Hiking The Amicalola River Trail

From the canoe ramp near the gravel parking lot on Georgia 53, follow the loop trail towards the river. This is where Class IV whitewater rapids can be found. Famously known as the “Edge of the World”, this was formed by the Brevard Fault Line. Climbing into the Dawson Wildlife Management Area, the mountains and the brook provide a serene picture of wildlife and its habitat. Yet, whether some may consider the Amicalola River as a creek, it doesn’t really matter if a nature hike and adventure are what you’re looking for. Although owned by the City of Atlanta, the management of the areas resources are split among three state departments. The current agreement set is that the Georgia Forestry Commission manages the forest resources while wildlife protection and maintenance is managed by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

However, people are prohibited from visiting a certain portion of the area of approximately four acres, wherein a 10 mega-watt nuclear facility is situated and operated by Lockheed. These prohibited areas have high radiation levels and are strictly monitored by scientists for radioactive readings. So do not stray and be observant with the trail signs and route directions. Start at the parking lot road and take the path furthest from the road towards the boat ramp. From this point, canoers and kayakers begin their wild ride with the class IV white water rapids which can take half a mile towards the river end.

For hikers and trekkers, take the south side to a gravel parking area to begin the Amicalola River Trail. An alternate route to the wooden stairs near the parking lot takes you to the bridge called Georgia 53. Turn left at the end of the bridge and you’ll find a 30-foot rock wall. Pass the old covered bridge gateway, further half a mile the trail leads you to the rapids. Check for blue rectangular blazes or an arrow above a brown sign on your way to the climb. A few feet further, take a 90 degree turn where a double blaze can be seen. Be attentive not to miss this since there is a fairly visible trail nearby which is usually taken by trekkers by mistake.

Continue to follow the blazes towards a “T” and then turn right towards another climb to the highest ridge of this trail. Several species of flora can be seen along the way as you traverse and you may come across some small streams. About 1.7 miles, the trail climbs to a flat ridge which leads you to its highpoint area where picnic tables and a dedication post for Jason Funk, a boy scout who died in 1991, is located. Proceed to the path turning left at the Forest Service Road and look for another double-blazed sign. Then follow the footpath which leads to a wooden bridge which ends your trail at Highway 53.