Black Rock Mountain State Park, named for its sheer cliffs of dark-colored biotite gneiss, encompasses some of the most outstanding country in Georgias Blue Ridge Mountains. Located astride the Eastern Continental Divide at an altitude of 3,640 feet, Black Rock Mountain is the highest state park in Georgia. Numerous scenic overlooks provide spectacular 80-mile vistas of the Southern Appalachians, and several hiking trails lead visitors past wildflowers, cascading streams, small waterfalls and lush forests. The summit visitor center and picnic tables are popular with travelers in northeast Georgia. Nearby are Tallulah Gorge State Park, Moccasin Creek State Park, and the town of Clayton with art galleries, restaurants and shops. Rental cottages with mountain views and a modern campground make this a great mountain getaway. Tent campers can even choose from more secluded "walk-in" sites or primitive backpacking sites. Campers with RVs should be aware that the park entrance includes a two-mile climb with a 10% grade, and the campground has a number of tight turns. Most camping rigs exceeding 25 feet are not recommended. Due to the incline and the high elevation, the park may close during periods of icy weather.

Beautiful trail. No trash and really well maintained. A lot of cool mushrooms to spot along the trail. It's not as difficult as it says. I'm not very trained and did the trail in 4 hours stopping for a snack. The last bit out is uphill and a workout. I felt great after the hike.

hiking
15 days ago

hiking
22 days ago

The reward for this hike is to complete it. Pretty challenging but not over the top. My route didn't give me any views but got some stream crossings and waterfalls. Good hike!

birding
1 month ago

Love the view from Lookoff Mountain. As others said, the uphill on the way back is brutal. But a beautiful well marked and quiet trail. Will definitely revisit.

hiking
1 month ago

This was an extremely challenging hike and I loved it. The trail was well marked. What made it difficult was that it was all up and down, with the last stretch of the loop being up!
The warm day made it more difficult. I will hike this trail again in the winter when most of the foliage is gone and the air is cool.

Keep in mind that this was only my 5th hike, although I'm in good shape. I thought it was an extremely difficult trail, but a wonderful challenge if that's what you want. Trail is extremely well-marked with wonderful views about halfway and a nice camp site in which to rest a bit and eat. Lots of ups and downs. I found the final two miles up the West Fork very hard and when it was done I felt as though I had had a pretty incredible workout. Poles were a huge help on this hike although it could certainly be done without them.

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

I've done this hike many times over the years that I've visited the Clayton area. This is a great hike for families that don't hike much. Today we had a 6yo girl scamper up the 400' ascent without assistance. At other times, we've had an aunt in her 70s hike with us. Although it's rated as moderate, it's mostly easy and the two longer ascents are not that difficult.

We spent two hours hiking together today, a group of 11. That includes a few breaks during the 2nd, longer ascent, and lots of time posing for photos at the monument stone at the peak, and at the overlook.

The trail is in good shape, a little mud, and a couple of slippery places along the way. Most of us wore shorts (July 2), we had hiking poles or sticks (not necessary), and some wore sneakers. There is a new bridge over a very small stream.

We went right at the loop fork, as the ascent is less steep that way. By the time you're at the overlook, you're about 2/3rds done!

This won't be anyone's #1 favorite trail, but it's popular because it's easy, fun, has a nice overlook, short, and gives you enough of a work-out so you can say you were hiking, not walking, in the mountains.

I've come to Clayton in the summertime for over 20 years, and I'd often wanted to hike this trail, but never did because of the time commitment and lack of hiking enthusiasts among my family. But this summer, we're vacationing for a full week in Rabun Gap, and today was forecast to be beautiful until early evening when the rain storms would move in. So, I asked my wife to drop me off at the trailhead. Today would be the day to tackle this trail!

I chose to go counterclockwise where the trail splits into the east and west forks (no signage at that spot, which is roughly a mile walking mostly downhill from the start). West Fork is to the left, East Fork to the right.

The trail says it's strenuous and it is, but it's not impossibly hard for the casual day-hiker. There are some steep descents and ascents where I was very glad to have my hiking poles, but there are many portions where the inclines are quite moderate or even flat, which gave this hiker a welcomed break.

The payoff is the view from Lookoff Mountain which overlooks Wolffork Valley to the west. It's a beautiful view of a settled valley. (I skipped the one-mile hike around the lake because I do that several times each time we're here, but if you've not hiked around the lake, by all means, do so).

There are several ways to break-up this hike into smaller pieces if you have someone in your party willing to pick you up (along the road where the trail crosses, or at the lake, for instance).

The trail is very clear to follow, overall signage is good, orange blazes need repainting but are easily spotted as-is and there are a lot of them (mostly unnecessary as it's obvious you're on the trail). Very little mud, bridges make crossing streams super easy, and the bridges are in good repair. The path is well-worn, and only a few places do you duck under overgrown foliage. Not many rocks to climb over, and not many roots to trip over. Almost all the hiking is shaded as you hike through a wooded forest.

I only saw three other hikers during the five hours I was out hiking (roughly four hours actual hiking + one hour for lunch; I move slowly, especially on the steep ascents).

I wore lightweight hiking pants and was glad I did. There is enough vegetation I brushed past that I avoided any minor scratches or bug bites/stings had I worn shorts. I had a hiking hat, too, and that saved getting scratched atop my head by low-hanging vegetation (I'm 6' 2"). I used this app to see where I was, and what elevation changes lay ahead. That makes it helpful to know how much further it is to get to a level pathway once more.

Since it's a loop, you ascend and descend the same number of feet. Irrespective of which fork you decide to take first after that first mile, you'll get a good, strenuous workout.

This is a great hike even without the loop around the lake. In June 2017 there was a lot of deadfall on the East Fork that was difficult and all of the bridges were slippery. There are two difficult long descents and two long difficult ascents. Recent storms eroded parts of the trail. Alternately you can start on the gravel road and hike to the overlook but there is no formal parking. Signage was great but blazes infrequent in some parts.