Chattooga River Trail is a 20 mile lightly trafficked point-to-point trail located near Clayton, GA that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, birding, fishing, and whitewater kayaking and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.
Directions from Clayton: Take US Hwy. 76 east for 9 miles. The parking area is on the left before the Chatooga River bridge.
Absolutely beautiful! Go down to the campgrounds for tranquil and peaceful views!
Backpacking was a thrill!
Beautiful, fun and easy hike. Great for camping too!
Link to helpful maps available from Chattooga Native Plant Society
For a river trail, there was very little river views. (Call me idealistic, but only about 1/3 of the trail provided river views.)
Part of Meetup backpacking trip that started at Russell Bridge at Ga/SC border. 6 people. 3 dogs.
Trail well-marked. Did not see any wildlife on day one - attributed to the dogs scaring off anything. Trail is not flat. (I was nursing a cold, and didn't bring trekking poles bc I was told it was flat... not killer by any means, but on a hot day, it was noticeable.)
Numerous stream crossings, but various size 'bridges' keep you dry. Lots of campsites ranging from unimpressive, to very nice spots. We camped near Sandy Ford. Some campsites are near very shallow-slow-moving sections of Oconee. We ended up at a section where the water was really moving. (Not ideal for wading) Water was chilly but felt good. Lots of wood nearby for campfires (rings already established)
The group continued on day 2 another 8 miles. Since I was feeling crappy and we weren't exactly sure of topography of remainder of trail and wanting to hike without dogs, I opted to go back the way we came. We didn't pass a soul on the trail on way out - except some fishermen in the river and a family camping at a spot you can drive in. On the way back, I encountered 2 boy scout groups.
Saw lots of critters - deer, raccoon, woodpeckers, salamanders, dove, black snake... Enjoyed it A LOT more. Still, no need to do again. Left campsite at 9:15 am, 2 breaks to take off some layers & deal with a hot spot. Made it back to trailhead by 12;45
The report from the rest of the group was that the remainder of the trail was wicked - constant inclines and descents, non-bridged creek crossings, Even the seasoned hikers said it was rough. They also left at 9:15, took a lunch break - they got back to trailhead after 4.
LOTS of ticks and gnats and poison ivy. Some of the trail parallels horse trails - so you'll smell 'horsey' sections. Remember, most horses are freaked out by backpacks.