Chattahoochee National Forest: Tabor Falls (Waterfall on Unnamed Tributary of Middle Fork Broad River), Cornelia, Georgia
The Lake Russell Wildlife Management Area covers the southeastern extremity of Chattahoochee National Forest. This low-elevation sector of the forest is not known for pleasant hiking trails and spectacular waterfalls/overlooks to the extent that other parts of the forest are. But despite its low elevation, the Lake Russell area is home to a number of waterfalls, most of which have slipped under the radar of hikers and waterfall enthusiasts for years. One of the most spectacular waterfalls is a 50-foot sheer drop - historically referenced to as Tabor Falls - that is located well up an unnamed tributary of the Middle Fork Broad River. Even though a distinct path leads almost to the base of Tabor Falls, the waterfall is largely unknown to the outdoors community, and you're unlikely to see other people in this remote corner of Lake Russell WMA - although there may be exceptions during hunting season. This hike occurred on Saturday, August 12th, 2017. My plan was to find the easiest route from Sellers Road to a waterfall that I discovered on terrain and satellite imagery on an unnamed tributary of the Middle Fork Broad River, learning after my hike that the waterfall's historical name is Tabor Falls. I was surprised to find an unofficial trail in great condition leading almost to the base of the waterfall with only a short off-trail scramble at the end.
Chattahoochee National Forest: Sourwood Trail, Lake Russell Trail, Campground Trail to Chenocetah Mountain, and Rhododendron Trail, Cornelia, Georgia
The Lake Russell trail system is often overlooked by hikers, who are interested in the "true" mountain hiking just a short drive to the north of Cornelia. The Lake Russell Recreation Area does not sit in the actual mountains, but these foothills provide quality hiking nonetheless. Several hiking trails can be found around Lake Russell and Nancytown Lake. On this hike, you will first see a couple of waterfalls on Nancytown Creek, before hiking along the shores of Nancytown Lake and then Russell Lake. The route becomes more difficult as the hike follows a seldom-used trail to the top of Chenocetah Mountain, where an old fire tower stands. Before your return to Nancytown Lake along a different trail, make sure to stop by the two clearings on Chenocetah Mountain that provide some views of Lake Russell and the distant Blue Ridge Mountains. This hike occurred on Saturday, May 7th, 2016. My plan was to hike several of the trails in the Lake Russell trail system. First, I would hike the Sourwood Trail. Then, I would take the Nancytown Lake Trail along the eastern shore of the lake, before connecting to the Lake Russell Loop and hiking the eastern and southern sides of the loop. From there, I would walk a short section of Lake Russell Road before taking the Campground Trail to the top of Chenocetah Mountain. I would return to Nancytown Lake using the Rhododendron Trail.
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