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James E. Edmond Trail

HARD 103 reviews

James E. Edmond Trail is a 7.4 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Clayton, Georgia that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

7.4 miles
2,050 feet

dogs on leash




mountain biking

nature trips

trail running


bird watching




wild flowers


Please note there is a $5.00 parking fee. This trail is closed Dec 18 - March 15th due to winter. Great trail that is not nearly as popular as it should be. There are two short spurs that go around the lake and to an overlook. These are not marked as clearly as they could be, so it would be worthwhile to download the map. Apart from the overlook, most of the trail is through the forest without much in the way of views, but the trail is still beautiful, with many picturesque streams and rivers. For the most part the trail was very well maintained, but some did portions require a little bit of care. There are two difficult climbs of about a mile each.

3 days ago

Pretty cool view of the valley. Lots of straight ups and straight downs so be prepared. Plenty of water sources scattered around the loop. If you have a filter bring it so you don’t have to lug water weight around the whole hike.

2 months ago

This trail is in Black Rock Mountain State Park, which is closed Dec 18-March 15. Check https://gastateparks.org/BlackRockMountain for status. No parking along road outside of park, and other access appeared to require driving on private roads. Will have to come back!

3 months ago

Great trail that is not nearly as popular as it should be. There are two short spurs that go around the lake and to an overlook. These are not marked as clearly as they could be, so it would be worthwhile to download the map or pick one up from the park office before leaving.

Apart from the overlook, most of the trail is through the forest without much in the way of views, but the trail is still beautiful, with many picturesque streams and rivers. For the most part the trail was very well maintained, but some did portions require a little bit of care. There were two difficult climbs of about a mile each.

3 months ago

My wife and I did this loop on November 3. Plenty of water sources were available along the trail. I found it to be moderate, with one or two short, strenuous sections. Decent amount of other hikers on the trial - lots at the visitor’s center and picnic area.
Spent the night at the Fern Cove backcountry site. Close to water, but the ground was all slightly sloped for a tent. Had a firepit available.

4 months ago

We did the western fork and it was definitely a challenge from the lake to Lookout Point. The lake should be a definite side Trail for you to explore you get to walk completely around the lake.

4 months ago

This trail was definitely the most challenging I have done. It was scenic and lightly traveled but much more difficult than expected—lots of challenging uphill portions. It appears that the trail is actually more like 9 miles, which for us included a short detour to the lake and then another to the overlook. Overall, I’m proud of myself for accomplishing this, but note that it might take longer than other people mentioned. Also, I live somewhere with no elevation so am not used to this type of terrain.

4 months ago

One hell of a trail. I took the east loop to the lookout and the west back to the trailhead. Both ways are difficult, but judging from the descent, the west loop is definitely a more difficult climb. Plenty of water sources on both sides if you carry a filter. The overlook had a tremendous view, pay no mind to negative reviews about the payoff. I rested my feet on the warm rock and just stared into forever. The waterfall at the end of the west loop was very refreshing for my aching feet after that steep descent. If you're trying to get/stay in shape for hiking the AT like I am, this is a good one to test your mettle on. Happy Hiking!

4 months ago

Rating it as 4 star, not so superb view from look off mountain overlook due to the tall trees which were blocking the view but this is great hike for work out. We hiked blood mountain, freeman loop and mount Yonah but I will rate this one as most difficult among them as there were random ascent and descent throughout the trail and its core dense jungle. We ( me and my wife ) took almost 4 hours to complete the loop but its worth visit.

Complete Trail is marked with orange marks to help you not get lost in the jungle. There is beautiful lake ( don’t miss that part if you wanna have a great shoot for land, water and sun) slightly deroute from the trail (0.85 mile loop).

Keep climbing, Keep Hiking !!! Cheers

4 months ago

Very nice trail. If, however, you are like me and not in the best shape the final mile and a half will kick your butt!

5 months ago

My 11 year old son and I completed this trail yesterday. We are both in good shape, and we made it fine. Beautiful views at the top, and it was marked extremely well. There were many trees down blocking some of the ways, but we managed to crawl thru or navigate around. I will do it again some day!

5 months ago

The marked trail is between 5.8 and 6.3 miles (my wife and I both used GPS and they disagreed). It is 7.4 if you add an extra loop around the lake and hike out to the lookout mountain campsite, both of which are not on the main trail.

The trail itself is very well marked and there were only a few blowdowns. It's a relatively clear hike, and took us just under 3 hours to complete. The total elevation gain was around 1900 feet which isn't bad.

I would say it was a decent workout but too short to really be considered "difficult"

I would recommend this trail for fit to moderately fit people looking for a workout and some pretty scenery. Take 2-3L of water and a snack and this is a few hours of walking. Trekking poles are recommended to save your knees on all the downhill.

The best view is from the parking lot up at the visitors center though.

6 months ago

As mentioned previous, $5 parking fee but after 10pm they lock the place down so I felt pretty safe about leaving my vehicle parked there.
Went in to get my BC permit. $18! With my Sr. discount, and tax of course, $15.41. For one night.
Reckon that money goes towards clearing the umpteen thousand blowdowns. Not!
Regardless, if someone is looking for a ballbusting, shakedown trail, this is it.
No matter which way you go, it's about 2 miles up and out. With a stout climb in the middle to the top campsites. We stayed at Lookoff CS #2. I think.
I've been section hiking the AT and this trail was comparable to any of that.
I carried about 30lbs to try out a new pack so I made this harder on myself too.
And I'm 65, albeit healthy, years old.
Plenty of water except on top. Numerous stream crossings but with bridges. One stream followed the trail for a bit. Nothing harmful to any but the most tragically hip sneakers. Which I definitely do not recommend anyway.
As stated, lots of trees down on the trail. Hey, it's the backcountry.
I give this trail 5 stars out of respect. There aren't any really serious views and you mostly hike under canopy.
But, when finished, I was beat! And today, front of my thighs and my calves are telling me I had a workout.
Do this.

7 months ago

This was a pretty fun trail overall a lot of somewhat steep ups and downs and a few tight switchbacks mixed in with a bit of mud and river handrailing. If your an experienced hiker this trail is on the high side of moderate for you but for the average hiker it could be considered hard. There is a $5.00 parking fee (don't be that guy, pay to play and pick up your crap). There is a campsite at the top (3116 ft) but all sites must be reserved but I'm my opinion its worth it due to the fact it comes with benches and a fire pit/grill. Follow the orange markers and you can't go wrong.

7 months ago

Difficult but beautiful hike. I definitely underestimated the 8 miles. You must pay $5 for parking, or risk a $175 fine.

7 months ago

Beautiful and well maintained. Loved it!

9 months ago

From our campsite and back was about 10 miles. It rained a bit after we left the Lookoff Mountain summit overlook and that brought the temp to a comfortable level. Was a very good hike.

10 months ago

Great trail. Incline was definitely a workout!

10 months ago

loved this trail! It was a good challenge!

10 months ago

Well maintained and not for the faint of heart. Overlook is a little disappointing but great view on clear day. The wind was gusting and made the trail come alive with sound.

10 months ago

Very hard trail but well maintained and marked.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Did a portion of the trail from the lake to the lookout. It was hard a lot of fallen trees to climb over and we lost the trail for a couple of times. Lookout was disappointing but we made it.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Go left at the fork for a more challenging hike, right at the fork for a, still challenging, but slightly less steep inclines. Wonderful trail, light traffic, beautiful scenery.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The "overlook" was overlooking a shipping facility. Kind of lame after walking for so long, but the trail was clean and very beautiful.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

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.

Saturday, September 02, 2017

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!

Sunday, August 06, 2017

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.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

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.

Friday, July 28, 2017

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.

Friday, June 30, 2017

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.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

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.

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