The Cohutta Mountains in North Georgia are considered as some of the oldest mountains in the world. They are part of the Cohutta Wilderness, which is part of the Chattahoochee National Forest. With nearly 100 miles of occasionally traveled trails that drop from high ridgetops to valleys full of rushing mountain water... the Cohutta Wilderness has some of the most interesting hiking opportunities in Georgia. This hike occurred on Saturday, April 26, 2014. My plan was to park at the East Cowpen Trailhead (Three Forks on USFS 64) and follow the East Cowpen Trail to the Panther Creek Trail. From there, I would take the Panther Creek Trail down into the Conasauga River Valley, and follow the Conasauga River Trail south to the Betty Gap trailhead on USFS 64. I would finish of the hike by hiking the portion of USFS 64 between Betty Gap and Three Forks back to the starting point.
The Highlands of Virginia have a unique environment, and some of the best hiking in the Southeast. Apart from a few places in North Carolina's Pisgah National Forest, I don't know of any other places like the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area in Virginia. While Mount Rogers itself is not the most interesting mountain, the Grayson Highlands, Wilburn Ridge, and Pine Mountain - all that sits off the flank of Mount Rogers - provide incredible long-range views. This hike occurred on Saturday, April 19, 2014. My plan was to take the Appalachian Trail northbound from The Scales to The Pine Mountain Trail. From there, I planned hiking the Pine Mountain Trail to a point on the Appalachian Trail south of the original starting point, and follow the AT northbound to The Scales. I got to a late start in the late afternoon, due to the distance of the trail from my house, but I still thought I would finish it off shortly after dark. Not so fast, my friend.
There's a few places in the Atlanta Metro area that are ideal for hikers like me. Most people would go for a walk in their local park after a work day. However, I am not most people. Lake Lanier, Sweetwater Creek State Park, Kennesaw Mountain, and Stone Mountain are, in my opinion, the best hiking spots in Metro Atlanta. Stone Mountain is a massive monadnock, surrounded by lakes and streams. The Stone Mountain Park has a village with different fun for children, a railroad track, two hotels, lakes with boats, and most importantly for me and you, a variety of hiking trails, ranging from 3/4 of a mile long to 5 miles long. This hike occurred on Wednesday, April 16, 2014. My plan was to park at the Stone Mountain Walk-Up Trailhead, follow the Stone Mountain Walk-Up Trail to the Cherokee Trail, and from there, hike the Cherokee Loop Trail counter-clockwise back to the starting point.
The Cumberland Trail is a state trail of Tennessee. It runs around 300 miles from its southern terminus at Signal Mountain, TN, to its northern terminus at Cumberland Gap, TN. It is not fully completed yet, but a lot of sections are open. It passes over the Cumberland Plateau of Tennessee, and is a very beautiful trail. I hope to hike many sections of it in the future. One of the most beautiful sections of it was the Tennessee River Gorge, my destination for this hike. This hike occurred on Saturday, April 5th, 2014. My plan was to hike the Cumberland Trail from its southern terminus at Signal Point Overlook to Edwards Point Overlook, and then return the same way.
Jones Gap State Park/Mountain Bridge Wilderness: Tom Miller Trail and Jones Gap Trail to Jones Gap Falls and Coldspring Branch Trail, Pumpkintown, South Carolina
While I do most of my far away hiking in North Carolina, there are a few places in South Carolina that stand apart from the rest, and are equally beautiful to North Carolina. The Mountain Bridge Wilderness area in Upstate South Carolina has around 50 miles of rugged and remote hiking trails. They pass by rivers and streams, waterfalls and cascades, and even some fantastic views. The Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area consists of two state parks: Caesars Head State Park and Jones Gap State Park. I am not entirely sure, but I think that the two are separated by US 276. This hike occurred on Saturday, March 29th, 2014. My plan was to start at the Raven Cliff Falls Access parking lot on US 276, take the Tom Miller Trail into Jones Gap, from there follow the Jones Gap Trail to Jones Gap Falls, and then backtrack to the Coldspring Branch Trail, taking it up the mountain back to the parking lot.
Mark Oleg Ozboyd
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