I have this list of places I want to see in and around Georgia. People email me and I talk to folks (and all suggestions are very welcome). So there’s this one place a little over two hours Northwest of Atlanta, that I’ve heard a lot about and have always been meaning to go, but it has been difficult to conscript a volunteer to sojourn along with me. Because when asked what the draw is, I can only answer, “Rocks.” But as luck would have it this past July, after another voyage nearby sort of petered out due to warm weather and lack of water at the falls, I was able to get my companions to visit these “Rocks” as a fallback option. And the day was salvaged by a truly amazing visit to a place known only as Rocktown, near LaFayette, Georgia.
Rocktown is at the culmination of one of Several Hiking Trails on Pigeon Mountain in the Cumberland Plateau region of the state. It is probably the easiest of the bunch consisting of a very flat and very well maintained one mile walk from the parking area, even though it is at the summit of the mountain. At the end of the path, there are myriad rocks covering easily 100 acres of land. Some of the rocks are as tall as two or three story buildings. The greys and browns of the sandstone mix with the reds of the iron ore to create some visually stunning patterns. Some have odd shapes that remind one of other things like finding patterns in clouds on a lazy summer’s day.
So our easy one mile hike turned into a three hour festival of rock climbing. Now this is a true mecca for the avid rock climber and we saw a few younger folks decked out with pads and rope and the like. We had no equipment, but for a great many of the rocks none were needed. After hauling yourself up a 30 foot rock, you would be rewarded with a view of more rocks. I’ve have never been on a hike when the end of day aches focused so much on the arms and shoulders. But the pain was well worth the sense of accomplishment.
We watched a few children rush up and down the boulders, screaming with glee like it was the greatest thing ever. And some of the rocks created caves and overhangs that served as well needed shade from the hot Georgia Sun. The only caveat would be the wildlife in the area: I heard reports of bobcats but none were seen by us; our principle nemesis was the nuisance of ants when we tried to sit atop a boulder for our lunch. But this was a mild problem in comparison to the enjoyment we were able to get.
So Rocktown might be a little far away, but well worth the trip. The remoteness help keep these rocks relatively free of graffiti and vandalism. If you are looking for fun and exercise in the Northwest corner of the state, this is a great place to spend the day. It is quite understandable what all the fuss is about.
Approximate Time: 3 hours (path 1 hour-leaving plenty of time to play on the rocks)
Approximate Distance: 2 miles round trip
Features: Rocks, Vista Views
Overall Rating: A
Hours of Operation: Daylight hours
Maps: here (the little pink path near the center), not really needed