This hike is composed of two shorter trails, West Loop
and East Loop
. It is perfectly arranged so you can hike either or both trails, depending on your ability.
The West Loop
is approx. 1.75 miles, and the East Loop
is approx. 2.5 miles. It is an additional 0.4 miles to and from Archer Overlook. Both sides begin with about 800' of elevation and Archer Overlook is about 1400'.
There is about as much uphill as downhill since both trails meet at the high point. The maximum slope is 20 deg. and the minimum slope is -17 deg.
This is a perfect hike for a new hiker getting into shape or an experienced hiker with just a few hours of free time who is looking for a nearby hike. My wife is not a hiker (I begged her), and I am just coming back from foot surgery, but we still spent less than 2.5 hours on the trail. It made for a great morning.
Today I parked at the parking lot on the West Loop
. It is just a couple of miles off of I-75, so it is easily accessible. This lot has room for probably 40 cars. When the approach trail intersected the West Loop
, we went to the left (clockwise) as that side is a little longer and less steep than the return. About 1/2 mile in, we went through two rocky outcroppings called Hurricane Hollow and Fatman Squeeze.
At the top of the ridge (~0.75 miles), we took the side trail to Archer Overlook. This is a rocky area with a great view of Lake Alatoona on one side, and the town of Euharlee on the other side. It is a good place to visit, catch your breath and decide if you want to return or hike the East Loop
. We chose to hike the East Loop
also, so we set off after a short break.
On the approach trail to the East Loop
, we went by a small Indian mound, and what must have been a very old hardwood tree. We stopped for some pictures as they were both interesting sights.
When we intersected the East Loop
, we went to the right (counterclockwise) as that is the shortest, and therefore the steepest part of the East Trail
We went about one mile to the East parking lot (which has room for about 10 vehicles) so my map would be complete. Then we started back up the other side of the East Loop
. There are a couple of wooden bridges on this part of the trail, as there are several small creeks on this side.
At the top of this trail, we intersected the approach trail between East and West Trails and returned to the parking lot for the trip home.
As I said earlier, my wife is not a hiker, but this trail was not too hard for her, and I hope to be able to take her on another outing soon. It was a beautiful day for a hike, and with the leaves off the trees, there was a little more view than is usual in the summer.
Give these trails a try. You won't be disappointed.
I have seen deer and squirrels before, but not much else. It is your typical Georgia hardwood and pine forest.