If you are looking for a drive that is less intense than the Suches Loop, but about the same distance from Atlanta, the “Elberton” may be up your alley. Fast, sweeping turns set among some of the most interesting country side in Northeast Georgia make this a compelling drive.
The Elberton drive is a different drive from the minute you leave metro Atlanta. At its core, this is a more “Grand Touring” drive with a section of intense cornering. While the first 45 minutes or so are suburbs and freeway, they quickly give way to another 45 minutes of rolling hills, countryside, and farms.
Elberton is a great mix of those fast sweeping corners that keep you entertained with amazing scenery. The drive itself from Elberton to the first turn off for Harpers Ferry Rd is a magical drive. Those quick corners give way to long straights with beautiful tree canopies to each side. It becomes a picturesque view that you find yourself taking in before braking for the next corner. Contrast that with the roads in the North Georgia mountains, where the roads beg for your attention from turn-to-turn.
At the pinnacle, you are treated to 6 miles of fast but sharp corners as you make the turn down Harpers Ferry Rd. Quickly, they stop sweeping and start testing your capabilities. But, the corners are still faster than in the mountains. Even when they recommended 25 or 35 mph you can easily do double or more the speed. However, it won’t just test your driving skill; it will also test your comfort level if there is a Sheriff around the next corner.
In addition, the drive in and out has some great corners and scenery. While the higher population near Athens means more potential for crowded roads and getting stuck behind a slower car, there is more to look at than your average drive in and out. That’s because once you get out of the metropolitan area, the drive quickly turns into small towns and country roads. Also, there are number of great pull offs in front of farms, lakes, rivers, and miles of train tracks to make for some compelling picture spots.
The route essentially starts just northeast of Elberton. Take 77 North out of town and then veer right onto Ruckersville Rd. A few quick miles of houses and a golf course and then the civilization disappears.
After a few miles of sweeping turns and fast straight you’ll make a right on to Harpers Ferry Rd. If you need a quick stop, rather than making the turn just yet on Harpers Ferry, head straight for just 1 more mile and turn into Richard B Russell State Park. Not only is it a good spot along the route to stop, but it has great spots to stop and enjoy a few moments by the lake.
in fact, if you’re camping inclined, you could even stay overnight at the park.
When you do get back to Harpers Ferry you’ll enjoy several miles of fast but technical corners. A few miles in, at the junction of four roads—Harpers Ferry, Tim Prince, Hal Rucker, and Lynda—the main road (Harpers Ferry) actually turns left. Straight is a dirt road. One of us on the drive may have literally blown the turn and headed straight down the dirt road. And by one of us, that would have been me, as the lead car. It is an easy one to miss as there is a slight corner leading up to the turn and the main road appears to go straight. You have been warned!
Harpers Ferry road continues with the corners becoming less intense until it dumps you out on Hwy 72. Don’t miss Big Foot in bright orange handkerchief.
Best Time To Go: Fall, Winter, Spring
Worst Time To Go: Summer Weekends – the lake and river around Richard B Russell State Park is a summertime attraction that can bring traffic.
Where To Eat: Richards Restaurant
How Far Away: ~1.5 to 2 hours to the route start. About 30 minutes of driving around the loop
Passenger Rating: 4 out of 5 stars – this is one of the best routes to bring a significant other or friend. No sharp drops and fast, sweeping turns are easy on the passenger’s stomach..
Overall Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars – interesting scenery and faster driving lead to a really exciting pay off drive of 6+ miles.