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Big Rock Nature Trail
Georgia Trails

Trail Length: 0.8 miles Type of trail: Loop
County: Murray County, GA Our rating: Moderate
Features: waterfalls, visitors center, stream, scenic, lake, fishing, canoeing, camping, bathrooms Your rating:
Usage: Medium Added on: July 29, 2002
Last hiked: October 22, 2011 Updated on: October 25, 2011
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Hiking trails in Murray County, GA

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Directions to Big Rock Nature Trail

Cascades on the Big Rock Nature Trail
Fort Mountain State Park is truly one great hiking park, fun to get to thanks to a scenic drive from Ellijay, and an all-day adventure whether you want to hike on the backcountry Gahuti Trail or one of the shorter trails such as this, the Big Rock Nature Trail. This moderate, rock-strewn loop trail, which is moderate to difficult in the vicinity of the falls/cascades, is an excellent leg-stretch before the Top of the Mountain Trail that leads to enigmatic wall or great as a warm-down after the same trail.

The trail immediately enters the cool forest, heading for what appears to be an old roadbed. It heads straight to a intersection with the Gahuti Backcountry Trail at .2 miles, with which it shares its footpath for .4 miles. Just down the Gahuti to the left is a wooden bridge that is worth the brief walk to visit. It is the start of a series of scenic views off the trail to the left which illustrates the "Ridge and Valley" section of Northwest Georgia that begins at the bottom of Fort Mountain. During this time the trails (Big Rock and Gahuti) descend fairly quickly, occasionally broken by brief stretches of level and uphill climbs.

As the trails begin their loop back the 300-foot climb begins along the rapid cascades of Gold Mine Creek. Formed deep in watershed of Fort Mountain, this is the creek that forms Fort Mountain Lake. After it leaves the lake it begins a long 2,000 foot downhill plunge off the mountain, only a small portion of which is visible. As typical with high-mountain falls, the creek is frequently low, especially in late summer. Still, it doesn't take a lot of water for the cascades to come to life. As you climb the playful river darts and twists between the rocks, making for a very enjoyable walk. This area is moderate to difficult and requires an extended climb up rocks.

Finally, the land levels out and the creek no longer cascades. The Gahuti comes off to the left it crosses a small wooden bridge. During the last quarter-mile of the Big Rock Nature Trail the land is level and on quiet days it is possible to see some larger wildlife in this area where the path remains by the creek. Our advice for this area:walk softly.

As the creek moves further away you enter an open field with bird feeders and a developed viewing area off to the left. The return to the starting point is through an open field, regaining the road on the west side of the dam that creates Fort Mountain Lake. Cross the road and use the path to return to he parking lot, which is is a short distance to the right.

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Big Rock Nature Trail
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Georgia Hikes
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Fort Mountain State Park
enigmatic wall

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