Explore the most popular forest trails near Clayton with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Great trail. Incline was definitely a workout!

hiking
26 days ago

loved this trail! It was a good challenge!

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.

Very hard trail but well maintained and marked.

hiking
1 month ago

Constant incline, very difficult up at top, but well worth it. Hard to find. Off warwoman rd, look for Hale cemetery sign, Rt. 7.. Not populated due to strenuous trail. Top is a tower with lots of hikers who come from other end of trail. Need hiking poles near top. If looking for challenging trail, this should be on your list.

This is a pleasant easy walk culminating in a nice waterfall. Take the low trail back to stay near the brook.

hiking
1 month ago

Great hike up to the top of Georgia's second highest peak. Less traveled than the more popular route, this trail is quite steep near the top. But the reward is that you get the trail to yourself with great views near and at the summit. Parking is on the side of Hale Ridge Road. The sign marking the trail is number 211.

A nice short hike in the woods along the river. Very easy trail to follow. The forest has recovered nicely from the fire.

Nice little walk. Comparatively speaking, not all that much to see, but a pleasant walk nonetheless.

backpacking
3 months ago

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
3 months ago

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.

Good for a short, nice walk.

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.

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

backpacking
7 months ago

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
7 months ago

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

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.

hiking
8 months ago

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!

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

hiking
9 months ago

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.

hiking
9 months ago

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.

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.

Great trail in the beginning but definitely gets difficult if you are going to the actual 3 forks but well worth the effort.

nice easy walk, only a 2 or 3 inclines, although a little overgrown and (from a beginner's perspective) a little confusing to figure out which trail led where. We saw one nice small/medium waterfall and a really small one. Downside for me, you can still hear cars going by but plus side there were white flowers everywhere.

hiking
10 months ago

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.

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.

hiking
11 months ago

this is a moderate to hard hike. absolutely beautiful views with a lot of water. I don't think it matters which direction you go it is up and down both ways. we had a great time on it though.

hiking
11 months ago

Great hike with a huge pay off with the loop around the lake. Not too many hard areas and tons of wildlife, flowers and birds.

Beautiful hike. We were there in the month of September. Glad to see a small waterfall on our way.
Moderate level of difficulty
Pets on leash
Camping sites available

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