Chattooga River Trail

MODERATE 34 reviews

Chattooga River Trail is a 19.1 mile lightly trafficked point-to-point trail located near Clayton, Georgia that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
19.1 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
3,100 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Point to Point

dog friendly

backpacking

birding

camping

fishing

hiking

paddle sports

trail running

walking

forest

river

views

waterfall

Directions from Clayton: Take US Hwy. 76 east for 9 miles. The trailhead parking is on the South Carolina side of the river AFTER the bridge if you're coming from Clayton.

backpacking
2 months ago

First things - we started from the end (Hwy 28) and hiked south, and we did not hike the entire trail. We only hiked to Earl's Ford (it was my daughters first backpacking trip and we wanted to keep it light.

I guess I was just hoping for more highlights. We though a lunch at Earls Ford would be nice - play in the water and then work our way back... Earls Ford is beautiful and would be a perfect picnic spot, except for the car campers and ORV folks. Lots of trash and trucks.

The trail isn't used much by hikers - we saw 1 hiker over the past 2 days. The campsites are large, but nothing too exceptional, and they seem to be spaced out ever 3 miles or so. There were a few sections with lots of horse traffic (although marked as hikers only), and the spiders are plentiful.

We'll try the south end of the trail in a few weeks.

backpacking
2 months ago

First I need to clear up a couple facts:

-This trail is 25 miles one-way and says so right on the sign at the trailhead.
-The trailhead is on the South Carolina side of the river. It's on the left immediately AFTER the bridge from Clayton.

As for my review we loved this trail! Its far less crowded than the AT, has tons of water, great camp sites, and it's easy hiking.

The negatives:

It was spider season! And I mean lots and lots of spiders. I'm an avid outdoorsman and have spent a lot of time backpacking and I've never seen close to this many webs and spiders. I had to walk with a trekking pole up in front of me to catch the webs before my face did, because they were every 20 feet across the trail!

There was also lots of ticks, so take precautions.

There was 2 side trails within the first mile that aren't marked. Take a right on the first one to stay on the trail, and a left on the second one.

There were also a number of down trees to climb over, and at one point (at a fork about 6 miles in) there is a total blockage that you can't get around. So take the left fork about 10 feet and there's a little trail to cut back down to the main trail... I made an arrow out of sticks but who knows how long that will last.

Overall we will go back here and hike it over and over just for the beautiful water camping and the solitude. Its one of the best hikes in Georgia!

backpacking
7 months ago

Only saw 3 other backpackers. They were a few blow downs on the trail that we had to cut trails around. There’s a creek crossing about 7 miles in from the hwy 76 trailhead that was a little challenging to cross.

hiking
7 months ago

Uhhh The Chattooga Trail is alot more than 20 miles. It goes all the way up to Ellicott Rock at the Ga and NC line.

backpacking
11 months ago

This trip was completed not quite three weeks after Hurricane Irma blew through. Irma blew down a LOT of trees, many of which totally blocked the trail. Lots of bushwhacking and scrambling were necessary. As others have noted, the Chattooga River is not featured as prominently as you might think. If the blowdowns were not so prevalent, this would have been a great trip. I hiked 20.53 miles North to South from Russell Bridge on Hwy 28 down to Hwy 76.

backpacking
11 months ago

A good trail to find a campsite with the sound of water from the mountains or near the river. River campsites seem to be taken on the weekends. Love this trail will come back often

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Great trail for everyone. Great place to introduce your children to the beauty of nature. It is safe and beautiful.

hiking
Sunday, August 06, 2017

Monday, May 22, 2017

This trail is a delight! We got in at Hwy 28 and hiked down into Georgia. There are plenty of campsites along either tributaries or on the Chatooga. Some good ups and downs, but nothing too bad and the views of the river coming down from the mountains are fantastic.

hiking
Saturday, April 29, 2017

The CRT is a lot longer than 20 miles. The best section is from hwy 28 to ellicott rock and seems to have been omitted from here. Been hiking it in sections. Can be strenuous if you're not prepared but otherwise well kept.
My favorite place to hike.

backpacking
Thursday, March 16, 2017

Did a solo trip starting at the 76 bridge heading Northbound....first portion of the trip was beautiful hike through big hemlocks staying off the river most of the time. You first hit the Chattooga at 4.5 miles and follow it for a mile or so before heading back up away from it. I camped on Dicks Creek which was around the halfway mark. The second portion of the trip up to the 28 bridge the following day was quite a bit more difficult thru higher elevations. Overall a great trip and a beautiful river....looks like it should be out West....I took some off shoots to the river along the way and believe I logged around 25 miles

mountain biking
Saturday, December 31, 2016

Challenging bike, I loved it. Lots of up and down. River not far away if you want to check it out. Wasn't aware you could not bike until I completed the trail, oops! Please change this rule.

backpacking
Monday, November 07, 2016

We hiked from the trail head all the way to the first part of the trail that dips into the chattooga river and back. There are 2 small camp sites within the 1st 15 minutes of hiking from the trail head. Each are located right after you cross a small wooden bridge, the 1st one is after the first bridge, and the second site is about 400 steps after the 1st bridge, you'll cross a pair of wooden bridges and its on your left. The next camp sites are several miles further in. Great views and quite pretty. Surprisingly I didnt see much animal life, I only saw one bird during a night hike and some small fish once I reached the river, it may have been due to it being November. I estimate from the trailhead to the first point you reach the river is about 6-7 miles. Great hike if you're looking to be alone in the woods, I barely saw many folks. Also a good hike to bring a dog. .

Monday, September 19, 2016

Absolutely beautiful! Go down to the campgrounds for tranquil and peaceful views!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Backpacking was a thrill!

camping
Friday, July 25, 2014

Beautiful, fun and easy hike. Great for camping too!

hiking
Thursday, June 07, 2012

https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B3cudVH39UDgZkVORWNIWTVQZzg

Link to helpful maps available from Chattooga Native Plant Society

hiking
Monday, April 23, 2012

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.

hiking
24 days ago

hiking
1 month ago

recorded 7/14/2018

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

backpacking
7 months ago

backpacking
7 months ago

hiking
7 months ago

hiking
Saturday, August 19, 2017

Monday, August 14, 2017

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