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Tag: Hiking Trails in Georgia

Big Rock Nature Trail - Fort Mountain State Park

by JP on Jan.31, 2009, under Georgia Hiking Trails

Big Rock Nature Trail

Difficulty: Easy

Length: 0.75 Miles

Blaze: Yellow

Big Rock Nature Trail in Fort Mountain State Park is perhaps my favorite short loop trail in Northwestern Georgia. This trail has almost everything, a great hike, two babbling creeks, wonderful overlooks, and cascading falls.

The Big Rock Nature Trail begins just past the road crossing the lake. Parking for the trail is in a gravel area to the left of the trail.

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Don’t let the beginning of the trail discourage as it does not look like much, as it is somewhat muddy, and crosses under a section of power lines, but shortly after continuing down this hill, the hiker will enter a section of deeper forest where the trail really begins to become enjoyable.

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Follow the Yellow blazed trail down the pathway for a few hundred yards where it will begin to run parallel to a babbling creek, and intersects the the much longer Gahuti Trail at a wooden bridge marked with Orange Blazes.IMG_1987 IMG_1988

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The trail does not cross the bridge, instead, follow the trail to the right. Although I do recommend standing on the bridge as the creek runs underneath, as the forest opens a bit for a beautiful overlook.

The trail then descends farther into the mountain hollow before turning back up the mountain ridge as a Yellow and Orange Blaze (marking Gahuti and Big Rock Nature Trail). This ridge provides some wonderful overlooks.

Big Rock Nature Trail - Fort Mountain Big Rock Nature Trail - Fort Mountain Big Rock Nature Trail - Fort Mountain

Big Rock Nature Trail - Fort Mountain Big Rock Nature Trail - Fort Mountain Big Rock Nature Trail - Fort Mountain

Big Rock Nature Trail - Fort Mountain

As the trail bends back around the ridge, it will meet up with Gold Mine Creek.

Big Rock Nature Trail - Fort Mountain

Big Rock Nature Trail - Fort Mountain

Gold Mine Creek cascades down the mountain ridge. The Creek provides some beautiful views of cascading waterfalls as it runs towards the hiker. Hike up largest section of the cascades, and don’t forget to look backwards now and again for overlooks.

Big Rock Nature Trail - Fort Mountain

Big Rock Nature Trail - Fort Mountain

Big Rock Nature Trail - Fort Mountain Big Rock Nature Trail - Fort Mountain

Big Rock Nature Trail - Fort Mountain

Big Rock Nature Trail - Fort Mountain

Big Rock Nature Trail - Fort Mountain

At the top of the trail, Gahuti and Big Rock separate. Gahuti crosses over the creek via a bridge, Big Rock continues back up the mountain. The trail leaves the forest at the base of a dam blocking the lake.

Big Rock Nature Trail - Fort Mountain Big Rock Nature Trail - Fort Mountain Big Rock Nature Trail - Fort Mountain

Big Rock Nature Trail - Fort Mountain Big Rock Nature Trail - Fort Mountain

At the base of the dam, there is also small birding area with signs indicating some of the local birds in the area. The trail ends back at the road that crosses the lake.

Big Rock Nature Trail - Fort Mountain Big Rock Nature Trail - Fort MountainBig Rock Nature Trail - Fort Mountain

Big Rock Nature Trail - Fort Mountain

Big Rock Nature Trail - Fort Mountain

Nearby Trails:

Old Fort Trail - 1.1 miles

Gahuti Trail - 8.8 miles

Lake Trail - 1.2 mile loop

301 Biking Trail - 14.6 mile loop

Gold Mine Loop Biking Trail - 6.3 miles

Directions:

1. Follow I-75 to exit # 333 towards 411

2. Take GA Hwy. 52 8 miles past Chatsworth onto Fort Mountain

3. Turn left onto park entrance.

4. Once in park, turn left towards the lake, and follow to the right of the trail, cross the dam.

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Mountain Laurel Trail - Amicalola State Park

by JP on Jan.19, 2009, under Georgia Hiking Trails, Hiking Trails

Mountain Laurel Loop Trail


Length: 1.0 Miles

Difficulty: Easy to Moderate (somewhat technical descent)

Blaze: Green

Mountain Laurel Trail is a loop trail that serves as a connection between Spring Trail and Creek Trail. The trail creates a loop that a points runs along with Creek Trail. Mountain Laurel Trail is marked by a Green Blaze.

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If descending from Spring Creek, I recommend taking Mountain Laurel Trail’s path to the left. This side of the trail serves as a shorter route to the Creek Trail and back to the Base of the Falls reflection pool.

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The trail continues descending down the Amicalola Ridge through a leafy forest. This forest contains both its namesake Mountain Laurels, Pines and several Oak trees.

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As the trail descends, be careful on the switchbacks, several of these “step downs” can be very slick shortly after a rain, and difficult to go down without falling or sliding.

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Towards the ends of the trail, the path becomes rockier, and potentially more slippery.

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The trail connects with Creek Trail shortly after a rocky switchback. From here, the Creek trail and Mountain Laurel Trail continue together for a short distance before Creek Trail forks to the left. Mountain Laurel Trail then continues in a loop back up the ride to the Spring Trail trail head.

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Creek Trail continues back to the Visitor’s Center at the beginning of Amicalola State Park.

Notes:

Avoid this trail after a rain, it can be dangerous to descend when it is wet and muddy. Also, hiking a wet trail can increase damage to the trail itself. Otherwise, this is a fun trail to complete a loop from the Visitor’s Center to the Falls and back again.

Nearby Trails

East Ridge Trail - 1.0 miles

Creek Trail - 0.6 miles

Appalachian Approach Trail - 8.5 miles

Hike Inn Trail - 5 miles

Spring Trail - 0.4 miles

West Ridge Falls Access Trail - 0.3 miles

Base of Falls Trail - 1.0 miles

Directions from Ellijay:

Follow GA-52 approximately 21 miles to Amicalola Falls State Park.

Directions from Dawsonville:

Take Hwy. 53 west to Hwy. 183 north to Hwy. 52 east.

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Visitor’s Center Loop Trail - Hiking Red Top Mountain

by JP on Dec.26, 2008, under Georgia Hiking Trails

Length: 0.75 mile Loop

Difficulty: Easy

The Visitor’s Center Loop Trail on Red Top Mountain is a very brief hiking trail that begins at the same trail head of the Sweetgum Lodge Loop. Both trail heads begin in the parking area near the Visitor’s Center. The hike follows along the Sweetgum Trail until it forks to the right after a few hundred yards. The trail is marked with green blazes.

Visitors Center Trail Head Visitor center fork

After forking right onto the loop, hikers will find a wooden overlook, and some rock steps that lead down to a small spring. During the drought, this spring appeared to be nearly dry.

Visitors Center Loop Red Top Mountain

Red Top Mountain Visitors Center Loop

Dry Spring Bed

The Visitor’s Center Loop Trail on Red Top Mountain then continues into a small valley and dense forest. The trail also has a few boulders scattered around.

Visitor's Center Loop Trail - Red Top Mountain Visitor's Center Loop- Red Top Mountain Visitor's Center Loop Trail - Red Top Mountain

The trail ends back in the parking area near the Visitor’s Center of Red Top Mountain State Park.

Notes: Overall, I must state that this hike is not the first one that I would recommend on Red Top Mountain. There are limited views, and the best feature (the spring) will likely be dry for a while. Check out the nearby Sweetgum Lodge Loop Trails for similar forest views, but with the added benefit of seeing Allatoona Lake.

Nearby Trails:

Sweetgum Lodge Loop Trail-3.5 mile loop

Homestead Trail - 5.5 mile loop

Iron Hill Bike Trail - 3.9 mile loop

Lake Trail - 0.75 Mile loop

Directions to Red Top Mountain:

From Atlanta:

1. Take I-75 North past Allatoona Lake to exit # 285

2. Turn Right and follow the signs into the Park. The visitors center and parking lot is on the main entrance road.

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River Trail- Cumberland Island, GA

by JP on Nov.12, 2008, under Georgia Hiking Trails

Difficulty: Easy

Length: 0.5 miles (one way)

River Trail is a hiking trail on Cumberland Island that connects Dungeness Docks to Sea Camp Docks. This trail is a short half mile trail that runs somewhat parallel to the western coast of Cumberland Island. The trail is extremely grown up, and appears to have been much nicer in the past. I noticed on the hike that there appeared to have been some sort of Native American living history-type exhibit on the trail at one time, but this exhibit was clearly no longer in use. While the trail is somewhat grown up, it does provide an opportunity to see some interesting views of the river to the west of Cumberland Island, and to experience a more natural setting in the live oak forest as you hike between Dungeness Dock and Sea Camp Dock. Overall, I’d say this trail can be missed for those on a short time frame, although it does provide a good connecting trail between Dungeness and Sea Camp for those tired of walking the main road over and over.

Camping Nearby:

Sea Camp Campground

Nearby Hiking Trails:

Dungeness Trail

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Dungeness Trail - Hike Cumberland Island, Georgia

by JP on Nov.09, 2008, under Georgia Hiking Trails

Difficulty Rating: Easy to Moderate (only if in warm conditions).

Length: Approximately 1.5 Miles (One Way)

Dungeness Trail or Dungeness Road is the trail that travels from the the Southern Dock and Ranger Station on Cumberland Island to the Dungeness Ruins, and eventually to the Southern end of the Beach.

There are two approaches to this road. The first approach is excellent for day trippers to the island.  Day trippers to the island will definitely want to see Cumberland’s famous Dungeness Ruins and feral horses. As such, they should get off the ferry at the first docking stop. At this dock, the Ice House Museum and River Trail, will be to the left, continue straight down the dredged road until it intersects with the main road. At the Main Road, take a right following the sign to the Dungeness Ruins. The road continues until it enters two large stone entryways with the Dungeness Ruins lying dead ahead. To the right is an open field that Cumberland’s feral horses can often be found grazing in.



Take a left walking in front of the Ruins, and follow the trail down to the Dungeness Village.

To the right of the Dungeness Village is a very short trail to the Greene-Miller cemetery where General Light Horse Harry Lee had been buried, as well as members of General Greene’s family.  Follow this trail for a beautiful view of the marshes.

When returning to the trail, take a right, and the trail will lead to the beach on Cumberland Island. Note, however, that there is multiple trails along Dungeness Trail that lead back to the Dungeness Road. The easiest is by following the wooden boardwalk.

The trail can then be followed back by the same route, or can be looped around by following the beach north to Sea Camp, and then back south along the main road or River Trail. This loop will total around 3.5 miles.

The second approach to the trail is for those staying at Sea Camp.  The best route to take for those campers, in my opinion, is by taking the Sea Camp trail to the Beach, and then heading south along the beach to Dungeness Trail. Follow the Dungeness Trail in reverse to the Ice House Museum and Dock. From there, follow River Trail back to the Sea Camp ranger station.

Features of the Trail:

Live Oak Forest - a road of dredged shells. This dredged area is a great place to find fossilized sharks teeth.

Dungeness Ruins, Village, and Cemetery -Views of the former mansion of Carnegie, and the previous homesite of General Nathanael Greene. Also see the village where the Carnegie workers were. In the village, there is a small area where visitors can use restrooms and watch a video of the Carnegies and life on their farm.

Feral Horses - The best place to see Cumberland’s famous horses are grazing in the fields around the Ruins.

Turkey - On the approach Trail from the Dock I saw three very large Toms crossing the road. Also, several turkey were in the field near the Ruins.

Armadillo - Numerous armadillo are on the island and many can be seen near the Ice House Museum.

Ice House Museum and Ranger Station - The Ice House Museum is a small museum just to the ride of the dock visitors arrive at. In the museum, there is a brief history of the island and its inhabitants.

Beach - Southern Beach on Cumberland Island.

Nearyby Trails:

River Trail

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