Kim Southern
"SOLD" with Southern Hospitality
Kim Southern
Century 21 In The Mountains / The Southern Team
Cell: 404-435-6470
Office: 706-515-2100
Fax: 706-515-2101

Outdoor Adventure in the North Georgia Mountains

 

 Outdoor_Adventure.jpg

 

What sets the North Georgia Mountains apart is their astonishing natural beauty and vast array of opportunities to get out and enjoy the great outdoors. Whether you're a hiker, a kayaker, a fisherman, or just want to enjoy a lazy float downriver in an inner-tube, you are sure to find the perfect spot in the beautiful North Georgia Mountains . . . where nature awaits.

 

Chattahoochee National Forest

Appalachian Trail

Cohutta Wilderness

Trout Fishing

Lake Blue Ridge

Whitewater Rafting

Fishing Lake Blue Ridge

Toccoa River Canoe Trail

 

Chattahoochee National Forest

Chattahoochee_National_Forest.jpgThe Chattahoochee National Forest "Barefoot Forest Ranger" Arthur Woody made an extraordinary contribution to Fannin County and all of the north Georgia mountains when he fought to create and protect the vast resources of the Chattahoochee National Forest in the early 1900's. Woody, a Fannin County native, helped replenish the dwindling population of whitetail deer in the forest and introduced new species of non-native trout in the streams. His work was the foundation for the richness of the Georgia mountain experience today.

 

The Chattahoochee National Forest covers 749,689 acres in north Georgia, managed by six ranger districts. Over 40 percent of the land in Fannin County is national forest land (106,000 acres). 40,006 acres are located in the Cohutta Ranger District and 66,097 in the Toccoa Ranger District.

 

The forest began when the forest service purchased 31,000 acres in Fannin, Lumpkin and Union Counties from the Gennett family in 1911 for $7 per acre.

 

The Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests have 37 developed recreation areas, 500 developed campsites, 200 picnic sites, 6 swim beaches and 530 miles of trails. There are more than 500 wildlife and fish species in the forest. Almost 100 percent of cold water stream fishing on public lands occurs within the Chattahoochee national forest. 90,000 fishermen generate over $43 million in revenue for Georgia from national forest land.* The forest receives more than 10 million visitors each year.

 

Forest areas in and around the North Georgia Mountains

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Lake Blue Ridge

Lake Blue Ridge The crystal clear aquamarine waters of Lake Blue Ridge make it one of Georgia's most picturesque mountain lakes. Lake.jpgThe 3,290-acre lake and surrounding area boast over 90 national forest campsites, several boat ramps, a full-service marina and public swimming and picnic areas.

 

80 percent of the shoreline on Lake Blue Ridge is in the Chattahoochee National Forest, managed by the USDA Forest Service. Blue Ridge reservoir is 11 miles long and has 65 miles of shoreline, 25 percent of which is developed.

 

The lake was formed when Blue Ridge Dam was constructed on the Toccoa River in 1930 by the Toccoa Electric Power Company. At the time it was built, the dam was the largest earthen dam in the Southeast. The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) purchased the facility in 1939 for hydroelectric power production.

 

The Toccoa River & Lake Blue Ridge

 

Lake Blue Ridge Dam to Ocoee River

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Appalachian Trail

Appalachian_Trail.jpgThe Appalachian Trail Springer Mountain in southern Fannin County is the start of a 2,000+ mile trek to Maine's Mount Katahdin known as the Appalachian Trail.

 

As the trail follows the eastern ridge of the Appalachian Mountains it passes through 14 states, and although the slogan is "Maine to Georgia," most people hike the trail the other way, Georgia to Maine. Georgia's mild climate plays a role in this, since hikers like to start the 6 month trek in April. Another reason: the toughest part of the trail, in New Hampshire and Maine is saved for last, when hikers are in condition to handle it.

 

Georgia has nearly eighty miles of the AT running from Springer Mountain on the Fannin-Gilmer line to Bly Gap, where the trail enters North Carolina. Some excellent backpacking adventures await those who decide to hike the Georgia portion of this National Scenic Trail.

 

Area hiking trails & access points

 

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Whitewater Rafting

From March to October the Ocoee River comes alive with whitewater enthusiasts from around the world who journey to shoWhitewater___1.jpgot the world-class rapids in rafts, canoes, and kayaks. Outdoor adventure writer Kim Urquhart calls it "a paddler's paradise ...loved for its size and power, constant flow rate and continuous waves and holes".

 

The Class III and IV rapids that highlight this river begin just west of Ducktown, TN. The Ocoee Whitewater Center is a federally operated put-in that is used by both commercial companies and individuals. In 2002 nearly 300,000 people made the journey from this site to the take-out more than 5 miles further down the river.

 

Flowing out of Lake Blue Ridge as the Toccoa River, the name changes to Ocoee at the Tennessee border. In the early 1900's the East Tennessee Power Company built two dams along the river to provide power to its customers. Alongside the river they also built a flume that would divert the river's water. The flume began at Ocoee Dam # 2 and followed the course of today's whitewater run. Water would plummet 250 feet down the flume over its 5 mile course and its power was formidable, but the Ocoee River was dry.

 

One of the reasons for needing the dam was the relocation of Alcoa Aluminum to Blount County, Tennessee. The company needed tremendous amounts of power to make the alumininum. When the TVA acquired the Ocoee dams in the late 1930's, engineers admired the unusual means by which the company produced power and duplicated the effort in another dam, Ocoee # 3. In 1976 the TVA closed the flume from #2 for safety concerns. It was at this point that outdoor enthusiasts discovered the Ocoee, and by the time the Tennessee Valley Authority wanted to reopen the flume, an industry had risen. To benefit the recreational users of the Ocoee, the TVA agreed to let the water run in the old riverbed every Saturday. Today, this exciting course is know around the world thanks to 1996 Summer Olympics, which held a number of events on the river. Ocoee River Whitewater Olympic Events were held on the upper Ocoee River. They ended near the Ocoee Whitewater Center, and this section is generally not open to the public.

 

After the center is the Middle Ocoee, a five mile section of the river from the center just west of Ducktown to a remote take-out point in the Ocoee Gorge. In this five miles the river falls some 250 feet across some Class IV+ rapids. The Middle Ocoee River is significantly calmer than the Upper Ocoee, although there are some good drops. Under normal conditions there are no Class V rapids on the river, however, at times when waterflow is greater than normal, some of the Class IV rapids become Class V.

 

Here is a list of some of the rapids on the Middle Ocoee River:

 

• Grumpy

• Gonzo Shoals

• Broken Nose (Vegomatic)

• Second Helping

• Moon Shot

• Double Suck

• Double Trouble (Maypop)

• Squeeze Play

• Tablesaw (Buzzsaw)

• Diamond Splitter

• Slingshot

• Hell's Hole

 

Lake Blue Ridge Dam to Ocoee River

 

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Cohutta Wilderness Area

PH03635I.jpgFor fun in the outdoors the Cohutta Wilderness Area cannot be beat. With more than 40,000 acres in Georgia and Tennessee (where its known as Big Frog Wilderness Area), the Cohuttas comprise the largest wilderness east of the Mississippi.

 

The Cohutta Mountains are part of the oldest known mountains in the world. They run from Fannin County northeast to the Tennessee-North Carolina border, where they are known as the Smoky Mountains, and once bordered a prehistoric ocean. It is from these mountains that the Cohutta Wilderness Area gets its name. As settlers moved west they avoided these mountains because of difficult access and scant level ground for farming. Only a few hardy Scot-Irish settlers scratched out a meager existence in this section of Appalachia.

 

Around 1900, the Cohuttas became one of the last areas of Georgia to be forested. Logging continued in these areas until World War II when the federal government took over management of the land. In 1976, 36,000 acres were deemed wilderness. Since that time more wilderness area has been added.
What is a Wilderness Area?
A federal designation resulting from the Wilderness Act of 1964, Wilderness Areas are set aside from Forest Service Management and allowed to return to a natural state. Activities such as logging are prohibited
   
Within the Cohutta Mountains are peaks that rise to 4,200 feet and more than a hundred miles of hiking trails. Wit hin the Wilderness Area itself are 13 trails that total more than 87 miles of unusual remote hiking. Other than on the popular Jacks River Trail, it is possible to hike in this area for days during the Spring and Fall and not see other backpackers.
 
Two rivers (Conasauga and Jacks) flow through the Cohuttas, forming the major valleys on the east and west sides of the Wilderness Areas. In the river valleys the flora is prolific. It is not uncommon to see a wide array of plant life, thickly covering any land that gets available sunlight. As the trails climb the mountains the plants lessen, mostly because the trees block the sun.
 

The Chamber of Commerce Scenic Drives #2 and #3 are Cohutta Mountain Adventures.

 

Jacks River - According to tradition, this trail is named for a Cherokee Indian who lived in the Cohutta Mountains. By far the most popular of the trails in the Cohutta Wilderness, Jacks River crosses the entire wilderness and intersects most of the other trails. The trail begins at Dally Gap and ends almost 17 miles later in the Alacusy Valley. Jacks River Falls at 9.2 miles is a highlight.
 
 
Forest areas in and around the North Georgia Mountains
 
Area hiking trails & access points
 
 
 

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Fishing Lake Blue Ridge

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) operates this 3,290 acre reservoir on the Toccoa River in Fannin County near Blue Ridge, Georgia. Walleye, small mouth bass, white bass, and bluegill are the most sought after species. Walleye numbers have remained steady and fishing should be similar to that experienced in the last few years. Walleye fishing is the best in the Spring and Fall. Concentrate your fishing efforts at night and along rocky points and shorelines. Surface plugs fished close to shore, crankbaits, vertical jigging with spoons, and using nightcrawlers under lanterns are successful methods for catching walleye.
 
Each Spring, starting in February, white bass provide fast action. Most anglers fish in the shoal area of the Toccoa River at the head of the reservoir. Rocky points in the upper reaches of the reservoir are also popular. Doll flies or plastic grubs are popular lures for catching white bass , which can weigh up to 3 LBS. The number of white bass has increased compared to previous years. The use of a heavy anchor or a strong trolling motor is recommended to more efficiently fish the shoals. White bass are often caught by anglers fishing for walleye. 
 
Small mouth bass in Blue Ridge offer a challenge for fly and ultralight enthusiasts. Plugs and spinners are most commonly used to catch small mouth bass. Catch rates of small mouth will probably be down from previous years as the number of fish from the strong 1989 year class continue to decrease, however average size should increase slightly. Fish for small mouth in areas similar to walleye.
 
Although their numbers are down from previous years, bluegill continue to be the most plentiful species. Anglers should concentrate on fishing worms and crickets in 15 to 20 feet of water in and around fish attractors placed by the TVA. Maps showing the locations of these fish attractors are available from Blue Ridge Marina, U.S. Forest Service and the WRD-Fisheries office in Calhoun.
 
Yellow perch, channel catfish and flathead catfish provide additional fishing opportunities on Blue Ridge. Channel catfish are usually caught along the rip-rap of the dam. Flathead catfish can be caught along channel drop offs adjacent to shallow flats or coves.
 
In the winter (November-February), water level draw downs of 30 feet or more occur. During this period, ramps at the U.S. Forest Service's Morganton Point Recreation Area and the Blue Ridge Marina are the only boat access points that are usable. At extreme low water conditions, only the ramp at Blue Ridge Marina is usable.
 
For more information on lake levels and releases, please see www.tva.gov  

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Trout Fishing

 

According to Georgia Outdoor News, the Toccoa River is one of the region's rivers that hold the characteristics required for Trout_fishing.jpganglers to find big trout. Serious trout fishermen know that there is serious trout fishing in Fannin County not only in the Toccoa, but in Rock Creek, Cooper Creek and Noontootla Creek. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources publishes a comprehensive trout fishing guide to Georgia, available at the Welcome Center. Below are some suggestions for simple access to great trout fishing in Fannin County.
 
 
TOCCOA RIVER: (State Hwys. 2, 5 and 60E)
The Toccoa is stocked above Blue Ridge Dam about every other week during trout season. Most of it is on private land, but much of the section along Rt. 60, near the town of Margaret, flows through National Forest. The river below the dam is very broad in most areas, making it a good choice for fly fishermen. Trout are also stocked regularly in this section. A popular way to fish this area is to float-fish from the dam downstream approximately 15 miles to McCaysville. Use caution. Water levels can rise suddenly. Check dates and times for water releases from Blue Ridge dam at 800-238-2264
 
 
SHALLOWFORD BRIDGE/Above the Dam - Aska Road, Blue Ridge.
Old steel one-lane bridge over the Toccoa River. Fish under the bridge or along the dirt road to the right following the river on the Benton MacKaye Trail.
 
 
TAMMEN PARK/Below the Dam, Appalachian Highway - Blue Ridge.
A very popular place to fly fish for trout in the Toccoa River below the Lake Blue Ridge Dam. Call in advance for water-release information 1-800-238-2264. This park also has ball fields, playground equipment and picnic areas.
 
HORSESHOE BEND PARK/Below the Dam - River Road off of Highway 60, McCaysville.
Beautiful park with good trout fishing on the Toccoa River. From Blue Ridge take Highway 5 into McCaysville. Turn right onto Highway 60 then drive a short distance and turn right on River Road. The park has a playground, picnic pavilions and restrooms.
 
ROCK CREEK: Forest Service Rd. 69 off State Rte. 60, Between Morganton and Dahlonega. The Chattahoochee National Fish Hatchery is located on Rock Creek. This creek and other nearby streams are stocked with trout from the federal hatchery, which is open year round. Rock Creek also supports good populations of wild trout, including native brook trout in some of the high elevation tributaries. This area is highly used.
 
COOPER'S CREEK: Hwy. 60 South between Morganton and Dahlonega.
This area offers camping, hiking and trout fishing. Fishing in Cooper Creek and Mulky Creek for stocked and wild trout is popular. From Blue Ridge, take Highway 76 east to Morganton; turn right on Hwy. 60 south toward Dahlonega for 16 miles. Turn left on Forest Service Road 4 for 6 miles.
 
WILDERNESS AREAS
 
NOONTOOTLA CREEK: Forest Service Rd. 58, southeast of Blue Ridge in the Blue Ridge Wildlife Mgmt. Area.
The creek and its tributaries are managed to imitate a natural stream with an unharvested trout population, to provide a unique experience that emphasizes catching wild trout for fun, rather than harvest. If you're lucky and catch a very rare trophy trout that is 16 inches or longer, you may keep it. All smaller trout must be released immediately. Artificial lures only.
 
COHUTTA WILDERNESS AREA
JACKS & CONASAUGA RIVERS: Forest Service Roads 22, 64 and 73 off State Rte. 2 west of Blue Ridge.
Inside the Cohutta Wilderness there are 45 miles of fishing opportunities on the Jacks (March - October) and Conasauga Rivers (open year round). The Jacks is not stocked, but it contains reproducing trout populations. If you want real wilderness, this is the place. The Forest Service has a detailed map of the wilderness. It is wise to have this map if you plan a fishing or hiking trip to this wild area.

For more information on lake levels and releases, please see www.tva.gov
 
Fishing Guides

 

 

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Toccoa River Canoe Trail

j0255356.jpgThe Toccoa River Canoe Trail is perfect for beginners who are looking for a few rapids and some beautiful scenery along the way. The trail is also popular with float fishermen looking for cold-water mountain trout. The put in is located at the Blue Ridge Ranger District's Deep Hole Recreation Area, a U.S. Forest Service campground of highway GA 60 south of Blue Ridge and north of Suches, GA. Launch and parking costs $5 per vehicle. The canoe trail begins on the north bank of the river, flowing west and north toward Blue Ridge. The entire float from Deep Hole to Sandy Bottoms is 13.8 miles.

 Sections of the Toccoa River Canoe Trail include:

Deep Hole to Rock Creek Road Bridge: 1.5 miles with good fishing

Rock Creek Road Bridge to Margret: 1.0 miles

Margret to Butt Bridge: 5.8 miles with rapids, campsites and a suspension bridge

Butt Bridge to Dial Bridge: 1.5 miles

Dial Bridge to Sandy Bottoms: 4 miles

 

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