October 13, 2013

Leaf Peeping and Hiking

Fall is prime hiking season mainly due to the mild weather. I love to hike any time, but Fall has many advantages including the colorful fall foliage, cooler temperatures, and fewer insects swarming about, with the exception of pesky yellow jackets.

To help you plan some great leaf peeping on the hiking trails, here are some of my favorite trails:

No. 1 - Hickory Creek in the Cohutta Wilderness  near Crandall, Georgia. 

Locating the trailhead is tricky due to navigating 10 miles of unpaved forest services roads just off U.S. Highway 411.  I recommend purchase of this guidebook before venturing out on trails in the Cohutta Wilderness.

Hickory Creek is a moderate trail of approximately 6 miles "in and out" to Bray Field.  It is less popular than some of the other trails in the Cohuttas, but just as scenic.    

A good portion of the trail is on a former rail bed which was used to harvest timber in the early 1900's.  Even though 70 percent of the timber was harvested between 1915 and 1930, oak and pine trees have now reclaimed the forest along with a rich growth of hardwoods.  

No. 2 - Pinhoti Trail, Section 7, High Point to Mack White Gap near Summerville, Georgia.  

The High Point trailhead is easy to find off Highway 100 south of Summerville, Georgia.  The trail is best hiked as a "shuttle," meaning transportation at both trailheads.  Here is more information on the Pinhoti National Recreation Trail.

The trail is easy to follow and blazed with the official "turkey track" logo. 

The Pinhoti National Recreation Trail is 335 miles and starts at Flagg Mountain near Weogufka, Alabama and ends at the Benton MacKaye Trail in North Georgia's Cohutta Wilderness. 

At almost 3 miles into the hike, you enter a gravel forest service road on the top of Taylor's Ridge.  If you include the side trip to this communications tower at High Point, the trail is 10 miles in length and considered moderately strenuous.   

The view from High Point overlooks Lyerly.  Here is the guide to the Pinhoti Trail in Georgia.

No. 3 - Old Mill to the Reservoir at Berry College near Rome, Georgia.

Not only is the Old Mill a popular tourist destination, it serves as the trailhead to the Reservoir which is a two-hour "in and out" hike.  Fall is bow hunting season, so be sure to check here for updates on trail restrictions at Berry.  (Photograph courtesy of Joel Lieberman.) 

The Reservoir is part of Berry's water system and was a gift from Henry Ford in 1928. Here is more information on the reservoir.  (Photograph courtesy of Berry College.) 

No swimming or fishing allowed.  (Photograph courtesy of Berry College.) 

No. 4 - Cloudland Canyon, West Rim Trail near Rising Fawn, Georgia.

The West Rim Loop Trail is 5 miles and is moderate to strenuous in difficulty.  

The trail is easy to follow and blazed in yellow. 

The West Rim Loop Trail is one of the most scenic hiking trails in the nation and provides magnificient views of Cloudland Canyon.   Here is more information on Cloudland Canyon State Park. 

Cloudland Canyon is a great destination for hikers and leaf peepers. 

I hope you have the opportunity to enjoy the upcoming Fall foliage. It will surely inspire you to "Keep On Hiking." 

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