There's not many hiking trails across southern Georgia, as nearly all of the land is developed. There are several state parks such as Reed Bingham State Park that have short hiking trails showcasing the few wilder areas of southern Georgia. Reed Bingham State Park protects a several-mile section of the Little River with a small lake at the southern end. The park's hiking trails travel through uplands just east of Little River, with several sections of trail along the river. This hike occurred on Saturday, November 21st, 2015. My plan was to hike some of the Upland Loop to get onto the Little River Trail along Little River. I would return to the trailhead using Birdwalk Trail.
R/T Length of Trail: 2.4 Miles
Duration of Hike: 1:00
Type of Hike: Loop
Difficulty Rating: 2 out of 10
Pros: There is well-built boardwalk across all of the marshy areas
Points of Interest: The two observation platforms with views of the Little River on the Little River Trail
Trail Blaze Color(s): None
Best Season(s) to Hike: Year-round
Beginning Point: Main Trailhead at Reed Bingham State Park
Directions: From Adel, GA, follow GA State Route 37 for 6.5 miles. Then, turn right onto Evergreen Church Road. Continue for 0.3 miles, and then, turn left onto Reed Bingham Road. After 0.4 miles, you will cross railroad tracks and enter the park. Pay the entrance fee of $5, and continue on the road for 1.5 miles to a dead-end at a large parking area. This is the primary trailhead.
A map and some other information regarding this hike can be viewed here.
When I head out south to Florida, I always attempt to make a short stop at some natural area along the way. During summer, I stopped at the spectacular High Falls near Jackson. On this day, on the way to central Florida (for Thanksgiving week), I decided to take advantage of my yearly Georgia State Parks pass to do a short hike along the Little River in Reed Bingham State Park.
The hike starts on the Upland Loop (in the left corner of the parking area), a 0.9-mile long loop that travels through some open terrain above the Little River. The trail starts off as a wide route through open forest. At 0.1 miles, the Turkey Oak Trail turns right for a short loop. Continue straight. The trail will be descending right from the start, although it's barely noticeable. The trail stays very wide until you reach the junction with Little River Trail at 0.3 miles. Here, the Upland Loop turns right, while the Little River Trail keeps left. Turn onto the Little River Trail. A boardwalk begins. The boardwalk is wide and well-built as it passes over a dark swamp near the Little River. At 0.5 miles, a boardwalk continues straight, and a boardwalk veers right (there is no sign). Continue straight several dozen yards to an observation area at the Little River. There is a marshy bend in the river here - the view of the river into both directions is very good. This is one of the main points of interest on this hike, so don't miss the short spur trail. Return to the main boardwalk, and continue on a boardwalk through dark swamp parallel to the Little River. The boardwalk continues to a second observation area by the main trail at 0.9 miles. The river is less marshy here - you can see for a good distance both upstream and downstream.
After the second observation area, the boardwalk ends shortly and it changes to dry trail along the Little River. There are a couple of views of the river as the trail stays close to the river, but at 1.2 miles, the trail pulls away from the river and doesn't return to it. Some gentle uphill follows. At 1.5 miles, reach the end of the Little River Trail. Straight ahead, the trail changes to the Birdwalk Trail. To the left, the Yearling Trail, the park's more remote trail, heads off to the secondary trailhead at the northern end of the park. Continue straight on the Birdwalk Trail. Most of the Birdwalk Trail is boardwalk across some marshy areas around a tributary of the Little River. The boardwalk ends at 2 miles, and at 2.1 miles, reach the end of the Birdwalk Trail at the Uplands Loop. Turn left onto the Uplands Loop, and continue through dry, open forest headed toward the trailhead. At 2.3 miles, continue straight as the Turkey Oak Trail turns right to connect to the other side of the Uplands Loop. At 2.4 miles, reach the right end of the parking area and the trailhead.
Upland Loop/Turkey Oak Trail - 0.5 Miles
Upland Loop - 0.9 Miles
Little River and Birdwalk Loop plus Yearling Trail and Red Roberts Loop - 5 Miles
Gopher Tortoise Loop inside the park's Gopher Tortoise Management Area
Mark Oleg Ozboyd
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