Hike along the Appalachian Trail or the Benton MacKaye Trail. They have the same starting point at the southern tip of the County. The Benton MacKaye Trail passes within three miles of Blue Ridge as it heads northwest to Tennessee. The closest point on the Appalachian Trail, which heads northeast to North Carolina and on to Maine, is about a 45-minute drive from town. Experienced hikers may choose to explore the 35,000-acre Cohutta Wilderness Area, the largest protected wilderness east of the Mississippi River. The Aska Trails is a 17-mile system of hiking and mountain biking trails with views of Lake Blue Ridge and the mountains. Ocoee Adventure Center offers guided mountain bike rides and bike rentals.
Directions to Hiking Trails
Moderate: Ocoee Whitewater Center Trails. In addition to whitewater sports, the center has a one-mile hiking tail which crosses a 330 foot suspension bridge and circles the center. The trail is entirely accessible for those who are physically challenged. There are an additional 20 miles of trails for hikers and mountain bikers.
From Blue Ridge take GA 5 north to McCaysville, then turn left on Tennessee Hwy 68. In Ducktown take US64 west 6 miles to the Ocoee Whitewater Center on the left. Ducktown, TN 37326. Phone: 423-496-5197; Tollfree: 877-692-6050. Hours: 9-5. Payment types accepted: Cash, Personal check.
Most Difficult: Jacks River Falls. Located in the Cohutta Wilderness Area on the Jacks River, this beautiful waterfall is the most visited site in the Cohutta and is reached by a 3.5 mile trail thought rugged wilderness. it is highly recommended to get the USFS map of the Cohutta Wilderness and carry the 10 essentials. For the shortest hike in, approach from the northwest access point.
Start in Ellijay and drive Hwy 52 west to Chatsworth. From Chatsworth, go north on US 411 for 13 miles to Cisco. Turn right on Old Hwy. 2. Continue on this road 10 miles for FS 62 on the right. Turn right on FS 62 and go 4.4 miles to the Beech Bottom Trailhead. Hiking experience recommended.
Most Difficult: This 16.5 mile long trail in the Cohutta Wilderness has many access points. One access point is from Dally Gap. The trail here descends to Jacks River where there are a number of river crossings, depending on how far you hike. these can be dangerous at times of high, cold water so be sure you have the wilderness skills for a safe hike including knowing how to cross a wild river, or do not attempt river crossings. Better to stop at the first river crossing and turn back. It is highly recommended to get the USFS map of the Cohutta Wilderness and carry the 10 essentials.
From Blue Ridge travel 3.9 miles north on Hwy 5 to Hwy 2 and go west (left) until the road turns into a gravel Forest Service road to Watson Gap. From the four-way intersection at the Watson Gap, turn right and uphill onto FS 22, then travel 3.4 miles to the trailhead at Dally Gap. The trail heads downhill past the bulletin board. Hiking experience recommended.
Most Difficult: Hemp Top. A hike to one of the highest points in the Cohutta Wilderness.
From Blue Ridge travel north on Hwy 5 3.9 miles to Hwy 2 and go west (left) until the road turns into a gravel Forest Service road to Watson Gap. From the four-way intersection at Watson Gap turn right and uphill onto FS 22, then travel 3.4 miles to the trailhead at Dally Gap. The trail heads uphill to the right. It is highly recommended to get the USFS map of the Cohutta Wilderness, carry the 10 essentials.
Easy: Fall Branch Falls. A double waterfall with mountain laurel and rhododendron growing along the trail and creek bank. The hike to the falls is about 30 minutes round trip.
In Blue Ridge follow Aska Road south for 8 miles. Turn right on Stanley Creek Rd. (Toccoa Riverside Restaurant is on the left). The trailhead is 3 miles on the right, just past Forest Warden Garfild Stanley's home.
TIPS: Never climb on a waterfall. It is very slippery and dangerous. There is a platform in front of the falls. Always stay on marked trails.
Moderate: Aska Trails. A hiking and biking trail system 17 miles in length and open year-round.
From the start of Aska Road in Blue Ridge go 4.4 miles to the trailhead for the Deep Gap portion of the Aska Trails. Another trailhead is located .4 miles from Deep Gap on Shady Falls Road. Trails range from 1 to 5.5 miles and are open all year. Suitable for all levels of hikers but portions of the trails can be strenuous.
Easy: Swinging Bridge. A 270-foot suspension bridge crosses the Toccoa River on the Benton MacKaye Trail.
From Blue Ridge stay on Hwy 515 to Hwy 60 and turn right toward Morganton. There, turn right toward Dahlonega for 11.3 miles on Hwy 60 south, passing Skeenah Mill. Another .7 miles on the right is a hiking sign- turn right and follow this gravel road 4 miles to the parking area. A short hike down to the Toccoa River brings you to the Swinging Bridge.
Easy: Long Creek Falls. Go 13.5 miles south on Aska Road to its end. Turn right onto Newport Road, go 4.5 miles to end. Turn right on Doublehead Gap Road, go 2 miles to USFS Road 42 on the left. Go 9 miles to USFS Road 58 on the left. Turn left and go 2.7 miles to Three Forks. Long Creek Falls is a 1 mile hike west.