in Georgia's Blue Ridge Mountains
Two of the greatest outdoor adventures in the world begin at the southern border of Fannin County. Both the Appalachian and the Benton MacKaye Trail start at the top of Springer Mountain. The Appalachian Trail, better known and longer of the trails, begins a 2,000+ mile journey to Maine through many of the states on the Eastern Seaboard of the United States. The Benton MacKaye, more remote than the Appalachian, begins a 250 mile trek along the western slopes of the Appalachian Mountains, rejoining the AT in Virginia.
Hike the Benton MacKaye north and in 13 miles it crosses the pristine Toccoa River on a structure known simply as the "Swinging Bridge." It is the longest suspension bridge east of the Mississippi and was built by the Forest Service and the Georgia Appalachian Trail Club in the mid-1970's. The Benton MacKaye continues through some very remote areas of Georgia, entirely in Fannin County for this portion of the journey.
On any given weekend the Toccoa River is a popular destination for tubing, canoeing, kayaking and trout fishing. Beginning at Deep Hole, a Forest Service Campground, paddlers make the 17-mile Toccoa River Canoe Trail journey, passing under the swinging bridge and into the Aska Adventure Trails Area, where hiking and mountain biking are also popular.
As the Toccoa River slows, Lake Blue Ridge is formed by the TVA dam. Here boating and fishing are popular pasttimes for the outdoor enthusiasts. Once the Toccoa River leaves Lake Blue Ridge the river begins its journey down the wide valley known as the McCaysville Basin. Trout fishermen frequent this area of the river, as settlers and Native Americans did before them.
West of the valley the Cohutta Mountains rise so high that the Cherokee Indians considered them to hold up the sky. Waterfalls, remote backpacking, hiking and camping are some of the recreational opportunities here.
Beyond Fannin County are more incredible opportunities. From the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Southern Highroads Trail to the incredible beauty of the Smoky Mountains, Fannin County, Georgia is truly the Gateway to the Blue Ridge Mountains!!