|From Pine Mountain|
One of our favorite pastimes is to head to the mountains. Most often that means driving our automobiles North from Atlanta, but there is a terrific mountain, a mountain so nice that it was the favorite spot of one of the greatest Presidents of the United States of America. This place, less than an hour and a half South of Atlanta is Pine Mountain, which stands majestically as the center point of Georgia’s Largest State Park, Franklin Delano Roosevelt State Park in Pine Mountain, Georgia .
Pine Mountain rises 1395 feet high on the East Side of the park. For those who want the view without the work, this is a driving summit much like Fort Mountain . The best place for a panoramic valley view, was FDR’s picnic spot, known as Dowdell‘s Knob . As this is the highest point on the mountain, there is a spectacular view of the valley below. Also, at the spot, is the President’s Barbecue Pit and statue of the former President, sitting serenely on his removable car seat. It is notable for two reasons. First, it is probably the only representation of the great man that shows his leg braces. And secondly, the way its made allows one to sit next to the President in a way that makes conversation almost seem possible. This transports one to a place that helps a person truly get the sense of National History the beauty of Georgia helped shape.
The hiking here is very good also. The park contains the 23 mile Pine Mountain Trail . For day hikers, the place to go is at the far East side of the Park, near the Warm Springs side entrance. It begins at a small parking lot right next to the WJSP-TV tower. The loop itself utilizes a portion of the Pine Mountain Trail (counting backwards from Mile Marker 23 to 18) and doubles back on the Beaver Dam Trail for a total of 6.7 miles. If your looking for a shorter hike the walk from the lot to the Wolf’s Den and back would make a 4.4 mile round trip.
On the way, there are several pretty, but not too large waterfalls. Csonka Falls might be about 4 feet, Big Rock Falls maybe 6, and Slippery Rock Falls somewhere between the two in height. Just at the Wolf’s Den you can see Cascade falls which stands about 10 feet and falls into a shallow pool. Just because they are small, I don’t want to suggest they are anything but pleasant. From there you can climb up to the Wolf’s Den, and further on there is a Beaver Dam and some nice vista views. The trail is rocky in parts with some patches of steep climbing, but mostly compact soil. Taken in totality, especially when you factor in the distance, I would place the hike at the high side of moderate (or maybe the low end of difficult) for the casual hiker.
FDR Park makes for nice day out, and considering the size could easily be spaced into a multiple day jaunt. It’s minutes away from Warm Springs and the little White House; literally across the street from Callaway Gardens, and just down the road from Pine Mountain, Georgia (We had some nice Ice Cream at Sage‘s Soda Fountain there, Blue Bell , I believe). The parking cost is the standard state park $5 day fee, which makes for an affordable day trip,
WOLF DEN LOOP ONLY
Approximate Time: 4 hours
Approximate Distance: 6.7mi
Trail Surface: Compact Soil, Rocks,
Features: Small Waterfalls, Riverside Walk, Wolf’s den, Scenic Views, historical significance, Beaver Dam.
Scenic Quality: A
Parking: $5 (Sept 2008)
Hours of Operation:
Facilities: at Visitor center and throughout, not on Trails
Maps: Available at Visitor center, not the best trail map, but the trails are well marked
County: Harris County