Toccoa River Trail is a 9.1 mile out and back trail located near Suches, Georgia and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is best used from June until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail.
My daughter, dog and I recently completed hiked in and around the Toccoa River Trail along the greater Benton MacKaye Trail one warm Saturday in January. We began the journey to the trail by driving down an old forest service road that had been washed out many times over. The drive to the swinging bridge at the river itself was challenging, even in my Jeep. Once we arrived, we embarked toward the river and made our way to the swinging bridge.
The bridge here is remarkable. There aren't many like it in the area, so to see if up close and in person after reading about it for so long was a real treat. The bridge was constructed in 1977 by the USDA Forest Service along with the Georgia Appalachian Trail Club. My daughter was hesitant to cross, but eventually she worked up the courage to walk across without any worry. My dog, on the other hand, was not a fan of the bridge and required a bit of coaxing to make it over the river.
Once we crossed the river, we made our way up the nearby mountain by way of the Benton MacKaye Trail for a quick out and back. The incline here was very steep for the first mile or so, and the three of us stopped occasionally to catch our breath and rest our legs. Once we it to the top of the first mountain, the hike became much easier as the elevation gains seemed to level off to a friendly march along the ridge line.
The views of the valley below were incredible. Thanks to the fallen leaves and bare winter trees, we were able to see quite far away through the woods. We walked along the ridge until we reached Bryson Gap, where we ate our snacks and prepared for the walk back to the car.
One the way back, we ran into a BMT thru-hiker who told us about his recent hike of the AT and asked about the conditions ahead. The walk out was a bit tricky as the constant downhill in the last portion was made more difficult by all of the slippery leaves covering the trail.
When we arrived back to the river, I pulled out a dehydrated meal and stove, much to the delight of my daughter, and we ate Chili Mac by the riverside before heading home.
The trail here was very well maintained with only a few recent obstructions on the trail. In total, we hiked about 10 miles and spent a little more than four hours in the woods. I highly recommend this trail, but I don't think I would have been as impressed if the trees were covered in leaves as the views made the experience stand out in my mind.
The trail was easily marked with white Diamonds. Conditions were great and the hike was that challenging at all. Definitely recommend hitting the trail early at first light or even before, so that you can get to the Swinging Bridge before anyone else does. That way you can enjoy the bridge and surrounding area. We took the access back out and passed a bunch of cars coming in.
the directions take you to the swinging bridge. with all of the recent drought, there are a lot of false trails. the trail markers are kind of faded around the bridge. my dog and I ended up at Appalachian Trail and Benton MacKaye Trail Junction. that would have been fine, but the spring along the way was dried up.
I've since looked over the map and directions and still can't decipher the brown squiggly line that's supposed to be the route.
guess I'll try again with extra supplies in case I go off course again.
the area itself is beautiful and the swinging bridge is interesting. my dog hated the bridge though. the way I went was steep, so be prepared for that. I logged 148 floors climbed and descended.
My husband and I (and our dog) parked by the swinging bridge and hiked up to Bryson's Gap and back. All together just shy of 8 miles that is pretty straight uphill for the first 2. Took us just shy of four hours and we didnt run into a single other person until we returned to the swinging bridge. Great hike and will definately do it again - especially once the leaves are down so we can take in what look to be some pretty amazing views.
We entered the trail from Route 60. There is a parking lot on the West side of the road. The access road was closed to all traffic so we took the trail that was clearly marked to the left of the access road. As another reviewer states, there is an initial climb at least 45 minutes. Most of the path is wide but some parts are narrow and weedy. When you get to the end of the three miles (it took us about 2 hours traveling with a small dog), you can hear the river. You descend steeply to get to the Taccoa Swinging Bridge. We took the access road on the way back. You can clearly see where the trail from the bridge splits. Take the left fork for the access road. We reached the car in about 1 hour 15 minutes (so we saved 45 minutes than hiking back the trail). Take snacks. There is a large cleared out area by the river you can sit and rest and enjoy the scenery.
The gravel road was bad but the Benton mackeye trail was worth it.
This was a trail that started off really steep for the first 45 minutes or so. As you climbed the mountian, through the trees, you could see great views of the country side. After about three hours, you reach the Toccoa River and the amazing pedestrian bridge. If you do not want to take the trail back, there is a gravel road that doesn't change in elevation much. Highly recommended.
Nice trail with some decent elevation gain at the beginning (from HWY 60) to the ridge, and then a nice decent to the river. The swinging bridge is well worth the trip. Great camping areas as well as nice spots for a lunch along the stream.
Although there is also a forest service road that leads to a much shorter hike to the bridge, we preferred the hike.