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Georgia, Wolfden Loop Trail

Location: Pine Mountain,
State: Georgia
Length: 6.7 miles
Trail Type: Loop
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Best Season:
All

Absolutely awe inspiring a deer in velvet stands near the trail

 

Trail Information:

Above the famous Piedmont region, this is the most southerly of the Appalachian Mountain chain and it brings a variety of mountain habitats to west central Georgia.

The loop can be walked in either direction.

The Wolfden Loop Trail follows the eastern end of the Pine Mountain Trail, a 23-mile path that runs the length of the Park. Blue blazes are painted approximately every quarter mile. Wooden signs mark points of interest or important changes in the trail. Mile markers are in descending order, because distances on the Pine Mountain Trail are measured from west to east.

The trail begins a slight descent into the moist bottomlands of the forest. An old beaver pond soon becomes visible through short stands of cane and saplings. Falling gently with the forest ridges, the trail soon enters a small boulder field.

In spring look for clusters of wildflowers, such as bird foot violet and bluets, among the rocks. Black and chestnut oaks along with hickory and short-leaf pines dominate the surrounding slopes. Sightings of wild turkey and white tail deer are frequent. Bobcats, gray fox and coyote are common.

Shortly after the rocky slopes, you come to the first of many crossings of the shallow Wolfden Branch. Most crossings can be made on well-placed stones. Use caution, as the stones can be slippery.

On a hot summer day, you may choose to splash on through. In the cooler months however, a slip on an icy or mossy rock could make for a very uncomfortable hike.

The trail winds among rhododendron thickets, Piedmont azalea, and mountain laurel. The forests along the creeks are made up of sweet gum, maple and long-leaf pines. Here, the trail can be particularly muddy, especially after rain. On cold winter days, you’re likely to see ice along the creek banks and on the rocks.

The trail climbs in and out of the cool, damp bottomlands onto the drier, sunnier ridges. None of the climbs are excessively tiring, and switchbacks make up the longer ascents. The rewards are the impressive rocky ledges on the ridges and the cascades and waterfalls along the creeks.

Before long the trail climbs onto the higher ridges and stays there for nearly the remainder of its length. Only as you close the loop will you pass through the bottomlands again. Once on the ridges, the trail follows the gentle ups and downs of the Appalachian Mountain foothills, through a mature hardwood and pine forest. Look for ‘Ferney’, an ancient and huge pine near a bend in the creek.

There are three primitive campsites along the trail. Shortly after the last of these, Sassafras Hill, the trail crosses Hwy 190 then re-enters the woods. Here the Pine Mountain Trail bends off to the right. You continue straight ahead on Wolfden Loop Trail. The final segment of the loop is marked with white blazes.

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