Trail map with trail descriptions for Fort Mountain State Park (SP) in Georgia. Published by Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites.
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Fort Mountain State Park Trail Map 405 301 407 301 408 407 201 407 West Overlook Big Rock Trail 401 302 #3 301 302 #4 Cool Springs Overlook & Gahuti Trailhead P P ldm Go ine 301 Creek Tr ail 410 #2 #1 GeorgiaStateParks.org/FortMountain #5 401 Office 301 Gahuti Trail 301 P PARK ENTRANCE 52 52 412 n Park Boundary Ga ho r ti Connecto 301 hut Tr ai l 1/2 mile Criminal trespass charges and search & rescue costs can be charged to parties guilty of negligence or failure to get user permits. 0 SCALE 52 Ellijay 1 mile Since trails may be closed for maintenance or inclement weather, check with the Park Office to ensure availability. Pi Permits required for all Bicycle, Equestrian and Backcountry Use Park Boundary Stone Wall Trail Fort Mtn. tone N. Sr Tr e ail Tow P #4 303 Mtn. Bike Trailhead Permit Required P Lake Trail #6-15 52 Park Boundary Park Boundary P 303 P Picnic Shelter 5 #1-5 Old Fort Picnic Area CCC S tone Towe r Trail #2 403 401 407 401 181 Fort Mountain Park Road • Chatsworth, Georgia 30705 • park: 706-422-1932 • emergency: 706-695-4592 • reservations: 1-800-864-7275 LEGEND Pinhoti Connector Trail Hiking Trails Big Rock Trail Campers Loop CCC Stone Tower Cool Springs Overlook Gahuti Trail (Backcountry) Creek Conn. 404 401 400 301 #1 #3 301 P a rk Bo ar y un d 410 Goldmine Creek Lake Trail (multi-purpose) Multi-use 201 North Stone Tower Stone Wall Upper Cabin Access West Overlook Biking Trails 301 302 303 Horse Trails 401 400 403 404 Park Boundary 52 West Overlo o k Tr ail Gahuti Trail 405 407 408 410 412 Parking “You are Here” Checkpoint Markers Park Office RV and Tent Camping Pioneer Camping Area Backcountry Campsite Mountain Biking Cottages Overlook Picnic Area Paved Roads Gravel Roads Symbols P Horse Stables Cliff Mine Road Chatsworth 52 Park Boundary i Tr ail Combination Trails Accessibility for Selected Trails Big Rock Trail 2350 2300 Mystery of Fort Mountain High atop Fort Mountain are the rocky ruins of an ancient “stone wall” with prehistoric origin steeped in legend. Generations of archaeologists and historians have unsuccessfully sought to unravel the riddle of this wall, one of several stone assemblages scattered throughout the Southeast. More than 150 years after its discovery, answers still evade us as to who built the wall, when and for what purpose. Theories abound, and one of the more realistic explanations is that the wall was built around 500 A.D. by a tribe of Native Americans for ceremonial or religious purposes. Others assert the wall was built by wandering bands of Welsh explorers during the 14th century as fortification against Indians. Welsh Prince Madoc has been credited with building several stone petroglyphs in the Southeast after supposedly sailing into Alabama. Another theory, based on Cherokee legend, is that the wall was built by the “Moon Eyes,” a race of light-skinned people who could see in the dark because of their larger or paler eyes. Or perhaps Spanish conquistadors, possibly Hernado de Soto, built the wall as a defense against Indian attacks. Since no artifacts have been found to support these theories, no one knows who built the “wall of stones” zigzagging across the southern face of the Cohutta mountain range’s most prominent peak. This part of the southern Appalachian Mountains rises above the Piedmont Plain and offers 80-mile views, making it an ideal location for ceremonial practices or defensive needs. The stone wall runs east and west for 855 feet, and its height varies from two to six feet. Archaeologists believe it was much higher before exploration and plunder by previous scientists and treasure hunters. Adding to the mystery are 30 “pits” built into the wall. Were these gun emplacements or symbolic to some ceremonial practice of earlier inhabitants? Will the secrets contained within these stones forever remain a mystery? Trail Safety & Etiquette • Tell someone your itinerary and expected return time. • Be prepared for unexpected weather changes by dressing in layers and carrying rain gear. • Take a map, water, snacks, first aid kit, flashlight and whistle. • Three short blasts on a whistle are known as a call for help. • Do not stray from trails. If you become lost, stay in one location and wait for help. This will make it easier for rescuers to find you. • Pack out all trash. • Keep pets on a leash. • Do not pick flowers or disturb wildlife. • Protect the landscape by staying on trails. Mountain Biking Safety & Etiquette • Wear a helmet. • Bikers yield to hikers and horses. • Announce your presence to others. When passing, a polite “On your left” or “On your right” is suggested. • Carry maintenance tools and replacement inner tubes. • Prevent erosion by staying on trails and not skidding. made by combining trails shown on the map 2800 2200 2750 2150 2700 2100 feet above sea level clockwise Compacted Natural Soil Surface Avg. Grade: 14%; Max: 30%/200LF Min. Width: 30 Inches Avg. X-slope: 12%; Max: 30%/20LF The Big Rock Nature Trail travels from the ridgeline near the lake down into a mountain hollow, then crosses a dividing ridge and returns up Gold Mine Creek passing several small cascades and waterfalls. Wildflowers abound in spring. Cool Springs Overlook Trail 2500 Gahuti Trail 2000 1800 feet above sea level 2650 The Stone Tower Loop is hiked by traveling uphill on the West Overlook Trail and returning on the CCC Stone Tower Trail. Year-round vistas from West Overlook. Compacted Natural Soil Surface Avg. Grade: 14%; Max: 20%/250LF Min. Width: 36 Inches Avg. X-slope: 12%; Max: 15%/45LF Stone Steps on East Part of Loop. Upper Cabin Combo: 2300 clockwise 3 8.2 Mile Loop Avg. Travel Time: 5 Hours Foot Travel Only. Compacted Natural Soil Surface Avg. Grade: 10%; Max: 25%/500LF Min. Width: 18 Inches Avg. X-slope: 12%; Max: 30%/50LF Camping by Permit Only. 2900 4 5 6 7 8 The Gahuti Trail travels around the edge of the park, passing just below the summits of both Cohutta and Fort mountains. Ever changing, the trail is both beautiful and challenging in all seasons. Hikers should always be aware of changing weather. Four backcountry campsites are available for use by permit. 2400 feet above sea level clockwise 0 1 1.6-Mile Combination Loop Avg. Travel Time: 1 1/4 Hours Foot Travel Only. Compacted Natural Soil Surface Avg. Grade: 10%; Max: 25%/150LF Min. Width: 18 Inches Avg. X-slope: 12%; Max: 25%/25LF Beware of bikes on Lake Trail. The Upper Cabin Loop is hiked by using the Upper Cabin Access Trail to the Lake Trail, Lake Trail 2850 proceeding to the Goldmine Creek Trail and returning on the Gahuti Trail to the upper cottage area. This combination of trails offers excellent vistas from the upper levels of the ridgeline and wonderful views of the lake and Goldmine Creek. The creek was named for early goldmining, with some of the old mining pits visible along the trail. Climate Data for Chatsworth, GA 2800 2750 2700 feet above sea level clockwise The Lake Trail loops around Fort Mountain’s lake and can be accessed from the campgrounds, cottage areas, Starts and ends at picnic shelter #5 picnic area and picnic shelter Compacted Natural Soil Surface #5, and the Big Rock Trail Avg. Grade: 4%; parking area. Trail is most Max: 20%/75LF accessible traveled clockwise. Min. Width: 30 Inches In this manner, users descend Avg. X-slope: 12%; the 75 lineal feet 20% grade. Max: 25%/60LF Bikers must yield to all other users. 1.2-Mile Loop Avg. Travel Time: 1 Hour Open to Biking & Foot Travel. Compacted Natural Soil Surface Avg. Grade: 10%; Max: 25%/1330LF 20% Ascending in last 3 miles Min. Width: 48 Inches Avg. X-slope: 12%; Max: 20%/50LF Hikers Yield To Bicyclists. Trail Closed to Horses. Grade 2450 2200 Month Avg. High Avg. Low Mean Avg. Precip. Record High Record Low Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec 49ºF 54ºF 63ºF 72ºF 79ºF 86ºF 89ºF 89ºF 83ºF 73ºF 62ºF 53ºF 30ºF 32ºF 40ºF 47ºF 56ºF 65ºF 69ºF 68ºF 62ºF 49ºF 40ºF 33ºF 5.86 in 4.93 in 6.34 in 4.30 in 4.28 in 4.38 in 4.76 in 3.65 in 5.00 in 3.31 in 4.79 in 4.92 in -10ºF (1985) 0ºF (1966) 7ºF (1993) 25ºF (1987) 33ºF (1971) 42ºF (1984) 52ºF (1967) 51ºF (1968) 32ºF (1967) 23ºF (1952) 12ºF (1955) -4ºF (1983) 39ºF 43ºF 51ºF 59ºF 68ºF 75ºF 79ºF 78ºF 72ºF 69ºF 51ºF 43ºF 79ºF (1949) 79ºF (1989) 87ºF (2000) 91ºF (2002) 95ºF (1962) 103ºF (1988) 103ºF (1952) 103ºF (1983) 102ºF (1954) 94ºF (1954) 86ºF (1961) 78ºF (1956) clockwise 4 14.6-Mile Loop Avg. Travel Time: 4 Hours/Bike Open to Biking & Foot Travel 2550 2500 2100 feet above sea level 0 1 2 1600 feet above sea level 0 2 Upper Cabin Access, Lake Trail, Goldmine Creek, Gahuti 2600 2400 2650 clockwise 0.9-Mile Loop Avg. Travel Time: 1 Hour Foot Travel Only. 2650 (Backcountry) 2400 2200 100% accessible by 2002 standards. 2600 301 Biking Trail 2600 West Overlook, CCC Stone Tower 2850 2250 0.5-Mile Loop Avg. Travel Time: 1 Hour Foot Travel Only. Stone Tower Combo: 2900 6 8 10 12 The East-West Bike Loop is rated by many as one of the most beautiful and challenging bike trails in the southeastern United States. Users travel from mountain ridge top to valley floor, through pine and scrub laurel thickets, upland hardwood and cove forests, by old mines, then waterfalls and rhododendrons along Hassler’s Mill Creek before returning up the mountain. All trail profiles start and end at their trail heads unless otherwise indicated. Obstacles may include uneven surfaces, exposed rock and tree roots, fallen trees and/ X-slope or limbs, steps, long steep grades, loose stones and leaf litter, softness, mud, icing, or other slick conditions when wet, poisonous plants, Width heat or cold in season, insects, snakes, and wild animals including bears. Horse Trails More than 25 miles of horse trails offer loop rides varying from 3 to 16 miles. Riders must bring their own horses and register at the stables; or can rent guided horses from the concessionaire. First-time riders must attach a photocopy proof of a negative Coggins test. Parking is at the stables access (west side of the park). Check the website or call ahead for trail closings during bad weather. The horse trails pass through varied environments, from lush forest coves to wind-swept ridge tops. Wildflowers catch the eye in early spring, green foliage is bountiful during summer, changing leaf colors welcome fall, and spectacular vistas arrive with winter. Cliffs, waterfalls, old mines (some that provide natural “air-conditioning” during summer and warm air during winter), and abandoned mining equipment add interest to the trails. Horse watering stations are at approximately two-mile intervals. The shorter loops, which begin at the stables and go past waterfalls, are the easier trails, with most at a 20% or less grade. Basic rules apply: riders must stay on marked trails; no trail riding between sunset and sunrise; no reckless or fast riding; and horses should not be left unattended or unbridled. Anyone found in violation of these rules will face criminal prosecution (OCGA 12-3-10) and be banned from use of horse trails at all state parks.