Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests Overview
|Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests (James Randklev/Photographer's Choice RF/Getty)|
The Chattahoochee-Oconee Forests deliver two forests in one package. Once separate entities but now combined, they really do have very different characters.
The Chattahoochee is the more rugged of the two, and includes a piece of the legendary Blue Ridge Mountains. Often called "a hiker's paradise," the Chat has over 430 miles of trails that wander through mountains, wind along rolling hills, and traverse wild rivers. You'll find Brasstown Bald, the highest mountain in the state, numerous waterfalls, hundreds of miles of trout streams, and the base of the Appalachian Trail.
The Oconee lays across the gently rolling Piedmont section of central Georgia. This is a place for family fishing, camping, and hiking. Beautiful Sinclair Lake is a real centerpiece here. It's a fun spot for a range of water and land activities.
Together, these forests offer more than ten wilderness areas, four beaches, and thousands of acres of lakes and streams. The forest is a real draw for history buffs, who can get absorbed in tracing events such as the Trail of Tears and many a Civil War battle.
Climb Georgia's Highest Mountain
Rising 4,784 feet above sea level in the northeastern tip of Georgia, Brasstown Bald Mountain's panoramic overlook provides a scenic vista to four states on a clear day. It has long been a popular spot for adventure-seekers looking for a challenge within the forest. A bonus feature on this mountain is its impressive collection of wildlife.
Camp at Andrew's Cove
Andrew's Creek Recreation Area provides a key spot for the outdoorsperson who wants to be in the middle of the action. You will find a nearby route to the Appalachian Trail and Forest Service Road 283 at Indian Grave Gap. Also close by is Anna Ruby Falls, High Shoals Scenic Area, and Andrew's Creek, where some of Chattahoochee's famous trout fishing awaits the eager angler. The campground also provides camping facilities including restrooms, running water, tent pads, picnic tables, grills, and lantern posts.
Paddle the Chattooga
The atmosphere of the Wild and Scenic Chattooga is quite primitive—thick forests hover above those braving its waters, and dense shorelines await those who venture to the river's edge. The brooding waters passing through the Chattahoochee offer an abundance of paddling opportunities.
Hike to Indian Mounds
The forest is rich in its American Indian history. Near Scull Shoals is a hiking trail that leads to an important part of Georgia's prehistoric past where you'll find two Indian mounds, speculated to be ancient platforms once used for rituals.
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Mountain Bike Stonewall Loop
Scenic views, streams, and fresh waterfalls are capriciously scattered over this moderate to easy 7.8-mile route, perfect for those new to the sport. As you weave your way through Saga Mountain, you will cut through creeks, mud, and rocky terrain. The route includes great lookouts to Black Rock, Screaming, and Glassy Mountains and to other parts of the hilly Chattahoochee terrain.
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Fish the Conasauga
The 34,000-acre Cohutta Wilderness is the largest federally mandated roadless area in the East. Much of this wilderness area includes streams brimming with wild brown and rainbow trout. But because of the ruggedness and inaccessibility of the wilderness, the area is uncrowded. Thus the angler who is willing to put in a little extra time to brave the wilderness will be rewarded with some extra special fishing.
Horseback Ride Willis Knob Trail
Located within the Tallulah Ranger District, Willis Knob Trail is ideal for those in search of pleasant and scenic horseback riding trails. This trail meanders its way down the southern parts of the Blue Ridge Mountains, as well as parts of the Chattooga Wild and Scenic River corridor. Along the way, the Willis Knob Hone Camp provides some campgrounds, restrooms, drinking water, and cooking grills.
Drive Along the Armuchee Ridges
"Armuchee" is the Cherokee word meaning "land of flowers." Along this flower-strewn 47-mile Ridge and Valley Scenic Byway you'll find the Johns Mountain Overlook. The overlook peers from this northern Georgia point to as far as Alabama and Tennessee. From the road, you can take a nature trail to the Keown Falls Scenic Area, home to spectacular twin waterfalls.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication