|Trail Length: 1.0 miles||Type of trail: Loop|
|County: Hall County, GA||Our rating: E|
|Features: visitors center, stream, bathrooms||Your rating:|
|Usage: Medium||Added on: June 22, 2001|
|Last hiked: November 22, 2015||Updated on: January 02, 2016|
|About these ratings|
Hiking trails in Hall County, GA
For years we have gone past the brown Elechee Nature Center signs that stand on either side of I-985 south of Gainesville, Georgia. What a surprise! In addition to the nature center we found well-developed, well-marked hiking trails that wind through the extensive watershed of Elachee Creek.
To access the Mathis Loop follow the West Lake Trail for .15 miles to the Lake Loop/Mathis Connector off to the right. Take this path to the rain shelter, bear right and you are on the Mathis Loop. At the intersection with the Walnut Creek Trail there is another "you are here" map we found helpful because the distances on the map are somewhat out of scale. Up to this point we have been walking on a ridge above the Elachee Creek watershed. This second-growth forest is both diverse and abundant for a ridge, but the loud traffic from nearby I-85 was intrusive.
Then the trail began a staired, switched-back descent to the first crossing of Elachee Creek. As you make the descent the traffic noise abates and you enter a serene world of nature. Elachee Creek provides water for the plants and trees; near the bottom of the hill the quantity and variety of plants and trees is overwhelming. The overlook is a quick two-step climb directly across from the bridge. When we visited in mid-Spring trees blocked the view. A dual path continues to the second bridge across Elachee Creek. After the bridge the path begins the climb to the top of the ridge and returns to the parking lot.