Tate Branch

By Johnny Malloy
  |  Gorp.com
Travel Time: Approximately 2.5 hours
Directions: Head up I-985 to Toccoa, then continue north on US 23 to Clayton. From Clayton, take US 76 west for eight miles to Persimmon Road. Turn right on Persimmon Road and follow it for four miles to Forest Road 70. Turn left on FR 70, continuing for four miles to Tate Branch, open year-round.
Information: (706) 782-3320
Reservations: Suggested
Fee: Campsites are $8 per night
Open: Year-round
Chattahoochee National Forest

This small, streamside campground is nestled far back in the North Georgia Mountains - a picture-perfect starting point for exploration of the natural beauty of the Tallulah River, the Coleman River Scenic Area, and the Southern Nantahala Wilderness .

The Tallulah River is an ideal subject for nature photographers and fishermen alike. Clean, clear water pours over gray boulders, forming frothy falls that descend into tree framed pools full of hungry rainbow trout. Mountain bikers can pedal Forest Road 70 and pick their favorite riverside relaxation point. They can also pedal to the Coleman River Scenic Area, where a foot trail winds through the scenic valley of the Coleman—a remnant forest dotted with old growth hemlock and white pines.

Just a few miles up from Tate Branch, straddling the North Carolina-Georgia border, lies the Southern Nantahala Wilderness. It is a rugged 23,000-acre preserve with heavily wooded ridges cut by steep sided drainages. The Beech Creek Trail leads two miles up to Deep Gap and the famed Appalachian Trail, which courses through the high country. The top of nearby Standing Indian Mountain, at 5,499 feet, is often called the grandstand of the Smoky Mountains, as it offers far-reaching views to the north. The Southern Nantahala offers backpacking opportunities that are limited only by your desire to explore.

Car campers will be pleasantly surprised by Tate Branch Campground. Here, a densely forest streamside flat produces secluded campsites along the Tallulah River. Away from the river, beneath white pines, are a few walk-in tent sites. Though the setting is breathtaking, be warned: this campground lacks certain comforts, offering a pump well and no showers.


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