Chickamauga

47 reviews

The Shirley Miller Wildflower Trail is a short drive from my home in North Georgia, so it’s a great local hike for me, regardless of the season.

As its name suggests, the prime time for this hike is in the spring, when the wildflowers are in full bloom. The trail is known to have one of the most diverse offerings of wildflower species in the Southeast. It’s a well-done boardwalk that weaves through the forest floor, minimal in its construction so as to not take too much away from the natural environment. It follows a stream, and there are several platforms with benches–a good spot for a picnic or a long read or chat.

However, there is so much more beyond the canopied boardwalk, when the trail turns to dirt. It leads up a narrow canyon to an impressive, moss-covered falls, which is best viewed after a heavy rain. It’s a very amphitheater-like environment, with natural stairs leading all the way up to the base of the falls, where one can access a cavernous pass-through that isn’t visible until you get right up to it.

From there, one can traverse up a trail that lines the canyon wall, hiking up the the top of the falls, and then following an old road to the North and South Pocket Loop Trails, which offer nice elevation changes as one heads up Pigeon Mountain, passing through forests and meadows, old barns and springs.

Navigational notes: The access road is gravel, but passable for any vehicle. There is handicapped parking right at the trailhead, and the boardwalk section of the trail is wheelchair accessible.

Nearby: Rock Town and Zahnd are both great for bouldering and general rock maze exploration. The nearby Pigeon Mountain Grill is your best bet for lunch.