Good workout. Lot of uphill the first mile and on the way back up the mountain. Would not call this an easy trail. Lake Russell trail is easier. Definitely use the app to stay on course. There aren't many markers to direct you. P.S. Lot of acorns on the trail today. Some were the stuff of squirrel legend. As big as a squirrel head. Bring some home to your hometown squirrels so they can know the legend is REAL. :)
Parts of this trail were beautiful, but we could not find where the trail loop went back into the woods after we hit the newer gravel road. The ap showed us where it should have been, but there was too much dense overgrowth to find the path. We walked about a mile down the gravel road before realizing we'd gotten off course. (We had my phone in back pack at that time.) We turned around and wound up disappointed to go back the way we came because we could not find the other part of the leatherwood loop.
Terribly marked. As the sun started to go down, we couldn't find our way out. What was suppose to be a 3 hour hike turned into 6 hours. Very disappointed. However, just around the corner is a short, well-marked trail called Nancytown Falls Trail. It isn't listed on ALLTrails...but it's worth seeking out. It's located on a gravel road (probabaly a Forrest Service Rd), but there are only a couple spots to park. Very short hike (approx. 1.0 mi. in and out) with a beautiful waterfall about 0.5 mi. in from the trailhead.
I would skip the loop, park at the Nancytown Lake, pick up trail here below dam, hike to Russell Lake dam and back instead of the loop. Very little traffic on far side of lake, LOTS of deer, turtles, ducks, herons, frogs, and evena few rat snakes. The final bit before approaching Russell Lake dam was a bit high (July) but watched 2 deer drinking water just above dam, wading in water for a good 5 mins. If you cross the dam, you walk on a jeep road, then cross road and have to navigate a lot od downed trees and a lot of rubbish along lake from fishermen. I have hiked around lake multiple times and decided the Nancytown and back is far more enjoyable. You will not only walk along lake, along the various inlets, but also into the woods - was a surprising variety of environments. Easily did the 6 miles (from Nancytown Group campsite picking up Loop trail) in under 2hrs. Of you park at the Nancytown Lot, can cut off at least 3/4 of a mile from my route.
Sadly, I did encounter fair amount of of beer cans, bottles, and general trash at certain spots - be a champ and bring a trash bag to tote out what you see. I ran out of room.
Elevation is negligible.
The trail had an entirely new gravel road cut-in which prevented us from following the appropriate signage and therefore after almost 7 Miles we stopped and asked another forest patron to give us a ride back to our vehicle. This trail is not conducive to hiking as it is conducive to horses. There are tons of flies and graveyards and vultures and over grown sort of creepy enclaves. This trail is not well-kept and the road parts are 90% of the experience. Walking at a hiker's pace with the blaring Georgia hot sun when you have a dog and you need some water occasionally is not a good fit for this scenario. We were expecting a bustling awesome Creek experience and it was like a tiny little Garden hose in the desert. And the humidity was unbelievable: Very little shade and very little relief. Flies were buzzing around our heads; gnats flew in our eyes,and things were biting us nearly the entire hike. I uploaded several pictures. The best hiking trail around Toccoa is Panther Creek hands down. Do not go to this trailhead unless you are a master satellite GPS cartographer.