Chattahoochee National Forest

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Chattahoochee National Forest History

Hiking Trails

The Appalachian Trail

Starts at Springer Mountain in Georgia's Blue Ridge range it follows the Ridge lines for 79 miles, and leaves the state at Bly Gap.

Bear Creek Biking Trai

Bear Creek Loop which is 2.6 miles of single track (take this up) and 4.2 miles of double track (a very fast downhill). The trail itself as drawn on the map is approximately 23 miles.

Bearden Falls

Bearden Falls is in Dawson County on Bearden Creek which is one of the headwaters of Nimblewill Creek

Benton MacKaye Trail

Starts at Springer Mountain, then heads north to the Cohutta Wilderness.

Disney Trail

A steep hiking trail with an excellent view of North Georgia's Ridges and Valleys. Only minutes from I-75.>

Johns Mountain Trail

A 3.5 mile loop trail that begins with a scenic overlook,ambles down to Keown Falls, and returns along the Pinhoti Trail

Pinhoti Trail

Heads southwest from the Northwest Georgia Trade and Convention Center to Alabama.

Rocktown Trail

As the name implies, this trail leads to a own made out of rock.

Chattahoochee National Forest

Often called"a hiker's paradise," the Chattahoochee National Forest includes a piece of the fabled Blue Ridge Mountains and has over 430 miles of trails that wander through mountains, wind along rolling hills, and traverse wild rivers. Hikers, fishermen, hunters, and campers regularly visit this outdoor paradise. Cities like Blue Ridge, Helen and Dahlonega gear their tourism efforts and events to attract these outdoors oriented tourists into the Georgia mountains.

Today's forest covers 18 north Georgia counties, covering almost 750,000 acres, one of the larger national forests east of the Mississippi River. Within its borders are Georgia's highest point , Brasstown Bald, the headwaters of every major North Georgia river, hundreds of waterfalls, abundant plant species , hiking trails, scenic overlooks, breathtaking beauty, Lake Chatuge , Lake Blue Ridge, hundreds of miles of trout streams, world-class whitewater rivers, camping, the base of the Appalachian Trail. and some of the best outdoor recreation in the United States. It proof that the federal government can do somethimng right , which took an overlogged wasteland and turned into Georgia's largest asset.

There are over 450 miles of trails, more than 1,600 miles of "road," and 2,200 miles of rivers and streams within the Chattahoochee National Forest. It is the southern extreme for many northern species of plant and wildlife. Much of the beauty of North Georgia is tucked away just a short walk from a major road. Some of the more popular natural attractions within its boundaries are: Anna Ruby Falls, The Appalachian Trail , Benton MacKaye trail, Chattooga river to name a few.

Broken down into 6 ranger districts for management. Rabun County has the largest physical acreage, in the northeast, while Catoosa has the least. Fannin County has the largest area designated wilderness, where no management occurs. In theory, the forest will never be harvested. This area includes the Cohutta Mountains, the oldest mountains in the world and incorporates the town of Blue Ridge.

When the Forest Service first purchased the land deer had become extinct, and bear and turkey were following suit. So one of the first moves of the Forest Service was the repopulation of the perishing wildlife. With the Forest Service's efforts, these animal now have repopulated throughout North Georgia. So the pristeen setting in which the Chattahoochee National Forest still exists, however, is again being threatened. One major threat is Atlanta's urban sprawl that is already reaching the southern end of the forest. Other threats may not be obvious to casual visitors, like the highly acidic rain that falls on the forest during the summer thanks to polluted air blowing in from the cities. Forest managers are facing a problem they themselves created: rampant road-building that occurred to allow logging company access to the forest has impacted sensitive areas. The southern pine beetle infestations are on the rise, destroying habitat for the broad spectrum of wildlife in the forest.

However daunting the tasks of forest management in the 21st century may seem, the Forest Service is moving ahead. Some land is being re-designated as roadless to protect and preserve the environment, and state, county and local governments, along with private citizens, are working to protect more land through purchases and donations.

Activities: hiking, camping, picnic, trout fishing, swiming, white water rafting, horse back riding