking available in the Frost Chapel lot and water fountains/bathrooms are also located at the House of Dreams. There are no other restrooms available on the trail, so please plan accordingly.
Please note there are some select days during the fall/winter season the trails are completely closed or not open for visitor use until 10 am due to hunts- consult http://www.berry.edu/recreation/hunting/for specific dates and further details. Visiting is also not recommended during the first weekend of October due to large crowds participating in alumni weekend activities.