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Ellicott Rock Trails

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Chattooga River Trail

More than 30 miles long, this trail cuts through the center of the Ellicott Rock Wilderness. The Chattooga River Trail begins on Highway 76 in Georgia across the river from the Chattooga River Information Station . The trail ends within the Ellicott Rock Wilderness at the junction of the Ellicott Rock Trail and Slatten Bridge Trail.

This is the trail to hike if you want to see the Chattooga River. Designated a Wild and Scenic River on May 10, 1974 the river is protected for it's entire 50 miles. Administered by the U.S. Forest Service, a quarter mile boundary on both sides of the restricts access to the river thus protecting the water quality. There aren't any dams or development for the entire 50 miles of river. For more information about the Chattooga Wild and Scenic River:

Chattooga Wild and Scenic River Information>>

The Foothills Trail

South Carolina's showcase long distance trail skirts the wilderness area border to the south and is part of a wonderful loop hike that is described below. The trail follows the same path as the Chattooga River Trail turning north just before the entering the wilderness. 

For more Foothills Trail Information:

Foothills Trail dot "Org">>

Loop Hike

As every hiker knows, a loop hike is the best way to fully enjoy a wilderness area. If you would like to see most of what this area has to offer, this is the hike for you.

This hike begins and ends at the Sloan Bridge Picnic area. Un-signed, the picnic area is a quarter mile south of  the North Carolina border on Highway 107 just past the turn for Highway 281 north. The loop begins on the Slatten Bridge Trail to the right of the parking area. Follow the Slatten Bridge Trail through as it passes through rhododendron thickets and a second growth forest filled with hemlocks, pine and various hardwood trees. The galax lined trail follows a downward grade for seven miles to the junction with the Chattooga River Trail. 

At the junction of the Chattooga River Trail there is a large area that has many over-used campsites. After turning left on the river trail, side trails to the river will become obvious. Ellicott Rock and Commissioners Rock are in the river here between the shoreline and Commissioners Island. Use extreme caution if you decide to wade into the river to find both of these historic landmarks. The river can become very dangerous in this section.

The sometimes rugged trail follows the river affording great views and great camping opportunities. This section of the trail can be crowded in the Summer and is the main destination for visitors to this area. After crossing the East Fork on a log bridge, the campsite become more plentiful. After hiking another three quarters of mile a side trail to the right leads to Spoon Auger Falls. A steep path leads to a delicate cascade nestled in the rhododendron.

After passing the side trail to the falls, the Chattooga River Trail leaves the wilderness area. Turn on the well marked Foothills Trail and head north. Follow this quiet section of the trail seven miles back to the Sloan Bridge Picnic Area. This section of trail follows an uphill grade away from the river. Few visitors to the Chattooga River follow this section of trail so camping here is preferred over a riverfront site.

Other Trails

Bad Creek Trail:

3.1 miles. Beginning in North Carolina on Bull Pen Road this trail starts on an old road that turns into a path upon entering the wilderness area. This is the shortest route to view Ellicott Rock.

Ellicott Rock Trail:

7 mile round trip. Starting in Georgia this easy to follow trail also leads to the famous rock. Upon reaching the river, the wade to the rock is much more difficult than from the North/South Carolina side of the river.

East Fork Trail:

3 miles. Starting at the Walhalla Fish Hatchery, this is a short hike to the river. The trail is well maintained and has some interesting rock formations along the way. Be sure to tour the fish hatchery while you are here. 

Other points of interest nearby

Whitewater Falls

A US Forest Service administered site, this is the tallest waterfalls in the east. The quarter mile paved trail is ideal for all family members and leads to a spectacular overlook of the 411 foot Upper Whitewater Falls. More information:

Whitewater Falls Information>>

Stumphouse Tunnel Park

More information:

Stumphouse Tunnel Park>>

Chauga (Chow-gee)  River Scenic Area

Nearby A 3,275 acre natural area that is a must see. The Chauga River drops an average of 46 feet a mile making it a popular destination for paddlers with a death wish. A poorly defined and primitive fishing trail follows the west bank affording excellent views of the Chauga Narrows and Riley Moore Falls. There is primitive camping here and a small picnic area. The Chauga is a spot that is more known to local fisherman than "out of town" hikers.   

For information about camping and picnicking: 

   Cassidy Bridge Hunt Camp>>

For more information from the Forest Service about this worthwhile natural area call:  (864) 638-9568.

 

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