Peter McIntosh Shares His Favorite Hike in Blackrock Mountain State Park
Mar 11, 2016 03:04PM
● By Ryan Frisch
On March 16th, Blackrock Mountain State Park opens up for the season. So I want to encourage everyone to visit, or revisit as the case may be, this wonderful natural resource. If you’ve never been to Blackrock Mountain State Park, you’re in for a real treat. This is the highest of all Georgia’s state parks, an altitude of 3,640 feet to be exact and features six overlooks, a waterfall, a beautiful lake and miles and miles of hiking trails. Some of the overlooks are handicapped accessible, offering some spectacular scenery for those less ambulatory. Life is too short to miss a good overlook so I suggest you check them all out. The short trek to Ada-Hi Falls is a nice trail as well.
Of the many hiking trails in the park, the Tennessee Rock Trail is one of my favorites. I rate the trail as moderate, with one reasonably steep ascent along the way. This is an interpretive trail, ( a 2.2 mile loop ) with numbered markers that correspond with an illustrated trail guide available for one dollar at the visitors’ center. I strongly recommend you purchase this booklet so you can learn about the ora, the fauna and the geology you’re walking through. From the trailhead at the junction with the James Edmonds Backcountry Trial, the footpath follows along the northern side of the mountain. Along this section, you can see the many, many blowdowns that have been cut through after a tornado came through in the spring of 2011. (It was a lot of hard work getting this trail reopened.) A bit further along, the trails begins turning to the left and ascending. This is the steep part of the hike but it’s not too bad and the rewards are well worth it. There’s a stone marker marking the high point of the mountain, a good place to rest and catch your breath. Now we continue on as the best is yet to come. I’m referring to the Tennessee Rock Overlook, the most spectacular viewing spot in the park; there are now several spots right around the overlook where the snapped trees have opened up new windows from which you can enjoy the layers of mountains in the distance. To the north, you’re looking across Wolffork Valley into the mountains of North Carolina. Looking in a more westerly direction, you’re looking across the Germany Valley and into the mountains of Tennessee. From this overlook it’s a quick downhill hike back to the parking area. There are picnic tables here and better ones up near the visitors’ center if you want to have a picnic. Happy Hiking!
And to herald the spring, my March poem I bring:
Let’s give our springtime a nice healthy spark,
With an energetic hike in a high mountain park.
A place with so many beautiful vistas,
Blackrock Mountain State Park is hard to resista!
by Peter McIntosh
From US 441 in Mountain City, follow the Blackrock Mountain Parkway into the park entrance. There is a $5.00 fee but I encourage everyone to purchase an annual pass, good at all of Georgia’s state parks, for $50.00. This gives the park much needed funding.
On the web: http://www.gastateparks.org/BlackRockMountain
To see more of Peter’s photos or if you have a question or comment: www.mcintoshmountains.com.