Lake Russell Loop Trail is a 4.9 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Mt Airy, Georgia that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
Great hike! Good parking!
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.
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.
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.
Great trail with nice climbs and soft forest floor with a water crossing or two to really make it fun.
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.
I would skip the loop, park at the Nancytown Lake, pick up trail here below dam, hike to Russell Lake dam and back instead of the loop. Very little traffic on far side of lake, LOTS of deer, turtles, ducks, herons, frogs, and evena few rat snakes. The final bit before approaching Russell Lake dam was a bit high (July) but watched 2 deer drinking water just above dam, wading in water for a good 5 mins. If you cross the dam, you walk on a jeep road, then cross road and have to navigate a lot od downed trees and a lot of rubbish along lake from fishermen. I have hiked around lake multiple times and decided the Nancytown and back is far more enjoyable. You will not only walk along lake, along the various inlets, but also into the woods - was a surprising variety of environments. Easily did the 6 miles (from Nancytown Group campsite picking up Loop trail) in under 2hrs. Of you park at the Nancytown Lot, can cut off at least 3/4 of a mile from my route.
Sadly, I did encounter fair amount of of beer cans, bottles, and general trash at certain spots - be a champ and bring a trash bag to tote out what you see. I ran out of room.
Elevation is negligible.
Really good lake hike. Most are too short to worry about but at over 5 miles total length this one is worth the trip. If you are in the area and have a couple of hours to spare you should stop by. Quite flat, easy, and very nice.
Only 2 areas to consider:
1. If you follow the actual map you will dead-end at the water. Take the side road called nanceytown to the trailhead. It is a lot that sits to the right after a side road on the left. If you go in at the trailhead marker you will not complete the hike!. Instead, go down the stairs next to the dam, cross the wooden bridge at the bottom, then turn right at the top of the stone steps. This takes you along the approach spur to Ladyslipper (153). About 1/4 mile you will turn right to go along the lake and that's where you pick up the Lake Russell Loop (73). Follow it around the lake, make the call on whether or not to cross the dam at the South side of the lake, then trek back through the day use facilities and picnic tables, along the road, and back to the parking area.