We love the summer here at Mountain Crossings. We have been getting outside whether we are on a trail, river, or in town! We wanted to share with you a few of our favorite adventures we recommend in the area.
Hiking and camping
If you are travelling with your family, or are just a beginner hiker, I recommend camping at Vogel State Park. It is right down the road from us and is a great place to hang out. The camping there is nestled in the woods and feels rustic. You can enjoy a morning stroll around the lake there and maybe swim in it in the afternoon. You can walk to the Bear Hair trail, Coosa Backcountry trail, and a short nature trail. The Coosa is for experienced hikers as it is the most difficult, but the Bear Hair Loop is around 6 miles and you get stunning views of the lake from a viewpoint. You aren’t a far drive from Helton Creek Falls, Blood Mountain, and Desoto Falls if those are also on your list. Take one of our Mountain Crossings Nalgenes with you to stay hydrated while you are on the trail!
If you are looking for more of a backpacking adventure, get on the Benton Mackaye Trail! This trail is less travelled by far than the Appalachian Trail, yet you will still get stunning views and rivers. This trail is around 300 miles and starts at Springer Mountain and ends at the Northern end of the Smoky Mountains. It takes a different route than the AT so you will see different sites. Check out more information on their page here to find a section you might like to hike.
We have had several employees at the shop who are also raft guides on the Ocoee during the summer. They absolutely love rafting and meeting all the different people who seek adventure on the river. The Ocoee is located just North of the Georgia border in Tennessee. The middle section is the most popular and exciting. There is also the upper section you can raft to make it a full day trip. Rafting just one section is only a couple of hours but can be relatively cheap starting around $35. This is one o f the most popular rivers in the Southeast because it is fun and easily accessible. There are over twenty companies that guide on the Ocoee so I’m sure you will be able to go rafting! Check out Whitewater Express and go rafting with our employee Holly!
The Chattooga is another great river located on the Georgia and South Carolina border near Clayton, GA. This is a Wild and Scenic River so you will not see any structures or other trips as you are rafting. There are two different sections III and IV. Section IV is definitely the scarier of the two as there are a series of rapids called the “Five Falls” that are pretty much little waterfalls. Each section is very fun and lasts all day. The trips are definitely pricier but the guides pack lunch for you and it is worth it for these full day trips. There are only three companies that guide on the Chattooga so you are sure to have more of a wilderness experience. Check out the NOC to learn more about trips on the Chattooga!
If you want to carry a few things with you on the river, get one of our Granite Gear Drysacks to keep your belongings dry on the raft!
Blairsville is the closest town to us on the mountain. They have a few summer festivals usually held at Meeks Park in town. One coming up that we are excited about is the Butternut Creek Festival. The Butternut Creek Festival is one of the finest juried arts and crafts shows in the southeast. The two day festival showcases the work of 80 to 85 artists and craftsman in categories from basketry, candles & soap, fine art, fabric art, and decorative painting, to glass, jewelry, metal working, photography, pottery, scrimshaw, and woodturning. Held annually at Meeks Park in Blairsville, Georgia, Saturday 10AM to 5PM & Sunday 10AM to 4PM. Free admission and free parking with shuttle service from the parking lots to the show site.
Dahlonega is South of us heading back towards Atlanta. The town is super cute and has a lot of great shops and restaurants. One activity we are looking forward to in Dahlonega this summer is their Movies Under the Stars. This event occurs in Hancock park near the square. Before settling down to enjoy the film at dusk, kick off your Friday evenings at 6 p.m. with activities the kids will love, like coloring and free giveaways. A Food Truck will be parked onsite for concessions. Guests are encouraged to bring blankets and low-back lawn chairs. The next movie they will be showing is Star Wars The Last Jedi on July 20th.
If you can’t attend one of these festivals, at least stop by town and grab something to eat at one of the many restaurants and maybe look around at some shops!
We hope you come visit us and maybe do one of the activities we’ve recommended whether it be a hike, a paddle, or a walk around town!