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Sorella Buckhead Hills route review

Saskia Hoppe | Published on 8/16/2021

Buckhead Hills
The Sorella Buckhead Hills route ride has been running every April to September for over 25 years (except in 2020, but no one is counting 2020 anyway!) in various shapes and forms. This hilly 21 mile route is typically done at around 14-15 mph with 4-5 good climbs (we are in Atlanta afterall!) with plenty of socializing between climbs.

The route starts at E. Rivers Elementary School and heads down Peachtree Battle, turning right on Woodward Way for the first little hill to wake up the legs. Roll through a couple more turns before heading down on Andrews Drive for a little of a downhill, and a quick left brings your next little hill (but if traffic plays nice you slingshot at least part way up!).

As you continue onwards, you’ll have a nice straight section on Valley Rd where you can feel fast and powerful, ignoring that it’s actually a false flat - just enjoy a little speed! You can enjoy the view to the right and see some huge houses (or are they considered castles because they have a bridge? Or does it need to be a drawbridge to count?). Past the view, you’ll continue cruising through one of the more ‘flatter’ parts of the ride, enjoy it whilst you can!

You’ll eventually turn left on W Conway, a short little downhill is ruined by an inconveniently placed stop sign at the bottom of the first of the bigger climbs. Whilst you suffer, make sure to enjoy the greenery! Atlanta might be a city, but it sure is leafy. You’ll be grateful for the traffic light at the top, a breather and a great place to grab a quick drink and snack as the light can take a while (I’m not usually one to wish a light to stay red, but this is one!).

Next up is Harris Trail. I suppose it’s really next ‘down’ as you enjoy a fast downhill whilst waving at other cyclists heading up - Harris Trail is popular in both directions so it’s rare not to pass other cyclists on this section. At the bottom, take a deep breath and prepare for the longest climb of the ride. The road is wide with plenty of space for cyclists off to the side so you can climb at your own pace and work through the burn. Don’t think you’re at the top when it first levels off, there’s more! Once you get over that last kicker and take a sharp left, take a break in the lovely driveway on the right.

Once you’ve recovered a little and in my case, have stopped wheezing, you get to my favorite part of the ride. A couple of fast flowy corners followed by a very steep (but straight!) downhill which immediately kicks up. Power it all the way down and cruise straight to the top. Following that down and up you’ll have another false flat (though this one goes up) but this section is beautiful. It’s rare to see car traffic but you’ll likely come across a number of pedestrians enjoying a nice stroll.

Sorella Buckhead Hills map
Keep on cruising until you get to Powers Ferry Road - although this can be a busy road, it’s a fast downhill so take the lane and roll on down. Watch out for the stop sign at the bottom (especially in the summer it can be hidden behind the greenery!). A sharp right straight into a little kicker, a few rollers and then a left on Jett Rd. Although not the longest climb nor the steepest, this one always seems to hurt me the most (then again, I’m a track rider, so any hill hurts me!). You get to enjoy a nice downhill before going into the climb. It starts shallow and then kicks up. Then when you think you’re done, there’s more! Thankfully you are rewarded with a downhill afterwards.

Couple more rollers and turns will eventually get you to Woodhaven Rd, better known as Olympic Hill for it was used in the ‘96 Olympics road race. It’s a short, sharp kicker (my garmin has paused thinking I was stood still as I climbed my way up). You get a downhill reward, but don’t celebrate too soon, there’s a little uphill to get to the stop sign at the end.

At this point, you’re almost there and the worst of the climbing is over. You’ll cruise along until you get to the second part of Arden Rd where you’ve got a steep downhill - control your speed as you’ll suddenly be at the bottom! A right and a quick left brings you to Woodward Way where you follow Peachtree Creek for a bit until you get your last little climb (barely, but at this stage it feels like climb) back to Peachtree Battle. At this point, for those who still have some legs left, there’s a short sprint back to the school.