DescriptionThe 750,194 acres of the Chattahoochee National Forest are in northern Georgia, and the 115,476 acres of the Oconee National Forest are in central Georgia. Within the forests are campsites, picnic areas, wilderness areas, trails and the Chattooga National Wild and Scenic River.
The Chattahoochee National Forest includes the southern part of one of the world's most extensive and productive hardwood forests. Its Cohutta Wilderness, covering some 35,268 acres, is a popular area for fishing, hunting and hiking.
Also in the forest are the twin cascades of Anna Ruby Falls, where two creeks converge before running into Unicoi Lake and on into the Chattahoochee River. Anna Ruby Falls Recreation Area offers several hiking trails, including a quarter-mile-long paved trail and one with Braille signage, a visitor center and picnic areas. The Anna Ruby Falls Information Center has exhibits and information about the history and natural resources of the area as well as a trout-viewing pond and trails. Closed Christmas. Phone (706) 878-1448.
At 4,784 feet above sea level, Brasstown Bald is Georgia's highest mountain. The Brasstown Bald Visitor Center, off SR 180 near Blairsville, is open daily mid-March through Jan. 1, weather permitting; phone (706) 896-2556 or (706) 745-6928 during the off-season. The center features a theater, a rooftop observation deck and exhibits about the relationship between people and mountains. The summit also has picnic facilities and three hiking trails, and on clear days affords views of four states.
The forest is open daily 24 hours. Forest admission free; some facilities within require a fee. Forest and area maps are sold at the Forest Supervisor's Office, 1755 Cleveland Hwy., Gainesville, GA 30501. Phone (770) 297-3000.