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Awesome trail!

Great for walking with kids!

Misty, foggy and cold. No views, just a nice easy walk in the woods.

I love this trail! Very organic! There were several trees to crawl under & step over, but it added to the hike in my opinion. Very wet from all of the rain & little sunlight. My GPS says we did 5 miles, however, the trail map at the trailhead says it’s 4.1 miles. We took the West loop to the quary loop, then the East loop back. It’s beautiful!

This Trail is generally steep and somewhat technical. It has three loops. one is easy, one is medium and one is definitely the most challenging. The trail needs a little bit of repair work. The leaves were thick when I was there and several trees had fallen in the trail. The Trail is easy to get to by car with the trailhead being right off the road. it also offers some very nice views. I mostly hiked the intermediate trail and you can get a great workout if you try to do it fast.

8 days ago

Great hike! Very enjoyable

The trailhead is located on the left side of Red Top Mountain Road just before the bridge crossing Lake Altoona and leading into the state park or right side after crossing the bridge if you are leaving the park.

The parking lot has about a dozen spaces which face the lake. The actual trailhead is clearly marked by a sign on the left end of the parking lot. I was the only hiker all morning ( Monday).

The Yellow Trail is marked by yellow blazes throughout the trail. Almost immediately the trail begins with gradual rise and fall. If you need a warm up time I would recommend walking the parking lot a few times or even walking to the end of the fishing jetty and back.

I hiked early in the morning at sunrise and the sun coming over the lake and blanketing the side of the hill at the start of the hike was gorgeous, especially in winter with bare trees.

There is steady rise and fall throughout the yellow trail and a few early stretches bring you down to lake level with views of the water to your right. Another descent brings you down to a small creek which you will jump over and head on a sharp right following the creek. After this is the first tough climb of the hike leading to a rock outcropping. At this point the trail passes through the group of rocks and can be hard to see, look for a yellow blaze on a tree just past the rocks.

You will pass a few more groups of rock outcroppings with a gradual fall and notice homes on the left side of the trail as the hillside narrows a bit. After a brief climb the trail levels out flat for a straight stretch as the lake disappears behind you to the right.

You will come to a section of black silt fencing that looks to be controlling some erosion issues and the trail begins to descend and is a bit washed out as you go down. Watch your footing here. Noticed a few slip marks from other hikers.

The trail bottoms out at this point before a tough vertical climb. Eventually the trail steadies out and runs midway up the hillside with constant lake views to the right (in the winter) and gradual rise and fall. Then you climb up again where views of the lake and dam are on the right.

The trail comes to an intersection at this point where the first part of the Red Trail shoots straight up the mountain on the left (hard to see) or you can turn right and remain on the Yellow Trail which travels straight between a large cave-like rock formation on the left of the trail and a 10 foot hill to the right of the trail.

You will again intersect the Red Trail on the left and shortly after the Blue Trail on the right. There is a bench on the left side of the trail near these intersections.

I stayed on the Yellow Trail which went down into the valley and the trail felt the most remote and quiet at this point. Trail became rocky and footing was more challenging. You eventually come to a nice stream and follow it for a short time. I then took the blue trail to the right with a tough uphill climb back to the Yellow Trail then on to the Red Trail.

The Red Trail is tough as advertised. Practically straight up at points with little relief until the top. A short but hard climb. At the top follow the chain link fence on the left and the trail continues to the left through the woods. Hard to see so look for blazes. There are views in winter.

Going down the Red Trail back to the Yellow is not fun. I did a lot of scrambling on the balls of my feet. Steep.

Hit the Yellow Trail back at the dam intersection and go right to head back to the trailhead.

Loved this hike and it kicked my butt. I was the only hiker though I passed a volunteer coming to clean up downed trees on my way out.

Not for the faint of heart or those in poor health or physical condition. Would be a good practice hike for long distance trips and pack adjustments.

10 days ago

NOTICE ON DIRECTIONS TO TRAILHEAD: If you use the AllTrails app to provide directions, upon approaching the trailhead google maps will tell you to try and turn into a private drive on the left that is just past the parking lot for the trailhead. This is incorrect. Turn onto the paved drive to the left just before that indicated by the sign for the trail system.

Now on to the trail...

I will begin by saying that our overall experience was great. Plenty of parking, a clearly marked trail, certainly not lightly traveled but still plenty of “alone” time on the trail.

There is plenty of beautiful scenery with streams, a river, and the quarry. Ferns cover the valley floor between ridges on each side, there are fun rock outcroppings, several stream crossings on little footbridges that my wife loved. Pine also fills the air. It’s truly a hike for the senses.

With the recent rains in this part of Georgia, the initial approach trail to the west loop is quite boggy in spots. Lots of mud with shoes sinking several inches at points. Sometimes you can go off trail slightly to avoid but other times it is unavoidable. With the area being shaded and with winter temps I see it being muddy for a while. Wear appropriate shoes or expect wet feet.

We traveled left up the steep side of the west loop to begin. This is a narrow and steadily inclined trail. There are elongated switchbacks after an initial straight and slightly steep climb. Part of the way up you are treated to views of the mountains that might be blocked in the summer months. Beautiful in winter.

Once you reach the highest point, no views, you begin a steady decline back to the bottom where you eventually meet up with small spring-fed creek. As you follow the creek the trail levels out for a good distance until you meet the intersection for the east loop.

Stay straight to finish on the west loop, turn left over a small bridge to go onto the east loop and the quarry.

After a short approach to the loop, we went left at the loop. The rises and falls of the east loop are easy to moderate and definitely makes the simpler hike. The quarry is a great place to stop for photos and a snack. Beautiful scene. Looked like a small trail went along the left side of the water but we did not try it out.

We left the quarry and continued on the east loop and eventually circled back to the west loop intersection where we went left back to the approach trail and parking lot. This section brings you by a beautiful clear river before climbing up a rocky section of trail and outcroppings. Probably my favorite stretch of the trail.

It was more like 4.6 miles if you venture on the side trail to the quarry.

This trail has most of what I love in day hike:

• Good elevation changes to get the heart rate up and flats to cool down.
• Diverse botanical and geological features
• Water view’s and creek crossings (all on bridges except for one small crossing on the tail end of the east loop)
• Close proximity ridges that give sweeping views of the valley floor from one side to the other
• Well forged trails that are not overly manicured.

Definitely, recommend. Moderate is a fair rating. If you leave out the steep side of the west loop I would say it ventures to more of an easy hike.

Wear proper shoes! The footing is important especially when wet and the trail is covered in leaves. Plenty of kids and pets so no worries if that applies to you.

There are some narrow trail sections close to long and steep drops so keep kids and pets close during those stretches specifically on the west loop.

Very popular trail for folks with dogs and children. The trail bottoms near the trailhead are a bit soggy when it rains so some gravel is needed there. The initial climb on the west loop will be a bit much for new hikers but for more experienced folks, a welcomed blast of a start to this 4+mile trail. It took myself and friend about 2 hours to do both loops with
light packs so its not easy but doesn't drag you down to a 1mph pace either.

Wet today. Walk along the river for first mile or so, then through the lightly wooded area to the dam. Not great, but in town and less crowded than alternatives

trail is closed until 12/31

Still has some development needed. Does not look highly trafficked as the winter leaves are thick. Wet leaves make for slips and myself and a friend both slipped shortly after the Champion loop breaks away so we doubled back. A recent wind storm dropped many trees on the path so volunteer work is needed to clear the trail in places. Could use a little gravel in places. It will be a nice workout trail one day and there is a great view in winter.

29 days ago

There's 3 different trails:
ping pong(1.5 miles), rocks of doom(2 miles), and booger trail(4 miles) and they are all great! I have done ping pong and rocks of doom both are nice, though they can get pretty muddy when it rains I usually am on the trails with both dogs and they love it as well!

Great trails very well marked. Will be back to do again

Love this trail. The top of the West loop is a more rigorous climb and good to start the hike with. Trail is well maintained. Very few trees crossing the path and most are easy to cross. Bridges are in good shape. I will return to the trail for sure!

Easy trail. Great for a dog walk.

1 month ago

Nice trail. We took the west loop over and around the mountain, then connected to the east loop to go to the quarry. We took the east trail out. The west loop is definitely more challenging and longer. Next time we will just do the east trail and back out the same route. The quarry is a good payoff for the trip, nice spot to stop for lunch.

1 month ago

Excellent trail if you can get your dog to cross the first bridge! Also has a nice area around the old CCC quarry.

trail running
1 month ago

I usually rate trails very high, but I hated this trail. So many fast sharp turns in the beginning, similar to switchbacks, hard to run. Better than running on a treadmill, but I won't be coming back here.

Beautiful trail very enjoyable hike

Beautiful day for a hike and great local trail. Well maintained and plenty of parking.

I would say there is enough elevation and enough places you had to watch your step to make this moderate. My heart rate got up a couple of times. The description says lightly trafficked, but felt more like heavily. But I was also there on a beautiful Sunday at noon. The fall leaves made it absolutely stunning. I'm glad I was able to catch it before they fell off the trees. There has been enough rain in the past week that the creeks were flowing, very pretty, and provided clean water for my dog to drink and play in. One of my favorite trails near Atlanta so far. I completed it in about 2 hours, but I was taking my time.

1 month ago

Beautiful hike east to the Quarry and then around to the west loop. Water was crystal clear and high. We went early and saw no one until leaving the trail. We loved all the bridges. The trail was well maintained. Perfect for families!

Loved this trail. Great scenery. Walked along a creek for quite a bit and over at least half a dozen bridges. Only draw back was a guy w 4 noisy kids. Nice sized parking lot.

2 months ago

Hiked to the Quarry and back. Trail is easily identified and well maintained. We live in the area and it rained a good bit a few days prior, however the trails were in great shape. The Quarry is awesome!

We did the west loop. The rock quarry pond is on the east loop. We will see it next time.

2 months ago

nice walking trails. pretty scenery and vegetation. No big view from the top, but it is relatively secluded. you could spend an hour or several hours here.

Wonderful trail! The rock quarry is beautiful and peaceful and there are several great spots with easy access to the creek where the dogs love to play! I was a little disappointed that the top of the west loop is so grown up right now that you can’t see the summit views at the bench. The wildflowers and pretty fall colors still made it worth it :)

Very easy and scenic! Almost no inclination unless you veer off into the woods by the creek instead of keeping alongside the river. (Even then it’s still pretty easy.) There’s a few great spots for setting up a hammock as well.

Also most people let their dogs off their leash but I’ve never had a problem aside from someone losing their dog in the woods.

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