|Trail Length: 7.0 miles||Type of trail: In and out|
|County: Lumpkin County, GA||Our rating: Moderate|
|Features: stream, picnicking, fishing, camping, bathrooms, ATaccess||Your rating:|
|Usage: Light||Added on: January 01, 1996|
|Last hiked: September 11, 2015||Updated on: October 03, 2015|
|About these ratings|
Hiking trails in Lumpkin County, GA
The Dockery Lake Trail is a 7.0 mile round-trip hike to the Appalachian Trail at Miller Gap. Parking near the trailhead is limited and intended for day use parking only. It is not intended for long term AT parking. In addition to the Appalachian Trail Access, there is a 0.5 mile lakeside hike around Dockery Lake.
A portion of this trail is in a Wildlife Management Area. Check locally for hunting season, and dress appropriately.
Andrew John Dockery, for whom the lake is named, owned this land before it was purchased by the federal government in the 1930's. The 3-acre coldwater lake is located in a mature hardwood and pine forest at the base of Big Cedar Mountain. It is home to some great rainbow trout fishing and exceptional hunting. As a result, the 10 (according to the Forest Service) or 11 (counted) well-spaced campground sites, normally lightly used, can be full at unusual times.
Each campsite has a table and tent pad. Campers are frequently treated to sightings of deer, grouse and wild turkey and campers should protect food from bears. The campground is open from April to October. Check with the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest rangers for exact dates and times. There is a day-use picnic area with 6 tables.
A 0.6 mile Lakeshore Trail connects the camping sites with various fishing spots around the lake.
Dockery Lake Trail Narrative
Less than 0.1 miles later, large gneiss boulders welcome hikers to a comfortable sitting area, and the nearby views are scenic. When we walk this trail in late Summer, the creek is normally dry, however, after a Spring freshet this crossing is normally a rock hop. From this point the trail continues an easy descent into a level plain that features a widely diverse plant and tree community. The area maintains an unusual coolness, making this an excellent stop during a hot summer day.
As the trail turns to the left it leaves the cove and the Chestatee Wildlife Management Area as it begins the ascent to Miller Gap, part of the Blood Mountain Wilderness. This is a strenuous climb along Pigeon Roost Creek that becomes easier during the ascent, which is different than all the other AT access trails which reach moderate to strenuous levels just before the top. Small cascades on one of the creeks are visible from the path. There is an excellent scenic view of a valley rising to peaks near Miller Gap.
As you continue the climb to Miller Gap, notice the change in scenery. Climbing away from the well-watered level plain (I call it a valley) the plant life diminishes and trees become more abundant. At 2.8 miles the trail bears left and becomes nearly level as it joins an old logging road.
Miller Gap, at mile 3.5 is just over 3,000 feet, is one of the lower spots on the AT in Georgia and is on the Woody Gap to Neels Gap section of the Appalachian Trail. To the left is Big Cedar Mountain and some excellent views at Preacher's Rock. To the left is Blood Mountain and its excellent views.