Atlanta Trails shirts: locally made & inspired by great Georgia adventures

Hike a scenic stretch of the Cohutta Wilderness on the Songbird Trail near the shores of Lake Conasauga, visiting a high-elevation mountain bog, beaver ponds, and a beautiful forest frequented by songbirds.

georgia hiking trails: 0-2 miles 1.7 miles
(round trip)
? Your mileage may vary! Accuracy of your GPS device, weather conditions, and stops along your route will affect your own recorded distance.
georgia hiking trails: easyeasy to
moderate
?Our difficulty estimate, based on distance, terrain, elevation change, & ease of wayfinding. May vary daily due to weather, trail reroutes, downed trees, etc.
georgia hiking trails: dog-friendly Dog-
friendly
?Leashed dogs are allowed on this trail. We’ve loved hiking this route with our trail-loving Labrador Retrievers! Check out more of our favorite dog-friendly trails in Georgia for a great hike with your pup.

LOCATION:Cohutta Wilderness near Ellijay, Georgia

GEAR: Osprey Stratos 24 Backpack, our hiking gear list and Canon 6D Camera

WEAR: Our ultra-soft Atlanta Trails shirts and mountain logo hats

OFFICIAL MAP: Nat Geo 777 Trails Illustrated Map

RATED: 4/5 (2 reviews)

Sunlight filters through the leafy forest canopy. The sounds of bird songs fill the air. Colorful wildflowers and tall grasses blow in the gentle mountain breezes. And everywhere, the beauty of this high-elevation mountain forest is abundant. Near the banks of Georgia’s highest-elevation lake, nestled in the remote and lush Cohutta Wilderness, the Lake Conasauga Songbird Trail rambles through a particularly scenic stretch of forest.

Songbird Trail at Lake Conasauga

Following a moderately easy lollipop loop, this adventure visits boggy beaver ponds, catches open views from a wooden observation platform, and climbs gently into a leafy forest frequented by songbirds. At just under two miles, the hike explores a wide variety of terrain, and thanks to its remote location, the trail’s wildlife spotting opportunities are plentiful. It’s also a great companion hike if you’re in the area and hiking the Grassy Mountain Tower Trail to the old steel fire tower from the shores of Lake Conasauga. And the Songbird Trail is a great, kid-friendly hike if you’re camping at the lake, or just in need of a scenic nature walk in one of our state’s most beautiful wilderness areas.

Hike a scenic stretch of the North Georgia Mountains on the Songbird Trail near the shores of Lake Conasauga, visiting a high-elevation mountain bog, beaver ponds, and a beautiful forest frequented by songbirds #hiking #camping #northgeorgia #atlanta #georgia #travel #outdoors #adventure

Lake Conasauga Songbird Trail: the hike

The adventure begins at a trailhead just off of the gravel Conasauga Lake Road, just west of the main lake entrance and lakeside campsites (view maps and driving directions). The hike follows lime green trail blazes eastbound from the trailhead, and then quickly veers due north. Vibrant green fern, fragrant hemlock trees, colorful wildflowers, and grassy clearings pepper the sides of the trail.

Songbird Trail at Lake Conasauga

At a third of a mile, the trail splits, beginning the loop portion of the hike. This route veers to the right, continuing northbound and soon reaching a wooden boardwalk and observation deck on the trail’s right side. The deck offers wide, sweeping views of the surrounding beaver ponds, created by dam-building beavers with large piles of wooden debris, mud, and stones downstream. Green grasses, bog plants, and tumbled trees create habitats for the pond’s wildlife. Large old-growth hardwoods and hemlocks ring the pond’s opposite shore.

Songbird Trail at Lake Conasauga

Departing the platform, the hike continues northbound, ducking through a canopy of rhododendron and hemlock. The hike reaches a weathered, gray pile of timber that forms the beaver dam for the upstream ponds, and then a trail intersection, turning left to hike westbound. The trail winds through several wide switchbacks, meandering through the forest as it climbs, and soon meets a third trail intersection at just under a mile. From here, the Grassy Mountain Tower Trail veers to the northwest. This route veers to the southwest, beginning a descent. The hike crosses a wooden bridge over a shallow creek, passing through dense thickets of rhododendron.

Songbird Trail at Lake Conasauga

The fores on this western half of the loop is noticeably different in comparison to this route’s eastern half. Blooming rhododendron and tall hardwoods dominate the rolling forest, and the tree-filled terrain is home to a number of species of songbirds. The trail veers southbound, crossing a second wooden bridge at just over a mile. After winding to the east, the hike passes a small wooden bench as it swings to the south at 1.25 miles.

The trail passes through a grassy clearing and then follows a wooden boardwalk over a shallow stream before reaching the end of the loop. It’s a mild climb back to the trailhead from here as this route turns right to hike southbound, doubling back on its outbound route. The hike reaches the trailhead at 1.7 miles, completing the adventure.

Nearby can’t-miss hiking adventures

Up for a challenge? The water-filled hike to Emery Creek Falls is one of our favorite hikes in the area, and visits two especially stunning waterfalls. It’s a challenging hike, for sure, splashing through twenty creek crossings along the way. Or for an easier hike with plentiful views and abundant history, follow the Wall, Tower and Overlook Trail at Fort Mountain State Park, exploring a mysterious serpentine stone wall, a tall stone fire lookout tower, and some of the best views in North Georgia from the park’s mountain summit.

Because this area is so remote, challenging, and the trails are sometimes sporadically blazed or not marked at all, always tell someone where you’re going and pack an official paper map and wayfinding essentials, such as a GPS and compass (and know how to use them if you’re lost). Always pack emergency essentials. And it’s always best to avoid trails along the rivers and creeks in the weeks following a heavy rain.


Songbird Trail Map, Directions & Details

Songbird Trail Map
Trails and routes may change – so please refer to official trail maps for the latest route.

Trail Rating

RATED: 4/5 (2 reviews)

Love the trail?

This trail is maintained thanks to the hard work of countless volunteers and donations from supporters of the Chattahoochee National Forest. Please support them by making a donation or joining a volunteer day. Let's work together to keep these fantastic trails maintained and open for use!

Updates

Did you have trouble accessing the trail, or notice some recent trail updates or storm damage? We'd love to know! Contact us here, and thanks for helping us keep this site updated!

Driving Directions



Parking

$2 per car (day use), $10 per night (campsites). Before you go, check the official Cohutta Wilderness site at fd.us.gov for road closures and updates.


GPS Coordinates

34.855967, -84.657750     //     N34 51.358 W84 39.465

Elevation Profile

Songbird Trail at Lake Conasauga: Elevation Profile
 
 
Leave No Trace: Atlanta Trails, Asheville Trails and Trailful are official Leave No Trace partners

Please Remember

Always leave no trace, tell someone where you're going, pack safety and wayfinding essentials, don't rely on a mobile phone to find your way, and follow these trail etiquette tips.

Rob Sollie
Author

Rob Sollie fell in love with the outdoors while growing up in Montana near Glacier National Park. Since he moved to Atlanta in 2001, he’s made it a mission to find great outdoor adventures in Georgia and throughout the South. Rob’s favorite trails include the Conasauga River Trail in Georgia and the Deep Gap Trail at Mount Mitchell near Asheville.