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Overview

In North Georgia's Cohutta Mountains, Fort Mountain State Park sits between the linear mesas of the Cumberland Plateau to the west and the knobbly Blue Ridge Mountains to the east. Like the Blue Ridge, the Cohuttas occupy rolling elevations laced with rivers and creeks, yet with a drier climate and less enclosed canopy, the Cohuttas have a more rugged, Western feel. While the 3,712-acre park offers many family-friendly diversions, including a lakeside beach, pedalboats, and mini-golf, the area is best known for hard-core backpacking, horseback trail trips, and mountain biking (the park offers 27 miles of rugged trails from moderate to very ...

In North Georgia's Cohutta Mountains, Fort Mountain State Park sits between the linear mesas of the Cumberland Plateau to the west and the knobbly Blue Ridge Mountains to the east. Like the Blue Ridge, the Cohuttas occupy rolling elevations laced with rivers and creeks, yet with a drier climate and less enclosed canopy, the Cohuttas have a more rugged, Western feel. While the 3,712-acre park offers many family-friendly diversions, including a lakeside beach, pedalboats, and mini-golf, the area is best known for hard-core backpacking, horseback trail trips, and mountain biking (the park offers 27 miles of rugged trails from moderate to very challenging, with steep ascents and descents). The park's claim to fame is a mysterious 855-foot stone wall possibly dating back to 500 A.D. The wall's alignment to the position of the sun at equinox leads some to speculate it was a religious center for the Woodland people (other theories suggest it was made by a nomadic Welsh prince who predated de Soto; the least romantic claim is that it's a natural weathering of hard caprock). See for yourself on a quarter-mile trail through scarlet oak and Virginia pine; beyond the wall, summit trails loop a mile or so to an observation tower and several overlook platforms. With cottages and many campsites (backpacking and horse trail sites too), Fort Mountain makes a good base for exploring the park's extensive trail system and the surrounding Chattahoochee National Forest, Cohutta Wilderness, and Lake Conasauga Recreation Area. It's a trek down the mountain to Ellijay to the east and Chatsworth to the west, so it's best to stock up.

Kap Stann
About the Expert

Kap Stann has written or contributed to many guidebooks to the American Southeast for such publishers as Moon, Avalon Travel, Lonely Planet, DK Eyewitness, and Mobil Guides.

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Summer and fall