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Charlie Elliot Wildlife Center Trails
Georgia Trails

Trail Length: 3.0 miles Type of trail: Loop
County: Jasper County, GA Our rating: E
Features: stream, lake, fishing, bathrooms, 60hikes Your rating:
Usage: Light Added on: November 25, 2005
Last hiked: April 22, 2005 Updated on: February 01, 2009
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Hiking trails in Jasper County, GA

Directions to Charlie Elliot Wildlife Center Trails

One of Georgia's newest hiking areas has become one of our favorites because of the diversity of wildlife habitat encompassed with the trail. Following near the perimeter of a "safe zone" within a wildlife management area, we have seen a wide range of waterfowl and wildlife here, including an American Bald eagle.

A lake at Charlie Elliot Center
The hike begins at the Charlie Elliot Wildlife Center, at the heart of much larger wildlife management area. Named for the first head of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, the center has a small museum that takes you through Elliot's life. In addition to developing the DNR, Elliot also developed the Georgia State Park system while becoming a popular outdoor writer and political activist for the protection of our state's wildlife and natural resources.

The trailhead is to the left as you come out of the center and is visible from the cement walkway leading to the museum. From the trailhead, follow the white-blazed Pigeonhouse Lake Trail as it circles the Center then easily climbs to a series of three separate lakes. Each of the lakes normally have larger waterfowl in them looking for food. We have seen some beautiful birds in this generally open area from the bald eagle to a variety of hawks, snowy egrets, great blue herons, ibis, and of course, geese and ducks. The trail is well-marked, but at the northern end there is a shooting range nearby and this might be disconcerting to some. Don't worry, the area you are hiking in is clearly designated a "safe area" and we have never seen nor heard of any problems between hikers and hunters in the nearby wildlife management area.

As you circle the third lake the trail turns south, following the lakeshore back to an intersection at the southern end of the lake. Take a minute to walk to the right and out on the dock for additional bird-watching opportunites. Keep the kids quiet here, because even the slightest noise will flush birds-they aren't use to humans.

Return to the trail intersection and turn right on the red-blazed Clubhouse Trail that drops to an old-growth forewst over the next 0.4 miles. Some of the trees here have what seem like tree-houses. They are old hunter stands that are no longer used. At a "T" with a bridge visible on the right turn left. The trail quickly curves to the right, following a valley on the right that becomes the dammed Clubhouse Lake. As the trail enters an interpretive area there are bathrooms on the left in a pavillion. The trail turns right, climbs some stairs, passes a small home converted to an interpretive center then crosses the earthen dam that forms Clubhouse Lake. There is a dock in this area to allow folks to get a better look at the waterfowl in this area or do some fishing.

Once across the dam the trail becomes the yellow-blazed Murder Creek Trail as it zig-zags and climbs, eventually coming to another lakeshore on the right. At a river the trail turns right, passing a small waterfall in Murder Creek that has a number of great places designed by God to be excellent seats for this natural show. After a break return to the trail and begin to climb with the creek on the left.

Finally coming to the blue-blazed Granite Outcrop Trail turn left and cross a short wooden bridge over the now-narrow Murder Creek. The loops around a series of granite outcrop before returning to its starting point. Cross the bridge and continue straigh ahead. The road to Charlie Elliot is 0.4 miles on your left or you can continue straight and end up at the trailhead, although this portion of the blue trail was poorly marked our last journey out here.

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