Lake Conasauga

By Johnny Malloy
Travel Time : Approximately three hours
Directions : Head north on I-75 to Dalton. From Dalton, take US 76 to Chatsworth. From Chatsworth take US 411 north for four miles to Eton. Turn right at the traffic light in Eton and follow Forest Road 18 east for ten miles. Turn left on Forest Road 68 and follow it for ten miles. Lake Conasauga will be on your right.
Information : (706) 695-6736
Reservations : Suggested
Fee : $8 per night
Open : Mid-April through October (although dates may vary; please call ahead)
Chattahoochee National Forest

It's a long gravel-road drive to Lake Conasauga, set in the rugged highlands of western Chattahoochee National Forest . The lake boasts several superlatives that make it worth the trip: it's Georgia's highest lake as well as the cleanest and clearest around. This mountaintop oasis is also adjacent to the 34,000-acre Cohutta Wilderness, the largest designated wilderness area in the Southern Appalachians.

Small nature trails circle the 19-acre lake, which was dammed in 1940. Gas motors are prohibited on the lake, making it a quiet retreat for canoeists and trout and bass-hungry anglers alike.

Mountain bikers will want to make a trip from Lake Conasauga to Grassy Mountain. At Grassy's peak you'll find a tower that serves up great views of the forested Cohutta Wilderness, far into Tennessee.

No fewer than six hiking trails emanate from the forest roads that ring the southern half of the nearby Cohutta Wilderness. You needn't be picky: I've hiked every trail in the Cohutta, and you just can't go wrong. Start with the Conasauga River Trail or the East Cowpen, which traverses the high country through the heart of the wilderness. When you're done, pitch a tent at any one of the the campground's five lakeside campsites and enjoy the silence the peaceful lake offers.


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