POINTS OF INTEREST

1. Ocoee Whitewater Center Trails

Cohutta Wilderness Trailheads

2. Jacks River Falls

3. Jacks River Trail

Benton MacKaye Trail

4. Hemp Top Trail

5. Fall Branch Falls

6. Aska Trails Area


7. Swinging Bridge

8. Long Creek Falls

Appalachian Trail

9. Three Forks

10. Springer Mountain

11. Amicola Falls & Trails

Easiest   More Difficult    Most Difficult    GPS Fix

The hiking trails of Fannin County include some of the most legendary in the USA. The famous Appalachian Trail begins here, the Benton MacKaye (pron. mack-eye) winds through- out the county and the Aska Trails area is great for novices and experts alike. For detailed info consult the US Forest Service web site at www.fs.fed.us/conf/. Also log on to the Benton MacKaye Trail Association web site at www.bmta.org. Trailhead numbers on the map match numbers below:

1. Ocoee Whitewater Center Trails. In addition to whitewater sports, the center has a one-mile hiking trail which crosses a 330 foot suspension bridge and circles the center. The trail is entirely accessible for those who are physically challenged. There are an additional 30 miles of trails for hikers and mountain bikers. From Blue Ridge take GA 5 north to McCaysville, then turn left on Tennessee Highway 68. In Ducktown, take U.S. 64 west for approximately 6 miles to the Ocoee Whitewater Center on the left.
N 35°03.961′ W084°27.678′

2. Jacks River Falls. Located in the Cohutta Wilderness Area on the Jacks River, this beautiful waterfall is the most visited site in the Cohutta and is reached by a 4.5 mile trail through rugged wilderness. It is highly recommended to get the USFS map of the Cohutta Wilderness and carry the 10 Essentials. For the shortest hike in, approach from the northwest access point. Start in Ellijay and drive Hwy 52 west to Chatsworth. From Chatsworth, go north on US 411 for 13 miles to Cisco. Turn right on Old Hwy 2. Continue on this road 10 miles to FS 62 on the right. Turn right on FS 62 and go 4.4 miles to the Beech Bottom Trailhead N34º 59.44’, W84º 35.28’. Hiking experience recommended.

3. Jacks River Trail. This 16.5 mile long trail shown starting at Dally Gap descends to Jacks River where there are a number of river crossings, depending on how far you hike. These can be dangerous at times of high, cold Better to stop at the first river crossing and turn back. From Blue Ridge travel 3.9 miles north on Hwy 5 to Hwy 2 and go west until the road turns into a gravel Forest Service road to Watson Gap. From the four-way intersection at Watson Gap turn right and uphill onto FS 22, then travel 3.4 miles to the trailhead at Dally Gap N34º 56.00’, W84º 31.07’. The trail heads downhill past the bulletin board. Hiking experience recommended.

4. Hemp Top. A hike to one of the highest points in the Cohutta Wilderness. From Blue Ridge travel north on Hwy 5 3.9 miles to Hwy 2 and go west until the road turns into a gravel Forest Service road to Watson Gap. From the four-way intersection at Watson Gap turn right and uphill onto FS 22, then travel 3.4 miles to the trailhead at Dally Gap. The trail heads uphill to the right. It is highly recommended to get the USFS map of the Cohutta Wilderness, carry the 10 essentials.

5. Fall Branch Falls. A double waterfall with mountain laurel and rhododendron growing along the trail and creek bank. The hike to the falls is about 30 minutes round trip. In Blue Ridge, follow Aska Road south for eight miles. Turn right on Stanley Creek Rd. (Toccoa Riverside Restaurant is on the left). The trailhead is about three miles on the right (.2 miles from where pavement ends). Parking lot – N 34°47.017′ W084°18.166′ Waterfall – N 34°47.198′ W084°18.370′

6. Aska Trails – A hiking and biking trail system 17 miles in length and open year-round. From the start of Aska Road in Blue Ridge go 4.4 miles to the trailhead for the Deep Gap portion of the Aska Another trailhead is located 1.5 miles from Deep Gap on Shady Falls Road. Trails range from 1 to 5.5 miles and are open all year. Suitable for all levels of hikers but portions of the trails can be very strenuous. Parking lot – N 34°48.995′  W084°17.989′

7. Swinging Bridge. A 260-foot suspension bridge crosses the Toccoa River on the Benton MacKaye From the intersec- tion of Hwy 515 and Hwy 5 (McDonalds) in Blue Ridge, follow Hwy 515 East approximately 4 miles to the traffic light at Hwy 60. Turn right and go to the stop sign; then turn left on Hwy 60. Go 1.5 miles into Morganton, then turn right on Hwy 60 South toward Dahlonega for 11.3 miles passing Skeenah Mill. Another .7 miles on the right is FS 816, turn right there and follow ROUGH gravel road about 3 miles to the parking area. Short hike down to the Toccoa River & Swinging Bridge. Parking lot – N 34°44.350′  W084°10.213′

8. Long Creek Falls. Go 13.5 miles south on Aska Road to its end. Turn right onto Newport Road, go 4.5 miles to its end. Turn left onto Doublehead Gap Road, cross a concrete bridge where the road will become dirt/gravel. Continue .3 miles and turn right onto dirt/gravel Forest Service Road 58 (just past the cemetery and church). Drive 5.3 miles on FS 58 to Three Forks area (Hikers Crossing Sign). Noontootla Creek is on the right as you drive. The trail begins on the north side of the road (on the left) and starts as a gradual hike alongside Long Creek. There are three short ascents before reaching the blue blazed side trail to the falls at 1.1 miles.
N 34°39.815′ W084°11.053′ is the trailhead  fix.

9. Three Forks. A junction of the Appalachian Trail and Benton MacKaye You can start a 3.7 mile hike to Springer Mountain, the start of the AT, from Three Forks. Parking lot – N 34°39.815′ W084°11.053′

10. Springer Mountain. This is the starting point of the Appalachian Trail on its 2,200 mile journey north to Maine. From Blue Ridge, take Aska Rd., 13.5 miles until it dead ends into Newport Road. Turn right on Newport Road, go 4.5 miles until it dead ends into Doublehead Gap. Turn right on Doublehead Gap and go 2 miles to FS road 42 (on the left). Turn left and go approximately 6.5 to 7 miles to parking area on your left. From the parking lot take the trail back across the road for a short .9 mile hike to the summit.
Parking lot – N 34°38.262′  W084°11.712′

11. Amicalola Falls & Trails. About 21 miles from Ellijay on Hwy 52 is a spectacular 729-foot falls, the tallest cascading waterfall east of the Mississippi An 8.5 mile AT approach trail leads from the park to Springer Mountain. There is an optional trail that provides stroller and wheelchair access to this trail. Inquire at gate. N 34°33.839′    W084°14.378′

A Word to the Wise … Be prepared for wilderness and carry the 10 Essentials (wiki or Google it). See the USFS web site at www.fs.fed.us/conf/. The law of the forest is “leave no trace”. See www.LNT.org for info. Please pack in all you will need and pack out all your trash. If you build a fire, never leave it unattended. Use good judgment when hiking, particularly around waterfalls where rocks are often wet, moss covered and slippery. If hiking during hunting season, wear a brightly colored vest. Carry a copy of Trails Illustrated Map #777.

 

1. Ocoee Whitewater Center Trails

West of Town & Cohutta Wilderness Rides

2. South Fork Trail and Loop

3. Cashes Valley Ride

4. Chestnut Gap Ride

Downtown Blue Ridge Area Rides

5. Ada Street Town to Country

6. City Park & Blocks of History

7. Lake Blue Ridge Recreation Area


South of Town Trailheads & Rides

8. Boardtown Road Bike Ride

9. Aska Trails Area

10. Turkey Farm Loop

11. Stanley Creek Road

12. Old Dial Road & Toccoa River

13. Doublehead Gap & Newport Roads

14. FS 58 to Three Forks

15. FS 58 & FS 42 to Springer Mountain

16. Old 76 Road Bike Ride

Easiest[E]   More Difficult[M]  Most Difficult[D]  Mountain Bike[MB]  Road Bike[RB]

The biking trails of Fannin County include some of the most varied and exciting routes in all of North Georgia. Two-lane paved roads, Forest Service all weather gravel roads and single track wind throughout our area. This guide shows access points. Plan your ride with supplemental info from the Welcome Center, books, bike shops and the web. Start with good maps and great advice from locals. For a full bike shop, check out Blue Ridge Mountain Outfitters/ Blue Ridge Bike Shop in McCaysville. For detailed info on National Forests, road closures, trail restrictions and more consult the US Forest Service web site at www.fs.fed.us/conf/. Biking route starting points match the numbers below:

1. Ocoee Whitewater Center Trails[M] [E] [D] [MB] In addition to whitewater sports, the Tanasi Trail system at the center has 30 miles of trails for hikers and mountain bikers. Get detailed maps there. From Blue Ridge take GA 5 north to McCaysville, then turn left on Tennessee Highway 68. In Ducktown, take U.S. 64 about 6 miles west to Ocoee Whitewater Center. N 35°03.961′ W084°27.678′

2. South Fork Trail & Loop[M] [MB] Located in the Cohutta Wilderness Area along the South Fork of Jacks River, this beautiful 2.9 mile singletrack trail combines forest, views and water crossings. It is highly recommended to get the USFS map of the Cohutta Wilderness and carry the 10 Essentials. From Blue Ridge travel 3.9 miles north on Hwy 5 to Hwy 2 and go west 10.5 miles to Watson Gap (dirt road at mile 9). Start biking here for the loop down FS 64 (on the left) or drive the 4 miles to Jacks River Fields and the trailhead of the South Fork Loop returns to Watson Gap on Foster Rd..

3. Cashes Valley Ride[M] [RB] [MB] This 5 – 15 mile out   and back ride through a gorgeous mountain valley and forest starts off Hwy 2 on paved Cashes Valley Road, turns to gravel road and ultimately goes all the way into forest along Fighting- town Creek. From the McDonald’s in Blue Ridge go north on Hwy 5 for 3.9 miles and make a left on Hwy 2. Go 3.8 miles to Cashes Valley Road and park on the right in the pull off. At mile 2.5 you can bear right to the unpaved, rougher part of Cashes Valley Road for another 5 miles of mountain bike riding. Be prepared for several semi-deep stream crossings and getting wet if you continue. Return to parking.

4. Chestnut Gap Ride[E] [RB] From Blue Ridge travel north on Hwy 5 3.9 miles to Hwy 2 and go west 2.2 miles to Chestnut Gap Road. Park there. You can either ride 4 miles out and return, or ride to a shuttle in downtown Blue Ridge.

5. Ada Street Town to Country[E] [RB] Starting at the intersection of Mountain and Ada Streets, you can ride paved 2-lane all the way to the Toccoa River at Curtis Switch (4.7 miles) through beautiful rolling countryside.

6. City Park & Blocks of History[E] [RB] The grid layout of downtown Blue Ridge makes for nice easy biking and stopping. Mineral Springs Park is a nice picnic spot. Start at downtown City Park or Pedego Electric Bikes at Depot and East Main Street. See our Map #13 Historic Blue Ridge.

7. Lake Blue Ridge Recreation Area[E] [MB] [RB] 1 miles from Blue Ridge. Take East First Street to Dry Branch Road (just past Aska Road), make a right and follow to the bike and walking loops at the Lake BR Recreation Area.

8. Boardtown Road Ride[M] [RB] From Blue Ridge going south on Boardtown Road continues through scenic country- side all the way to Ellijay, GA. A nice long road bike

9. Aska Trails Area[D] [MB] A hiking and biking trail system 17 miles in length and open year-round. From the start of Aska Road in Blue Ridge go 4.4 miles to the trailhead for the Deep Gap portion of the Aska Other trailheads are located 1.5 miles from Deep Gap on Shady Falls Road and another is up Stanley Creek Road 4.1 miles at Stanley Gap (Toccoa River Restaurant on left). Trails range from 2 to 5.5 miles and are open all year. Except for the Long Branch Loop the trails are not recommended for novices.
Parking lot – N  34°48.995′ W084°17.989′

10. Turkey Farm Loop[M] [MB] Right off Aska Road (at 5.9 miles turn left on Shady Falls Road) is a 4.7 mile gravel loop around an old turkey farm.

11. Stanley Creek Road[M] [MB] In Blue Ridge, follow  Aska Road south for eight miles. Turn right on Stanley Creek Rd. (Toccoa Riverside Restaurant is on the left). Park at the lot just up from Toccoa Riverside Restaurant or you can drive to the Stanley Gap Aska trailhead (4.1 miles from Aska Road) and then bike  to 515 and return.

12. Old Dial Road & Toccoa River[E] [MB] Take Aska Road in Blue Ridge approximately 8.3 miles south to bridge on left. Cross Shallowford Bridge and follow the dirt road 1.3 miles to its intersection with Old Dial Road. Turn right on Old Dial, go .6 miles and you’ll find Sandy Bottoms Canoe Launch and Campground, which is a great place to get your feet wet! Park here and ride out and back to the bridge along the river, or continue on Old Dial at the intersection of Shallowford Br. Rd.

13. Newport & Doublehead Gap Roads[E] [RB] Take Aska Road in Blue Ridge approximately 18.1 miles to Newport Road and find a parking spot near there. Nice riding in this area through the countryside and along the scenic Toccoa River. You can make various routes along Newport and Doublehead Gap Roads, but car traffic on 60 can be treacherous for bikes.

14 & 15. Forest Service Rd 58 & 42[M] [D] [MB] Go 13.5 miles south on Aska Road to its end. Turn right onto Newport Road, go 4.5 miles to end. Turn left onto Doublehead Gap Road, cross a concrete bridge where the road will become dirt/gravel. Continue .3 miles and turn right onto dirt/gravel Forest Service Road 58 (just past the cemetery and church). Ride 5.3 miles on FS 58 to Three Forks area (Hikers Crossing Sign). Noontootla Creek is on the right. Near here the Appalachian Trail and Benton MacKaye trails begin and a short hike leads to Long Creek Falls (trail is hiking only, no bikes). Continue the climb on FS 58 to FS 42, make a right and continue to the parking lot at Springer Mountain.

16 Old Hwy.76 Ride[M] [RB] From Blue Ridge going east on East First Street, Old Hwy. 76 (same road) continues through scenic countryside all the way to Blairsville, GA.

A Word to the Wise … Highway biking can be dangerous, wear brightly colored clothing and stay to the right side of the road. If biking in the mountains, be prepared for wilderness, get the excellent Trails Illustrated Map #777, heed safety tips on map. Ride slow, single file, especially if biking with kids.

 

1. Springer Mountain

2. Three Forks

3. Long Creek Falls

4. Fish Hatchery


5. Swinging Bridge

6. Sandy Bottoms

7. Lake Blue Ridge Dam

8. Tammen Park

Trout Capital of Georgia Designated by the Georgia State Legislature in 2010 as Trout Capital of Georgia, Fannin County lies in the Appalachian Mountains, 90 miles north of Atlanta, bordering on North Carolina and Tennessee.

Extending from within the county seat of Blue Ridge to the county border north, south, east and west, more than 100 miles of trout streams and rivers wind through Fannin County across 100,000 acres of the Chattahoochee National Forest. Blue Ridge is a quaint mountain gateway town with art galleries, downtown shopping, delectable restaurants, a scenic railroad, and get-away cabins nestled on mountain ridges, in peaceful valleys and on scenic waters. The headquarters for the Trout Adventure Trail in Fannin County is the Fannin County Chamber of Commerce in Blue Ridge.

Trout Adventure Trail The Trout Adventure TrailTM is a “do it yourself” and “plan your own” hiking and learning experience for kids of all ages along legendary trails in the Chattahoochee National Forest in north Georgia. It is designated by the Fannin County Chamber of Commerce as one of the top activities in the region. The Trout Adventure TrailTM offers individual hikers, families and organized groups the opportu- nity to hike, learn and earn a distinctive commemorative award patch as recognition of the commitment to outdoor education, conservation and accomplishment. For extensive information on the trail, visit http://www.troutadventuretrail.org

Explore a living watershed from the top of Springer Mountain (the starting point of the Appalachian Trail on its 2,200 mile journey north to Maine) raindrops which fall on the forested watershed make their way down small streams to the Toccoa River. You can hike along these pristine streams, exploring trout habitat along the way. Lake Blue Ridge is formed where Lake Blue RIdge Dam contains the waters, providing electric power, flood control and recreational spots along Lake Blue Ridge’s miles of National Forest shoreline. Then the Toccoa River continues north after the dam, providing cold waters right below the dam, also a great trout habitat. Watch fly fishers catch big trout there.

The hiking trails of Fannin County include some of the most legendary in the USA. The famous Appalachian Trail (AT) begins here, the (BMT) Benton MacKaye Trail (pron. mack-eye) winds throughout the county and the Aska Trails area is great for novices and experts alike. For detailed info consult the US Forest Service web site at www.fs.fed.us/conf/. Our web site www.blueridgemountains.com has free down- loadable maps and info of all kinds on local outfitters.

1. Springer Mountain. This is the starting point of the Appalachian Trail on its 2,200 mile journey north to Maine, and one of the possible starting points along the Trout Adventure TrailTM. From Blue Ridge, take Aska Rd., 13.5 miles until it dead ends into Newport Road. Turn right on Newport Road, go 4.5 miles until it dead ends into Double- head Gap. Turn right on Doublehead Gap and go 2 miles to FS road 42 (on the left). Turn left and go approximately 6.5 to 7 miles to parking area on your left. A short hike from the parking lot leads to the summit. Parking lot – N 34°38.262′ W084°11.712′

2. Three Forks. A junction of the Appalachian Trail and Benton MacKaye You can start a 3.7 mile hike to Springer Mountain, the start of the AT, from Three Forks. Go 13.5 miles south on Aska Road to its end. Turn right onto Newport Road, go 4.5 miles to end. Turn left onto Double- head Gap Road, cross a concrete bridge and come to a dirt gravel road. Continue on this road .3 miles to the intersection with dirt-gravel FS Road 58, intersecting sharply from the right. Turn right (east) into the forest and drive 5.3 miles to Three Forks (see below). Noontootla Creek is on the right as you drive. Parking lot – N 34°39.815′  W084°11.053′

3. Long Creek Falls. From Three Forks the trail begins on the north side of the road (on the left) and starts as a gradual hike alongside Long Creek. There are three short ascents before reaching the blue blazed side trail to the falls at 1.1 miles. N 34°39.815′ W084°11.053′ is the trailhead GPS

4. Fish Hatchery The Chattahoochee Forest National Fish Hatchery raises over a million rainbow trout a year for distribution in the North Georgia area streams and rivers. Visitors can tour the hatchery, picnic and fish in Rock Creek which runs though the hatchery (M-F call 706-838-4723), and also fish in Rock Creek Lake located 2 miles to the north. To get to the fish hatchery travel on 515 to the Hwy. 60 intersection. Follow Hwy. 60 South approximately 15 miles. Turn right on Rock Creek Road. The fish hatchery is located 5 miles on the right. N 34°42.382′   W084°08.969′

5. Swinging Bridge This is a great place to hike to and have a picnic in trout habitat along a pristine section of the Toccoa River. A 260-foot suspension bridge crosses the Toccoa River on the Benton MacKaye From the intersection of Hwy 515 and Hwy 5 (McDonalds) in Blue Ridge, follow Hwy 515 East approximately 4 miles to the traffic light at Hwy 60. Turn right and go to the stop sign; then turn left on Hwy 60. Go 1.5 miles into Morganton, then turn right on Hwy 60 South toward Dahlonega for 11.3 miles passing Skeenah Mill. Another .7 miles on the right is FS 816, turn right and follow ROUGH gravel road about 3 miles to the parking area. It’s a short hike down to the Toccoa River & Swinging Bridge. Parking lot – N 34°44.350′  W084°10.213′

5. Sandy Bottoms Canoe Launch The Toccoa River here flows through wilderness habitat and it’s a great place for a swim or picnic. Follow Aska Road to the Shallowford Bridge. Take Aska Road in Blue Ridge approxi- mately 8.3 miles south to bridge on left. Cross Shallowford Bridge and follow the dirt road 1.3 miles to its intersection with Old Dial Road. Turn right on Old Dial, go .6 miles and you’ll find Sandy Bottoms Canoe Launch and Campground, which is a great place to get your feet wet! The campground has four sites, each with a cooking grill, picnic table, lantern pole and tent pad. Sandy Bottoms also is the designated take out point for the Toccoa River Canoe Trail. N 34°47.170′   W084°14.398′

6. Lake Blue Ridge Dam Lake Blue Ridge Dam, one of the largest earth dams in North America, was built in 1930.  Lake Blue Ridge has 100 miles of shoreline, 80% of which is National Forest land. The lake and dam are operated by the Tennesee Valley Authority. Below the dam is a good access point for trout fishing. N 34°52.806′   W084°16.903′

7. Tammen Park A very popular place to picnic and fly fish for trout in the Toccoa River is just below the Lake Blue Ridge Dam. Call in advance for water-release information 1-800-238-2264, ext 4,#23. This park also has ball fields, playground equipment and picnic areas. The entrance to the park is clearly marked right off Hwy 515. N 34°53.254′   W084°17.180′

A Word to the Wise … Be prepared for wilderness and carry the 10 Essentials (wiki or Google it). See the USFS web site at www.fs.fed.us/conf/. The law of the forest is “leave no trace”. See www.LNT.org for info. Please pack in all you will need and pack out all your trash. If you build a fire, never leave it unattended. Use good judgment when hiking, particularly around waterfalls where rocks are often wet, moss covered and slippery. If hiking during hunting season, wear a brightly colored vest. Unexpected encounters with animals can be pleasurable or problematic. Look for hawks soaring silently above and woodpeckers, turkeys and mountain grouse near the forest edges. The flash of a white-tail deer is an every day occurrence. More rare is sighting a black bear or bobcat.

Most animals will flee the presence of humans, but be on the lookout for copperheads, wasps, yellow jackets and other biting, stinging critters.

 

1. Springer Mountain

2. Big Stamp Gap

3. Three Forks

4. Toccoa River & Swinging Bridge

5. Hwy 60, Southern Crossing

6. Skeenah Gap

7. Wilscot Gap, Hwy 60, Northern Crossing

8. Dial Rd. 

9. Shallowford Bridge

 


10. Falls Branch Falls

11. Weaver Creek Rd. 

12. Lake Blue Ridge Dam

13. Boardtown Rd.

14. Bushy Head Gap

15. Dyer Gap

16. Watson Gap

17. Jacks River Trail (Daily Gap)

18. Thunder Rock Campground

The hiking trails of Fannin County include some of the most legendary in the USA. The Benton MacKaye (pronounced mack-eye) and Appalachian Trails begin here and wind throughout the county. Whether you are out for a day hike or a longer multi-day hike, Blue Ridge has been designated as the first Benton MacKaye Trail Trail Town, a perfect starting point for your hike and picking up gear and supplies.

The Benton MacKaye Trail (BMT) is a footpath of nearly 300 miles (480 km) through the Appalachian mountains of the southeastern United States. It is designed for foot travel in the tradition of the Appalachian Trail (AT). For detailed info consult the excellent Benton MacKaye Trail Association web site at www.bmta.org for maps, mileages and important info, and the US Forest Service web site at www.fs.fed.us/conf/. Buy and carry Trails Illustrated map #777. This guide is meant only for general reference. Numbers below reference the map on the front for some of the more popular access points:

FROM THE START, SOUTH OF BLUE RIDGE:
1. Springer Mountain. This is the starting point of both the BMT and the Appalachian Trail. From Blue Ridge, take Aska Rd., 13.5 miles until it dead ends into Newport Road. Turn right on Newport Road, go 4.5 miles until it dead ends into Doublehead Gap. Turn right on Doublehead Gap and go 2 miles to FS road 42 (on the left). Turn left and go approximately 6.5 to 7 miles to parking area on your left at Big Stamp Gap. From the parking lot take the trail back across the road for a .9 mile hike to the summit.
Parking lot – N 34°38.262′ W084°11.712′

3. Three Forks. A junction of the Benton MacKaye Trail and Appalachian Trail. Go 13.5 miles south on Aska Road to its end. Turn right onto Newport Road, go 4.5 miles to end. Turn left onto Doublehead Gap Road, cross a concrete bridge and come to a dirt gravel road. Continue on this road .3 miles to the intersection with dirt-gravel FS Road 58, intersecting sharply from the right. Turn right (east) into the forest and drive 5.3 miles to Three Forks. Noontootla Creek is on the right as you drive. The trail begins on the north side of the road (on the left). N 34°39.815′ W084°11.053′

4. Swinging Bridge. A 260-foot suspension bridge crosses the Toccoa River on the Benton MacKaye Trail. From the intersection of Hwy 515 and Hwy 5 (McDonalds) in Blue Ridge, follow Hwy 515 East approximately 4 miles to the traffic light at Hwy 60. Turn right and go to the stop sign; then turn left on Hwy 60. Go 1.5 miles into Morganton, then turn right on Hwy 60 South toward Dahlonega for 11.3 miles passing Skeenah Mill. Another .7 miles on the right is FS 816, turn right and follow ROUGH gravel road about 3 miles to the
parking area. Short hike down to the Toccoa River, BMT & Swinging Bridge. Parking lot – N 34°44.350′ W084°10.213′

10. Fall Branch Falls. A double waterfall with mountain laurel and rhododendron growing along the trail and creek bank. The hike to the falls is about 30 minutes round trip. In Blue Ridge, follow Aska Road south for eight miles. Turn right on Stanley Creek Rd. (Toccoa Riverside Restaurant is on the left). The trailhead is about three miles on the right (.2 miles from where pavement ends). Parking lot – N 34°47.017′ W084°18.166′ Waterfall – N 34°47.198′ W084°18.370′

FROM WEST OF BLUE RIDGE:
15 & 16 Dyer Gap & Watson Gap. From Blue Ridge travel north on Hwy 5 for 3.9 miles to Hwy 2, take a left and and go west on Hwy 2 until the road turns into a gravel Forest Service road to Watson Gap. From the four-way intersection at Watson Gap turn left and drive approximately 2.5 miles to Dyer Gap. It is highly recommended to get the USFS map of the Cohutta Wilderness, and carry the 10 essentials.

17. Dally Gap From Blue Ridge travel north on Hwy 5 for 3.9 miles to Hwy 2 and go west until the road turns into a gravel Forest service road to Watson Gap. From the four-way intersection at Watson Gap turn right and uphill onto FS 22, then go 3.4 miles to the trailhead at Dally Gap.

18 Thunder Rock Campground. This is a nice place to stop, park and start a hike or set up shuttles for long hikes. From Blue Ridge take GA 5 north to McCaysville, then turn left on Tennessee Highway 68. In Ducktown, take U.S. 64 west to the Thunder Rock Campground on the left.

A Word to the Wise … Be prepared for wilderness and carry the 10 Essentials (wiki or Google it). Get info from www.bmta.org and the USFS web site at www.fs.fed.us/conf/. Buy and carry a copy of the excellent Trails Illustrated map #777 for detailed terrain and trail info. The law of the forest is “leave no trace”. See www.LNT.org for info. Please pack in all you will need and pack out all your trash. If you build a fire, never leave it unattended. Use good judgment when hiking, particularly around waterfalls where rocks are often wet, moss covered and slippery. If hiking during hunting season, wear a brightly colored vest.

1. Ocoee River Rapids

2. Jacks River Falls

3. Benton Falls

4. Turtletown Falls

5. Fall Branch Falls

6. Amicalola Falls 


7. Long Creek Falls

8. Toccoa River, Swinging Bridge 

9. Sea Creek Falls

10. Vogel State Park

11. Helton Creek Falls

12. Desoto Falls

 

Easiest   More Difficult    Most Difficult

The waters surrounding Georgia’s Blue Ridge include some of the most legendary in the USA. The Toccoa and Ocoee Rivers flow through the area, and hidden waterfalls are jewels in gorgeous wilderness.The famous Appalachian Trail begins here and the Benton MacKaye (pron. mack-eye) winds throughout the area. For detailed info consult the US Forest Service web site at www.fs.fed.us/conf/. Detailed maps are available there online. Trailhead numbers on the map match numbers below:

1. Ocoee River Rapids. Home to the 1996 Olympic whitewa- ter events, this is world class This is a great place to bring a picnic, do advanced paddling, hike and bike. In addition to whitewater sports, the Ocoee Whitewater Center has a one-mile hiking trail which crosses a 330 foot suspen- sion bridge and circles the center. The trail is entirely accessible for those who are physically challenged. There are an additional 20 miles of trails for hikers and mountain bikers. From Blue RIdge take GA 5 north to McCaysville, then turn left on Tennessee Highway 68. In Ducktown, take U.S. 64 west for approximately 6 miles to the Ocoee Whitewater Center on the left.

2. Jacks River Falls. Located in the Cohutta Wilderness Area on the Jacks River, this beautiful waterfall is the most visited site in the Cohutta and is reached by a 4.5 mile trail through rugged wilderness. It is highly recommended to get the USFS map of the Cohutta Wilderness and carry the 10 essentials. For the shortest hike in, approach from the northwest access point. Start in Ellijay and drive Hwy 52 west to Chatsworth. From Chatsworth, go north on US 411 for 13 miles to Cisco. Turn right on Old Hwy 2. Continue on this road 9.6 miles to FS 62 on the right. Turn right on FS 62 and go 4.4 miles to Beech Bottom Trailhead. N34º 59.44’ W84º 35.28’ Hiking experience highly recommended.

3. Benton Falls. Located on the Benton Falls Trail in the Overhill country of southeastern Tennessee. From Blue Ridge take GA 5 north to McCaysville, then turn left on Tennessee Highway 68. In Ducktown, take U.S. 64 west past the Ocoee Whitewater Center, then go 11 miles to Forest Service Road 77, located by the Cherokee National Forest Service / Chilhowee Recreation office. Turn right on Hwy 77 up Chilhowee Mountain approximately 7.3 miles and turn right at Chilhowee Campground. Go 0.4 miles to the Chilhowee Recreation Area. The trail is 1.5 miles to the falls.

4. Turtletown Falls. Turtletown Creek Trail follows Turtletown creek and loops back to Shinbone Ridge. Beautiful views emerge of of the Hiwassee River below along with overlooks of two major waterfalls, Turtletown Falls and Lower Turtletown Falls. From Blue Ridge take GA 5 north to McCaysville, then turn left on Tennessee Highway 68. Go north onto Tennessee Highway 68 for approximately 15 miles. Cross the railroad tracks and bear left onto Old Farner Road (CR 2317) following it for about 1 mile. Turn left on FS 1166. The trailhead will be approximately 1.25 miles at the end of the road.

5. Fall Branch Falls. A double waterfall with mountain laurel and rhododendron growing along the trail and creek bank. The hike to the falls is about 30 minutes round trip. In Blue Ridge, follow Aska Road south for eight miles. Turn right on Stanley Creek Rd. (Toccoa Riverside Restaurant is on the left). The trailhead is about three miles on the right (.2 miles from where pavement ends). TIPS: never climb on a waterfall. It is very slippery and dangerous. There is a nice platform in front of the falls. N 34°47.017′  W084°18.166′

6. Amicalola Falls & Trails. About 21 miles from Ellijay on Hwy 52 is a spectacular 729-foot falls, the tallest cascading waterfall east of the Mississippi Also, a strenuous 8.5 mile approach trail leads from the park to Springer Mountain, the start of the famous Appalachian Trail. There is an optional trail that provides stroller and wheelchair access to this trail. Inquire at gate. N 34°33.263′   W084°15.027′

7. Long Creek Falls. Go 13.5 miles south on Aska Road to its end. Turn right onto Newport Road, go 4.5 miles to end. Turn left onto Doublehead Gap Road, cross a concrete bridge where the road will become dirt/gravel. Continue .3 miles and turn right onto dirt/gravel Forest Service Road 58 (just past the cemetery and church). Ride 5.3 miles on FS 58 to Three Forks area (Hikers Crossing Sign). Noontootla Creek is on the right as you drive. The trail begins on the north side of the road (on the left) and starts as a gradual hike alongside Long Creek. There are three short ascents before reaching the blue blazed side trail to the falls at 1.1 miles.
N 34°39.815′   W084°11.053′

8. Toccoa River, Swinging Bridge. This is a beautiful area with huge old growth hemlocks, whitewater and shoals on the Toccoa River. A popular destination for day-hikers, Benton MacKaye Trail through hikers & paddlers making the journey down the Toccoa River Canoe Plan on a weekday visit to avoid crowds. The swinging bridge over the Toccoa River is a 260 foot long bridge and the longest swinging bridge east of the Mississippi River. From the intersection of Hwy 515 and Hwy 5 (McDonalds) in Blue Ridge, follow Hwy 515 East approximately 4 miles to the traffic light at Hwy 60. Turn right and go to the stop sign; then turn left on Hwy 60. Go 1.5 miles into Morganton, then turn right on Hwy 60 South toward Dahlonega for 11.3 miles passing Skeenah Mill. Another .7 miles on the right is FS 816, turn right and follow this rough gravel road (no low cars) 3 miles to the parking area. A short hike down to the Toccoa River on the Benton MacKaye/ Duncan Ridge National Recreation Trail brings you to the Swinging Bridge.  N 34°44.350′   W084°10.213′

9. Sea Creek Falls. A 30-foot waterfall with a shallow pool at the bottom, about one hour from Blue Ridge. From Morgan- ton, follow GA Hwy 60 South 17.7 miles to the Cooper Creek Recreation Area turnoff on the left. Continue on FS Road 4, 2.9 miles to a fork. Turn left and follow road .3 miles. Park and walk .1 mile to the falls.

10. Vogel State Park. One of Georgia’s prettiest state parks, including scenic Lake Trahlyta, which has a swimming beach with paddle boats. A short hiking trail along the lake leads you to an observation deck to view the falls. Directly below Lake Trahlyta is a stepping stone waterfall. Go south from Blairsville on US 19/129 for eleven miles. Just before the entrance to Vogel State Park on the right is a one lane pullover which allows handicap access to view the falls.

11. Helton Creek Falls. There are two falls on Helton Creek near Blairsville. A short trail descends to the first waterfall then climbs to the second larger waterfall. Please be careful – the rocks are slippery! From Blue Ridge, take Hwy 515 north to Blairsville. In Blairsville, take US 19/129 south about 11 miles. Turn left onto Helton Creek Road, the first road past the entrance to Vogel State Park. Go 2.2 miles; the road turns to gravel. There will be a small parking lot on the right in a curve, and the trail is marked.

12. Desoto Falls. A 2.5 mile trail begins at the bridge in the lower loop of DeSoto Falls Recreation Area. From Blairsville, take US 19/129 south toward Dahlonega for 15 miles. The entrance will be on the right at the bottom of the mountain.

A Word to the Wise … Be prepared for wilderness. Roads  are rough. See the USFS web site at www.fs.fed.us/conf/. Carry the ‘Ten Essentials’.The law of the forest is “leave no trace.” See www.LNT.org for info. Please pack in all you will need and pack out all your trash. If you build a fire, never leave it unattended. Use good judgment when hiking, particularly around waterfalls where rocks are often wet, moss covered and slippery. If hiking during hunting season, wear a brightly colored vest.

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