FORT MOUNTAIN STATE PARK
Fort Mountain derives its name from an ancient 855-foot-long rock wall which stands on the highest point of the mountain. The mysterious wall is thought to have been built by Indians as fortification against other more hostile Indians or for ancient ceremonies. Situated in the Chattahoochee National Forest close to the Cohutta Wilderness area, this park offers a variety of outdoor activities. Hikers, mountain bikers and horseback riders will find some of the most beautiful trails in northern Georgia. Most wind through hardwood forest and blueberry thickets, occasionally crossing streams and providing spectacular vistas. During the summer, children will enjoy the sand beach located on a clear mountain lake, as well as miniature golf and pedal boat rental.
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Fort Mountain State Park is located near Chatsworth, Dalton and Ellijay
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. 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.
301 BIKING TRAIL 14.6 mile loop. Rated difficult to strenuous.
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.
BIG ROCK TRAIL 0.5 mile loop. Rated moderate to difficult.
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. Wild- flowers abound in spring.
GAHUTI TRAIL 8.8 miles. Rated difficult to strenuous.
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.
LAKE TRAIL1.2 mile loop. Rated easy.
The Lake Trail loops around Fort Mountain?s lake and can be accessed from the campgrounds, cottage areas, picnic area and picnic shelter #5, and the Big Rock Trail parking area. Trail is most accessible traveled clockwise. In this manner, users descend the 75 lineal feet 20% grade.
COMBINATION TRAILS:These trails are made by combining trails shown on the map.
* STONE TOWER COMBO - West Overlook, CCC Stone Tower 0.9 mile loop. Rated moderate to difficult.
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.
* UPPER CABIN COMBO - Upper Cabin Access, Lake Trail, Goldmine Creek, Gahuti 1.6 mile combination loop. Rated difficult to strenuous.
The Upper Cabin Loop is hiked by using the Upper Cabin Access Trail to the Lake Trail, 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.
Wilderness View Cabins
9420 Highway 52
Located 8 miles east of Chatsworth via Ga. Hwy. 52 (take I-75 exit #333 toward Ga. Hwy. 411).