Today let’s take a quick look at some spots in the Northeast Georgia Mountains for those who want to go camping. All these places have a little something different to offer and each one has a special treat in store for you. Camping is one of life’s great experiences and the kids will always remember and talk about the days spent outdoors with their family. Whether you like hiking, fishing, golfing, swimming, picnicking, outdoor photography, or just taking in the grand visions of what nature has to offer, one of these spots will be right up your alley.

Black Rock Mountain State Park is just north of Clayton off Highway 441. It is Georgia’s highest state park with majestic views of over eighty miles and four hiking trails over which you can enjoy waterfalls, streams, and beautiful forests filled with wild flowers. There are forty four campsites available as well as ten cottages if you prefer. The park encompasses over 1700 acres including a seventeen acre lake, a visitor’s center at the summit, picnic shelters, playground, a pioneer group campground and eleven miles of trails that range from easy to difficult. Nearby you will find the Appalachian Trail and the Chattooga River which is famous for its rafting trips. One note of caution. If you are towing an RV be aware that in order to access the park you will have to navigate a steep, winding road to the top.

Moccasin Creek State Park is located about twenty miles north of Clarkesville on Georgia Highway 197 or about fifteen miles west of Clayton via Georgia Highway 76 and Georgia Highway 197. The park has fifty five shady campsites and the park sits on beautiful Lake Burton. If you have a boat one of the most enjoyable things to do is just cruise the lake on a late afternoon. A creek runs through the property with stocked trout. Fishing is open for children, seniors, and physically challenged persons. From time to time there is a guided tour through the mountains to learn about native wildflowers and the recently refurbished Burton Fish Hatchery is next door. The town of Helen is only a short drive away, and the Cabbage Patch Kids / Babyland General is just a little farther down the road in Cleveland.

Vogel State Park is located eleven miles south of Blairsville off Highway 19/129 and is one of Georgia’s most popular campgrounds. With 103 campsites and thirty five cottages there’s plenty of room but make reservations well ahead of time. There’s a twenty two acre lake, a swimming beach, pedal boats, miniature golf, a general store, picnic shelters and a Civilian Conservation Corps Museum on site. If you’re a hiker you can enjoy the seventeen miles of trails available and lots of waterfalls nearby. Also within easy driving distance is the Brasstown Valley Resort, the Dahlonega Gold Museum, and the Appalachian Trail. There are often scheduled events at the park.

Tallulah Gorge State Park is located on Highway 441 within the city limits of Tallulah Falls. A big park at over 2700 acres, Tallulah Gorge Park has fifty campsites and a wide range of activities including a first class visitor’s center. By far the most popular attraction is the gorge itself with its trails leading down into a canyon that is two miles long and 1000 feet deep. You can hike to overlook points on the rim or take the Hurricane Falls staircase to the gorge floor. It is not an easy climb but is well worth the effort. There is a suspension bridge about eighty feet above the bottom. Georgia Power has scheduled water releases from the dam above which provides visitors with a dramatic look at a whitewater surge. Permits into the gorge are limited so you need to check ahead of time for status.

Richard B. Russell State Park is located eight miles northeast of Elberton off Georgia Highway 77 and is the only park on our list today that is not in the mountains. This park has its own special brand of offerings. If you are a water sports nut Lake Russell, a 26,000 acre impoundment, is at your disposal. Whether you like fishing, skiing, or just cruising there’s plenty of room to roam and typically very little boat traffic. If you are not into water sports the park offers a top notch golf course in Arrowhead Point. The course is always in excellent condition, reasonably priced and the back nine has some spectacular scenery around the edges of Lake Russell. There are only twenty eight campsites in the park so make your reservations ahead of time. The park also has opportunities for hiking, swimming, bicycling, and disc golf.

E-mail questions to dar8589@bellsouth.net or go to www.gastateparks.org for more info.

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