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Welcome to my corner of North Georgia. I document my adventures and outdoor activities in hopes of inspiring others to make the most of each day. It is my goal to make hiking accessible and non-intimidating, while promoting responsible enjoyment of the environment. No trail is too short!

Bear Creek Trail 12-12-15

  • Distance- long (7 miles)
  • Terrain- easy
  • Location- Ellijay (Gilmer County)

(You'll notice my handy new rating system at the top)
We had a lot to do last Saturday morning (hooray emissions testing and vehicle registration renewals) so we decided to just go up to Ellijay since it's an easy drive. Bear Creek Trail is just a little ways outside of the town square and a scenic drive along a country road. The parking area is on a forest service road and it is about a two mile drive on gravel from the main road. We had no issues, but it looks like if it's been raining there are probably a lot of potholes.
We did the 7 mile loop from the main parking area. Supposedly there is another parking area at a higher elevation with a good view of the mountains but I could not find directions to that one. Beginning at the higher elevation adds a few miles as well. There is also a designated camping area with it's own parking lot before you reach the main parking area.

I would recommend starting at the trail directly behind the large map/sign in the parking area. There is a smaller sign off to the side of the parking area that reads "Bear Creek Loop" but if you start here, you will have a significant incline for about 2 miles at the very beginning of the trail. 

About a mile in, you arrive at the Gennett Poplar, which is the second oldest tree in GA (the oldest is in Thomasville, in case you wanted to know). There is a nice area to sit near the water, have a picnic etc behind the tree. There are lots of carvings on the tree, including a really cute paw print! At some point after this, there is a crossing with the Pinhoti trail.

The trail has mile markers, which is very convenient, and the scenery seems to change with each mile. The first few miles requires crossing several small streams, some of which require wading. Around mile two, you leave the streams and go up into a patch of small fir trees and continue into a more forested area. There are some decent mountain views but this is a very dense forest with little clearing.
Around mile 3-4 you come back along side the stream and then deviate away from the water again for a while. The last few miles catch up to the stream again and are steeply downhill. The trail ends along the water, across from the parking area, and you have to wade across to get back to your car. 

It was about 70 degrees out, so we took our shoes off, but the water was still pretty cold. Tennille played in the water a little bit and had fun but poor Nova fell in and was miserable. I don't think she forgave me the whole ride home!
I love hiking near water and enjoyed relaxing on the bank of the creek at the end of the hike. We found some very interesting rocks (didn't take any!) and I built a cairn.

I really liked the Bear Creek trail. Most of the trail was very wide and easy to maneuver, which is good because there were a lot of mountain bikers. It took us a leisurely 3 hours-ish but because much of the trail is so flat, it could probably be done much more quickly, if you're in a hurry. Not that you should be. I do not recommend hiking in a hurry. What's the point?

Rainy day...errr...week gear post

Fall in Florida