Attention: outdoor enthusiasts! Grab a backpack and hit the hills of Blue Ridge, Georgia, to get your heart pounding along the collection of trails which make the destination a true hiker’s paradise.
The Aska Trail system, with four points of entry off Aska Road and six interconnecting loops varying in distance for a total of 30 miles of trails, meets up with the Benton-MacKaye Trail at certain points. The Benton MacKaye Trail starts at the top of Springer Mountain, as does the Appalachian Trail which extends for more than 2,000 miles to Maine through many of the states on the Eastern Seaboard of the United States. The Benton-MacKaye, more remote than the Appalachian, begins a 286-mile trek along the western slopes of the Appalachian Mountains, rejoining the AT in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park and continuing through remote areas of Fannin County for approximately 54 miles, where it then enters Tennessee from Fannin’s Cohutta Wilderness.
Insider tip: If you’re not a hiker but still want to immerse yourself in Mother Nature’s finest, the Fannin Chamber of Commerce Scenic Drive #2 provides complimentary directions for a drive through the Cohuttas from Hwy 2 in Fannin County to Lake Conasauga in Gilmer County. For a copy of the driving tour, see Cohutta Driving Tour.
Via a three mile tickle-your-ears (in the words of a two-year-old) bumpy ride down US Forestry Road 816, off Aska Road, catch sweeping views of the pristine Toccoa River flowing beneath a structure known simply as the “Swinging Bridge.” The longest suspension bridge east of the Mississippi, the passage was built by the Forest Service and the Georgia Appalachian Trail Club in the mid-1970s.