Explore the most popular birding trails in Lake Russell State Wildlife Management Area with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Scenic and mild

backpacking
2 months ago

hi I love this Trail there's actually 3 at Lake Russell. As far as possible poison oak, poison ivy, it appears we're in the National Forest; remember to learn how to use a compass possibly an orienteering one and map...so the trail marks won't bother you. GPS should never replace these. Just a few recommendations for casual hikers. best to stick to Buford dam, Roswell walkways. At one time they were considering closing the lake, this area is beautiful, and there are no power boats allowed. if you've ever camped here, it's a hidden gem (Better than Dockery Lake) and I'm glad it's here. It keeps the area less congested. I'm training for (SALT). Then the AT. Please remembet Leave no Trace, and thank you to the MGMT for keeping this location open.

Not much shade for walking, and fairly steep the whole way. Honestly more of a horse trail than anything, so really not all that great for hiking.

hiking
2 months ago

Trail seems pretty underrated to me. Nice scenery and very peaceful, very little traffic. Generally a pretty easy walk too. Trail isn’t pristine exactly, but, then agin, it’s a trail, not a highway. Makes it seem more like the genuine article. Also not very well known, which is a definite plus.

hiking
3 months ago

A nice 5.5 mile loop on the Leatherwood. The advertised 6.6 is not accurate due to trail maintenance and rerouting. Great hike for dogs during the week. Only other sighting of people was two horseback riders on the way out

horseback riding
6 months ago

We ride here quite often and enjoy it. There is minimal traffic and is very conducive for horses.

The trail is in very bad shape after the Hurricane that came through. you can see where they are trying to repair it. If you park on near the damn and try to run it after a short distance there is a bridge out.

Also, the signage is very poor. You are on the road a lot and you don't know your still on the trial.

horseback riding
8 months ago

Since Irma Hurricane there are several big trees down on Frady Branch Trail had to turn around and double back

The bridges were broken and very poorly maintained. I wouldn't go back. Was not impressed in any way. Very disappointed. A lot of vandalism to the shelters.

There is a 5 mile loop, and a 1 mile loop around the little lake with the dam. Because of the rain we just went around the lake, had a blast with the family, looking forward to going back and covering the 5 mile loop. Two really nice shelters with fireplaces around the lake I was very disappointed to see the vandalism/spray paint. Sensed the atmosphere being a little dark, still had an amazing time with my family.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

This is by no means an easy trail. There are some significant changes in elevation, some especially steep climbs in the clockwise direction, on a pretty rutted and washed out trail. Signage is a little confusing in two spots, first where the loop begins, the again where it joins the road about halfway through. Some very pretty spots but I've yet to see ladyslippers, despite having done this trail when they should be blooming.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

I agree with another reviewer, don't bother with the west side. The area on the east side, between the two dams is the nicest part, and away from the rv camping and picnic areas. Park in the lot and take the stairs down and cross the water. This part of the trail is right by the water for almost two miles. Beautiful trout lilies in spring.

hiking
Saturday, June 17, 2017

I have no idea where the other reviewers have been, but the Nancytown Falls loop trail, as shown on the trail map to the right on this page, has two small but very scenic waterfalls. The loop is not around the lake. One waterfall is at the eastern junction of Nancytown Lake Road and the trail, right by the bridge, a second much nicer one about midway through the loop. The section between the first and second falls is a good wild flower spot, with crested iris, trillium, azaleas and some incredibly pretty asarum.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Nice scenery. Poorly marked in several places. Milage is misreported and is closer to 8.5 miles. Do Nancytown Loop instead.

hiking
Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Very poorly maintained trail but some pretty scenery.

There is not a set of waterfalls, only the water running over the dam. Very poorly maintained trail.

hiking
Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Trail is very poorly maintained.

hiking
Monday, May 01, 2017

Nice quiet trail through the Russell woods. The falls were nice. Azaleas were in full bloom so that was a treat.

hiking
Monday, May 01, 2017

West side of the lake wasn't spectacular. Too close to the rec area w/ a section down the access road to the dam. The trail below the spillway to the footbridge was overgrown w/ privet, kudzu and poison oak. The east side was a pleasant, well graded and maintained trail. Stayed along the lake most of the way w/ lots of turtles and waterfowl.

hiking
Monday, March 20, 2017

Great hike! Good parking!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

The trail is an easy hike. Nice scenery and pretty well maintained. I agree with above that the trail could use some better marking, as sometimes it merges with the road and you're not sure exactly where to go. Great for the Boy Scout 5mi requirement.

walking
Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Enjoyed very much.

hiking
Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The first time I did this trail was on a bike and I started at Nancy town. This time we hiked it and started at the stairs. Once you crossed the damn the trail continues on gravel rd which makes you think you are lost. Once finally you are out the woods by the fishing pier the trail picks up back a little way down to your right (faded blue marker). At this point you have the option to continue on the rd to your car or go down the trail and use the tree stump to cross over to the other side which will take you back to where the stairs are.

hiking
Monday, February 20, 2017

I took the path by the trailhead sign to start off instead of going down the stairs and over the creek. (first time....didn't know any better)

However, this had me hitting all of the elevation in the first half of the hike, rather than the last. it veers off the lake and goes up a ridge, then you cross a forestry road (159?) and follow a gravel road for at least a mile. after that it crosses another dam and you walk back along the shoreline for the remainder of the lake.

I would almost rate this as a moderate hike( but I'm out of shape so every hike is hard)

The scenery is nice, but be sure to have a gps or trail map, because it's easy to get lost.

hiking
Thursday, February 16, 2017

Every Trail is worth at least two stars. God's creations are always a pleasure to view! However, this trail "is nothing to write home about." It's beyond poorly marked. So, if you plan to come and hike this trail I strongly recommend that you have a full battery on your GPS (if you plan to finish it). There's a split in the trail about 2.7m in and it will lead you to the last mile of the loop, almost cutting the hike in half.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Great trail with nice climbs and soft forest floor with a water crossing or two to really make it fun.

horseback riding
Thursday, November 24, 2016

Nicely maintained trails

hiking
Tuesday, November 08, 2016

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. :)

mountain biking
Sunday, November 06, 2016

The views are beautiful. Is a bit challenging trail and it does require to walk at times to cross over obstacles. The path is cover with leaves so one has to be careful specially going downhill.

Monday, September 19, 2016

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.

Load More