Sitting in the beautiful landscape of Northwest Georgia, the awe-inspiring Fort Mountain State Park borders the Cohutta Wilderness, stretching over 3,712 acres of land. The park is famous for its 885-foot long mysterious rock wall. Located north of Atlanta, in between the cities of Chatsworth and Ellijay, this state park is a bucket-list-worthy destination for RV campers. For nature enthusiasts, the park boasts multiple hiking and biking trails winding through the canopy. Apart from exploring the gorgeous scenery, the park offers visitors a myriad of activities including fishing, horseback riding, boating, golfing, picnicking, and swimming. The weather is relatively humid and windy, except for winter when there could be freshly fallen snow on the ground.
Nothing beats the tranquility of this place. Once inside, there are plenty of parking lots available. If you are lucky enough you might encounter black bears. Fort Mountain has some of the most well-preserved Georgian history, making it ideal for history lovers and RV campers. At the park's highest point, you will find ruins of the ancient wall dating back to 500 AD. Interestingly, history is silent on the actual builders of the wall and its purpose, leaving it to speculation. Not far from the park’s offices, a gradual hike through the loop trail leads to the four-story Fire Tower. Built in 1930, this historic building was used as a fire lookout tower by the Civilian Conservation Corps. If you visit the tower area, you will love the breathtaking views of the vast Cohutta Wilderness and the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Fort Mountain State Park has enough activities for everyone including families, solo travelers, RV campers, and backpackers. The park’s scenic overlooks provide awesome views of the stunning works of nature. It is busiest during weekends and holidays. At an elevation of 3,800 feet, you can catch a glimpse of the perfect sunset.
Fort Mountain State Park is easy to find, located in the Chattahoochee National Forest near the Cohutta Wilderness Area, where you can find a plethora of outdoor activities. Just eight miles from Chatsworth, the steep road leading to Fort Mountain State Park is challenging to navigate, with lots of twists and curves. Exercise caution and drive slowly as you absorb the panoramic views of the vast desert. An alternative is to take the route from Ellijay, which is quite lengthy at 18 miles, but much less steep.
Some sections of the park are steep and not level, making it difficult for large trailers. Take it slow and easy as you meander along the park roads searching for your campsite and enjoying the scenery along the way. Generally, the park is easily accessible on foot with some trails accessible by cars and mountain bikes. Occasionally, Old Fort Road and trailhead parking lots may be closed during winter due to snowing.
There are seven parking lots dotted around the park, so you should be able to find ample parking for RVs and vehicles. Parking lots are located near the park entrance, around the Lake Trail, and in the northern end of the park. If you are staying overnight, you can leave your camper parked at your campsite. To get the most out of your stay here you can engage the friendly park rangers and staff for questions or advice.
Fort Mountain State Park Campground is a dog- and kid-friendly campground that is open all year round with 70 campsites for tent and RV campers. This camping area is divided into two sections: Campground 1 and Campground 2. Both offer showers, restrooms, laundry facilities, and a designated ADA-accessible area. You can use the fire ring and grill at your campsite to cook up a nice meal. You can then enjoy a quiet picnic at the picnic area or a thrilling game of miniature golf nearby. Other amenities include a dump station and bear-proof trash cans. Yes, there have been bear sightings in the woods so be bear-aware.
The gravel pavements are fairly level and easily accessible. All campsites offer 30-amp and 50-amp power hookups. A few campsites provide full hookups, which include water and sewer connections. Cellphone and network services are extremely poor. For your grocery supplies and cell services, you will have to visit the nearest town of Chatsworth. The park can accommodate a trailer of up to 50 feet. However, trailers of less than 38 feet are the most suitable in terms of parking availability. If you want to bring a larger trailer, you will need to check with the park’s offices first. Campsites are available for reservations up to 13 months in advance.
Are you thinking of spending a night or two out of the RV and inside more luxurious accommodations? Lucky for you Fort Mountain State Park has 15 adorable cottages to choose from. Cottages one through five are located along the northwestern end of the lake, while cottages six through 15 are just south of the lake along the Lake Trail. Ten of these cottages are two bedrooms and can sleep eight, while the others have three and can sleep 10 people. Cottages one and five are ADA-accessible.
These cottages are more like homes as they are completely furnished with everything you need from beds and bedding, a full kitchen with stove, fridge, and microwave oven, and a large screen tv hanging on the wall in the living room. There is a wood fireplace in case you want a fire and even a dishwasher, so you don’t have to spend your vacation washing the dishes. Cottages five and six allow dogs, so go ahead and bring your furbaby. Reservations are needed and can be made up to 13 months in advance.
Platform camping is another option, but you will have to leave your RV and hike into the woods aways. There are six platform campsites between 200 and 260 yards from the parking lot. The platforms are wooden lean-tos that can accommodate up to six people. You can set up a tent on the deck or just spread out your bedding and enjoy the peacefulness of the surrounding forest.
Pets are welcome but you need to keep your pooch secured and supervised at all times during your stay. Cooking will not be a problem on the outdoor grill provided and there is a picnic table that seats six, so you do not have to worry about balancing your food on your lap while trying to eat in a camp chair. You will also be near to a bear box, comfort station with running water, and a potable water spigot. Reservations should be made as early as possible.
Similar to platform camping but for a larger group, pioneer camping will get you a few lean-tos in the woods with room to sleep up to 30 people. You will have two picnic tables for seating, but you should bring your own camp chairs as well. The campfire grills are good for cooking on, but you can also pack in your own grill or camp stove. The only restroom is an outhouse, which is just behind the campsites. There are three of these sites along the Gahuti Trail just to the southwest of the lake. Reservations can be set up to 13 months in advance and with only a few to choose from, you had better grab yours early.
Horseback riders can enjoy the incredible scenery across the over 25 miles of designated equestrian trails. This guided adventure is run by the privately-owned Fort Mountain Stables in partnership with Fort Mountain State Park. In addition, you can rent a stall for your horse. If you are bringing your horses in your trailer, you’ll love the chance to ride on horseback through the stunning wilderness of the park. However, do not ride on roadways, only ride during the day, and bring along a negative Coggins test for inspection.
The 27 miles of biking trails at the park are made up of four loop trails: the one-mile Lake Loop Trail, six-mile Goldmine Loop, seven-mile Cool Springs Loop, and the 14-mile East-West Loop Trail. Apart from these loop trails, you will require a permit to ride on the rest of the trails. The Lake Loop is a short, easy trail that is perfect for a quick stroll with lakeside views. For avid bikers, the East-West Bike Loop is your best bet. While the route is difficult, it's worth it for the scenic views of hillsides, forests, and waterfalls.
Meandering across the park are multiple hiking trails of varying lengths and difficulty. The most popular treks include the one-mile lake Loop Trail, the Stone Tower Trail, the Big Rock Trail, and Overlook Trail. During these epic hikes, you can spot numerous birds of prey, deer, and wild turkeys. The Lake Loop is the easiest and shortest hike. For a more challenging yet rewarding hike, you can choose the eight-mile Gahuti Trail that transverses through the Cohutta Wilderness. To conquer this route, you will need to have some degree of fitness and make sure to carry enough water.
Fort Mountain State Park allows fishing in the lake, and there are plenty of hungry ones just waiting for you to toss in your line. For this activity, it is mandatory to have a fishing license from the state of Georgia. Anglers will be thrilled at the chance to catch freshwater fish such as catfish, bream, and largemouth bass. Fishing is restricted to the banks only. So, don’t forget to pack your fishing gear in your camper before heading to the park.
Within the facility, there is the seven-acre Fort Mountain Park Lake situated near Campground 1. Swimming is open to the public from Memorial Day up to Labor Day. Young ones can have fun swimming across the man-made lake on a sunny day, so be sure to bring along the beach toys and towels. There is no lifeguard on duty though, so you will be swimming at your own risk. Non-swimmers and children under 14 should wear a life jacket at all times while in the water.
The beach gives a taste of a coastal feeling in the heart of the wilderness. After a long day’s trek, the beach offers a cool spot on the lakeshores to relax during the summer. Here you can enjoy basking in the sun on the warm sand, taking strolls across the beach, or renting pedal boats for the young ones to ride. You can even build a sandcastle. Other fun activities include kayaking, surfing, and canoeing. Don’t forget to bring some sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 and a camera to take some pics to share.