Three Forks Camping near the Appalachian Trail

Camp the beautiful Three Forks campsites in a beautiful trout steam valley near the Appalachian Trail in Georgia.

 

Overnighting in a tent under star-filled skies is a great escape from city life and a chance to de-stress in the wild beauty of nature. And while some prefer the organized, planned layout of a campground, we prefer the serenity and privacy of open sites on National Forest land in North Georgia, far away from the generators, loud families, and playgrounds of the typical campground.

Waterfall along the campsites at Three Forks in North Georgia

And for the open woods experience without the effort or time of a backpacking trip, there are plenty of open campsites situated along gravel forest service roads in North Georgia’s Chattahoochee National Forest. The Three Forks camping sites are a short walk from some of the most awesome, best hiking opportunities in North Georgia. Three Forks is a fern and rhododendron-filled valley at the convergence of three trout streams along a Forest Road just east of Ellijay.

The rocky trout stream flowing through Three Forks provides excellent camping opportunities in Georgia's Chattahoochee National Forest
The Three Forks camping sites are sheltered by beautiful forest of Rhodedendron, hemlock, poplar, and oak – and line the loud, rushing Noontootla Creek as it rolls over the rocky river bed in a series of waterfalls.

The rushing waters of Noontootla Creek are surrounded by beautiful secluded forest, perfect for camping, at Three Forks in Georgia

The Three Forks Campsites

The Three Forks camping sites are situated around a mile from the convergence of the Benton McKaye Trail and the famed Appalachian Trail – making these camp sites an excellent base camp for day hikes along either of these popular hiking trails. Check out the hike along the Appalachian Trail to Long Creek Falls, a 2 mile out-and-back hike to a beautiful, multi-tiered waterfall along the Appalachian Trail, or the hike the Appalachian Trail southbound from Three Forks to Springer Mountain, the southernmost end of the Appalachian Trail in Georgia.  

Appalachian Trail bridge over Noontootla Creek at Three Forks in Georgia's Chattahoochee National Forest

Camping is permitted in dedicated campsites only, designated by signs.  The sites are primitive – offering no amenities other than the stone fire rings – but offer the ultimate in beauty in the surrounding Chattahoochee National Forest and the tumbling Noontootla Creek that runs beside the camp sites. And the sites are first-come, first-camp, so arrive early on weekends and holidays to grab a spot, and have a back-up plan in case all spots are taken. (Check out our other favorite car camping spots near the Appalachian Trail north of Helen and the headwaters of the Chattahoochee River.)

Stone fire pit at Three Forks - camping near excellent hiking trails in Georgia

The moss-lined, roaring creek cascades down in small waterfalls along many of the sites – providing great background noise at night for sound sleeping in the forest. The campsites here are set back from the Forest Service Road far enough for decent privacy – and are very generously spaced from other sites (some as far as a half mile from other sites).  

Noontootla Creek flows past excellent camp sites at Three Forks near the Appalachian Trail in Georgia near Springer Mountain

 

Three Forks Camping near the Appalachian Trail: Directions & Details

Parking

Free. Campsites are first-come, first-camp. Please camp only in designated, existing campsites.

Please Remember

Always leave no trace and follow these trail etiquette tips.

GPS Coordinates

34.671271,-84.191725     //     N34 40.166 W84 11.302

Driving Directions


Three Forks Camping near the Appalachian Trail Map

Trail data and photos © Summit19 Studio LLC. This map is not a substitute for official trail maps or topographic maps.
 
Eric Champlin is a writer and photographer who loves to hike, run, backpack, kayak and cycle the southeast. He’s the editor and founder of Atlanta Trails and Asheville Trails, online magazines that cover the South’s best outdoor adventures. His mission? To inspire others to get fit outdoors and explore the South’s incredible scenic beauty.