Hike the Gahuti Trail

Rate this Adventure Old Fort Road

Distance

8.1 Miles

Elevation Gain

1223 Feet

Activities

Camping, Photography, Backpacking, Hiking

Skill

Intermediate

Season

Year Round

Type

Loop

Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Forest
Scenic
Waterfall

The Gahuti Backcountry Trail in Fort Mountain State Park is the longest trail in the park, with several backcountry campsites and some very scenic overlooks.

Fort Mountain rises prominently from the plateau to the West, serving as the start of the Blue Ridge Mountain range in Georgia. The Gahuti Backcountry Trail circumnavigates the mountain, with several overlooks with views in all directions.  At 8.1 miles, this hike is moderately difficult, but can be done by most in a half-day.  

The Gahuti Trailhead is at the parking lot for the Cool Springs Overlook, a splendid overlook to the mountains east of Fort Mountain.  Navigating this trail is very straightforward, as long as you follow the Orange blazes which are marked every 20-50 feet.  There are some intersections with other biking trails, but the signage is very clear and helpful.  You can start the hike taking on the east section of the loop first (clockwise), or head your way towards the overlook to begin on the western section.  I will guide you through the trail going east first because this section has the steepest parts of the trail, most of which you will be downhill.  

At 1.5 miles, you will come across the first backcountry campsite, as well as a small creek.  As with all of the backcountry campsites on this trail, staying overnight here requires a permit, which is recommended to get online ahead of your visit.  At this point, you will begin to climb up the mountain again at a fairly mild grade, until you reach the southern overlook at 3 miles.  This overlook is a great place to soak in the view and enjoy a snack before continuing along the trail.   

Just after the southern overlook, you will pass a short side trail leading to the Goldmine backcountry campsite.  Continuing west, you will cross several small creeks before getting to the main creek with a scenic waterfalls at 5.6 miles.  The creek plunges down the mountainside in a series of small cascades that is not as much impressive in its magnitude as it is charming in its aesthetic.  

The trail proceeds north, climbing back up the mountain as some cleared sections provide some views of the northern summit of Fort Mountain.  On the northern tip of the loop just after the road crossing, you can directly connect to the Stone Tower Trail and the West Overlook Trail, both of which I highly recommend!  The last leg of the trail follows the Orange blazes back up to the Cool Springs Overlook. 

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations.

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Distance

8.1 Miles

Elevation Gain

1223 Feet

Activities

Camping, Photography, Backpacking, Hiking

Skill

Intermediate

Season

Year Round

Type

Loop

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