Fort Mountain

From Fort Mountain
In the middle of Summer, I ventured out with friends to see something that I read about that really intrigued me. In a park with over 14 miles of hiking trails, just outside of Chatsworth, there is a 855 foot long rock wall, which is of disputed origin. In case you didn‘t know, I am talking about Fort Mountain State Park.
The Strange Rock Wall Formation presents itself like a fortress, thus the name Fort Mountain. Actually, it looks more like the rubble of a demolished wall, zigzagging its way stone upon stone with dimensions of about 6 feet in width and a height of no more than four feet in most places. It still is interesting to behold, but is more reminiscent of the rock formations like Eatonton’s Rock Eagle or its nearby Rock Hawk, than what I think a stone fortress might look like.
The story of the wall is many fold. One story has the wall being built by Hernando De Soto and his band of Conquistadores as protection against the fearless Cherokees. This is widely held not to be true but is a nice legend. The most interesting story has the wall being built by white “moon-eyed” Europeans, under the lost Prince Medoc after sailing from Wales to what is now Mobile, Alabama, and then working their way inland. Again the purpose would be defense against Indians. Unimaginative geologists think that it might be the result of natural weathering of a generally horizontal stratum of a hard caprock of quartzites and conglomerates, but that’s no fun. There’s even a story that it was a Cherokee Honeymoon spot, due to the circular “love nests” that appears in places along the wall.

Most likely, it was the work of Woodland Indian Rockbuilders, but definitive proof doesn’t exist. But the rocks stir the mind to wandering. Wouldn’t it be fascinating if the Welsh were actually here in the Fifth Century. Welsh history has a similarly named lost sailing Prince, which makes that rendition possible, if not probable.
You can drive through the park very near the rock structure, just to see the mysterious wall and the views, and your hike would entail a circle with two bisecting paths, putting your distance on the light side of two miles. It’s not very difficult, as most of the elevation would be born by the vehicle of your choice. There are several other hiking trails, including the longer backcountry Gahuti Trail, if your looking for more of a challenge.
Also near the top is a tower built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930’s, a small cascading waterfall is found along the Goldmine Creek Trail, and a nice views of Fort Mountain Lake along the Lake Loop Trail (we saw a number of folks fishing there, if that’s your cup of tea). But the High Points are the Rock Wall and the tremendous views from the overlooks.

I was told you could hear mining at times on the mountain, but we went on a weekend so that wasn’t our experience. The mountain is apparently one of Georgia greatest deposits of Talc. It’s interesting how natural beauty and commercial interests can live side by side here.

At less that two hours outside Atlanta, with its natural beauty with perplexing mystery, Fort Mountain is a terrific spot to spend the day.

1 comment:

  1. The Old Fort Trails are a very enjoyable hike with three great highlights (the wall, the tower, and the Overlook), but there is also another wonderful trail on Fort Mountain that is much shorter, and contains beautiful overlooks and cascading waterfalls.

    The Big Rock Nature Trail is a 0.75 mile loop along another ridge in Fort Mountain, and runs parallel to many cascading falls running down the side of Fort Mountain.

    Both the Old Fort Trails, and the Big Rock Nature Trail are easy hikes, and could easily be seen on a weekend.



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