The hiking trails at Fort Mountain State Park in Georgia hike to outstanding long range views, a mysterious, massive rock wall, a CCC rock tower, and through incredibly beautiful forest.
Length: 2-8 miles
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Highlights: The hiking trails at Fort Mountain State Park travel to outstanding long range views, a mysterious, massive rock wall, a CCC rock tower, and through incredibly beautiful forest.
The hiking trails at Fort Mountain State Park in North Georgia offer an incredible variety of length and difficulty, all with access to the park’s best features: incredible long-range vistas from the mountain’s peak, a mysterious, 800+ foot rock wall, and a 4 story tower built by the CCC in the 1930s. Trails depart from trailheads along well-marked parking areas throughout the park.
The stone wall, winding along 885 feet near the Fort Mountain summit along the hiking trails, is shrouded in mystery, thought to have been built anywhere from 500 to 1500 AD. The builders of the wall are as mysterious as its construction, and its purpose is likewise debated: originally thought to be the foundation of a larger wall, the wall is most widely accepted to have been built as a ceremonial structure similar to the mounds built elsewhere in Georgia, and is thought to have perhaps marked the movement of stars or planets across the night sky.
Regardless of its origin, the ancient wall is impressive: comprised of rocks large and small, it rises as high as 6 feet and winds as wide as 10 feet along its length. A web of hiking trails wind along its length.
Our hike at Fort Mountain followed the 8.8 mile Gahuti Trail, leading us to the summit of the mountain near dusk. After leaving the rock wall to approach the CCC tower and overlook, we were surprised by a black bear approximately 20 feet in front of us on the trail who, after sitting upright, scrambled away through the trees. After the bear had vanished, we turned to follow a different trail to the tower, only to find ourselves in a grove of trees surrounded by a herd of 8-10 deer.
The hiking trail from the CCC tower lead to the West Overlook, which is accessed by descending a series of wooden stairs and landings towards the rock bluff below. The panoramic vista opens up after descending the stairs, revealing an amazing, 200+ degree wide view of the surrounding mountains and plain. This is truly one of the most fantastic views we’ve seen in Georgia, and provides a serene and beautiful resting spot.
From the West Overlook, follow the yellow-blazed West Overlook hiking trail towards the summit parking area and continuation of the Gahuti trail towards the Cohutta Mountain summit and Gahuti trailhead.
Trailhead GPS Coordinates: 34.779667 N, 84.709333 W
Getting there: Fort Mountain State Park is located midway between Chatsworth and Ellijay on Georgia Highway 52. See the map below for driving directions.
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