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Chattooga River Trail

MODERATE 58 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

camping

fishing

hiking

walking

bird watching

running

forest

river

views

waterfall

wildlife

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.

hiking
3 months ago

If you have issues with poison ivy you may want to look to hike elsewhere. It’s everywhere.

hiking
3 months ago

Great trail. Alternately shaded and not. Fairly clear with a lot of water access. Water seems low this time of year.

hiking
4 months ago

While this trail does run along the river, you can only SEE the river at the beginning (if you start at US 76). You HEAR the river, but in the summer there is too much vegetation, and you are up too high. Lots of cool plants: Wild Bergamot was my favorite. Goldenrod about to bloom. Wild Hydrangea. Ferns. Phlox. Lots of poison Ivy so watch out. I went in from US 76 about 4.5 -5 miles and turned around. Be careful about following the right path. There's a fork about 1/4 mile in. Take the left. You have to choose a direction after the first bridge. Go right. Very sparse 4G and phone service so be careful. Let someone know where you are going.

hiking
blowdown
bugs
over grown
5 months ago

Awesome trail. Pure wilderness. Started at 28 bridge and made it down to 76 in 3 days. Not bragging either. This trail for that particular 20 miles is moderate to difficult. Some very tall climbs. The gems are hidden within and come up on you right when your about to give up hope. Bring a map. Nat-geo works well. Shows you routes to waterfalls and such. Bring plenty of food for energy but don’t weigh yourself down. That’s the catch. Swim bait for smallmouth bass. Caught 2. If you would like to test your experience then this trail is perfect. You won’t die if you bring water filtration of some variation, however, you will if you don’t.!

5 months ago

trail was not well marked at crossings. but otherwise a great hike. very quiet and peaceful.

hiking
7 months ago

Not as scenic, or water accesible as it appears on the maps. A nice flat trail through forest with some river views...

hiking
rocky
scramble
7 months ago

Downed trees beyond Bad Creek make it hard for dogs and children. my dog clamored over a tree and fell down a cliff.

hiking
10 months ago

Nice hike but the trail is really not very close to the river. Was hoping it would be a nice hike along the river. This was up in the hills above it. Still a good hike, I just had different expectations. Also every creek crossing is bridged which most probably greatly appreciate. I personally prefer my trails to be a little more wild. Water crossings and wet feet are part of the fun.

hiking
11 months ago

beautiful and peaceful.

backpacking
Tue Jul 10 2018

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
Sun Jul 08 2018

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
Sun Feb 04 2018

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
Sat Jan 27 2018

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
Wed Oct 04 2017

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
Wed Oct 04 2017

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

Wed Aug 23 2017

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

hiking
Sun Aug 06 2017

Mon 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
Sat Apr 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
Thu Mar 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
Sat Dec 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.

hiking
Fri Nov 18 2016

Great trail and although you are near the river, you don't see it that much. Be careful to really watch for other trails that shoot off of the main trail. The markings are not near as good at on the AT.

backpacking
Mon Nov 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. .

Mon Sep 19 2016

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

Tue Jul 19 2016

Backpacking was a thrill!

camping
Fri Jul 25 2014

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

hiking
Thu Jun 07 2012

https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B3cudVH39UDgZkVORWNIWTVQZzg Link to helpful maps available from Chattooga Native Plant Society

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