Fort Mountain State Park

By Johnny Malloy
  |  Gorp.com
Essentials
Travel Time: Approximately 2 hours
Directions: Drive north on I-75 to Dalton. From Dalton head east on US 76 to Chatsworth. From Chatsworth take GA 52 east for 7 miles to the park, which will be on your left.
Information: (706) 695-2621
Reservations: Suggested
Fee: $16 for a standard site, and $8 for a walk-in campsite.
Open: Year-round
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Fort Mountain State Park

Fort Mountain is the site of an unexplained mystery. A strange serpentine rock wall sits atop the mountain, bound on both ends by sheer cliffs. The wall spans 855 feet and is broken with circular pits at 30-foot intervals, giving this area the name Fort Mountain . Both the wall's builders and their intent are unknown although some speculate that they are intended for religious activity.

The wall runs east-west, and many speculate that an unknown tribe of sun-worshipping Indians built it. But Cherokee legend points to the wall being built by a group of light-skinned, "moon-eyed people" who could see in the dark. Was it built by Hernando de Soto as a defense against Indian attacks, while he searched for silver and gold? Explore the wall and decide for yourself.

Recently, Fort Mountain has grown into a mountain biker's park, offering over 32 miles of biking trails. For campers, Fort Mountain offers three primitive options. The main camping area has four sites for tent campers, and five walk-in "squirrels nest" campsites for tents only. Reservations are strongly recommended.

More primitive options abound in the backcountry, where campsites line the area's 8.2-mile hiking loop. In addition, there are other foot trails such as the Lake Trail, which encircles a 17-acre spring-fed lake. The Big Rock Nature Trail offers a cliff-edge view off Fort Mountain.


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