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30th December 2012

Hiking Adventures And Pointers For The North Georgia Mountains

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posted in Travel Tips, US East Coast, Hiking, Getaways, Vacation, weekend getaway, holiday, Winter Getaway |

By: Geza Csuros

Most visitors to our area itch to hit the trails and experience hiking in the North Georgia Mountains. Without knowing the region, they mostly rely on information from the Chamber of Commerce, cabin rental companies and the limited signs available. Most of the trails found by any of the above methods will not provide for much of a destination and are certain to be crowded, especially on popular weekends and holidays. Think of it - if the tens of thousands of tourists all get the same information, guess where they will be hiking. In spite of some good information out there, many of our visitors still get lost and are unable to find their trails. Case in point is some of the reviews of some of these destinations, citing being lost and not well-marked trails.

The area is, of course, riddled with hiking trails and picturesque destinations, but knowing these will require some research and some willingness and openness for adventure. In spite of some of the negative feedback by visitors, most trails are well marked (perhaps not in a Disney-ish sense) and can be found easily on maps and on the internet. The following tips will aid you in making your experience unique, exciting and certainly fun for your entire family.

The very first recommendation I would propose is to get a good map that shows local trails - these are available online or for a more complete experience, in most shops throughout the area. Purchasing a map will not only aid you in your quest, but will also provide a great educational platform both for adults and kids alike. One should also obtain all the suggested hiking information from the Chamber of Commerce, and use some of these as your starting point for your research. So, for example, pick the Swinging Bridge - one of the most popular destinations in the area. Your ‘tourist’ guide will provide directions and offer a very short - only 2/10th of a mile - hike to this amazing suspension bridge over the Toccoa River. Now locate the destination on your map and study it in detail. You will learn that this path is part of the Benton MacKaye Trail system. You will also learn that the swinging bridge is not only accessible from the direction provided in your tourist information package, but can also be reached using different routes and ways, offering a more unique, much less frequented experience.

Pull up the web site for the BMT, and read all about some of these different access points. Determine the one most interesting and best suited for your group’s fitness level. Make sure you pack enough water and that you dress appropriately for the season and embark on your adventure!

In short, do research and do not be afraid of thinking outside of the box - try the not so frequented path and build memories that will be worth remembering.

One last thought - and I must mention this as this is an issue I face each time I hike - ‘pack it is, pack it out’. Alternatively, as quoting the American Indian ten commandments: “Enjoy Life’s Journey, But Leave No Tracks.” So please do not leave candy wrappers, cigarette butts or empty water bottles. Take these back home with you to dispose of in a responsible way. You will be happier to know that you not only experienced a great hike, but also did not disturb Nature.

About the Author:

The Lilly Pad Village - North Georgia’s premier destination for family fun. Enjoy gem mining, mini golf, fishing and guided hikes in a picturesque mountain setting.

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