Mountain State Park
Section: James E. Edmonds Backcountry Trail
Difficulty: Moderate to Strenuous
Length: 6.6 miles (loop)
Blaze Color: Orange
Hiked on: July 25th and 26th,
Georgia has some absolutely wonderful State parks and Black Rock
Mountain State Park is no exception.
The park is located in extreme northeast Georgia just outside of
Clayton in Rabun County. The
James E. Edmonds trail is the longest trail in the park and it leads hikers
to one of the most scenic look offs around, high atop Lookoff Mountain.
Almost inexplicably, my trail length measurements differ by 0.6 miles
from what is printed in the trail literature; the Georgia State Park trail
guide gives the mileage as 7.2 miles.
This could have happened because of trail reroutes, a misprint,
erroneous data collection, or any other number of possibilities.
Most likely, this is due to poor satellite reception during the hike.
Regardless, the trail is easy to follow and 0.6 miles is not a great
difference when the total length of the trail is considered.
The trailhead is located alongside Black Rock Mountain Parkway, the
main road running through the park.
Don't forget to pay your parking fee if you do not have an annual
pass. The Visitor's Center,
where you will pay your parking fee, is actually located past the parking
area where you will start your hike.
If you intend to camp overnight in the park, you will be required to
check in and, hopefully, reserve and pay for one of the four approved
camping areas along this trail.
Starting from the parking area, the trail starts off nearly flat or
level and then descends steeply to mile 0.7 where the trail forks to form
the loop part of the trail. Take
a right at the fork and continue in a counterclockwise direction.
Approximately 0.1 miles past the fork, you will see the first of four
approved camping areas, Fern Cove.
The trail flattens for a short while and then begins another steep
descent until mile point 1.9.
Here, you will find a creek on your left.
The trail closely follows this creek until you cross it on a
footbridge and then cross Taylors Chapel Road at mile point 2.2.
Beyond the road, the trail makes a long and tiring ascent until mile
point 2.9 where you will take a left on an old roadbed.
At mile point 3.1 you will begin to see a trail below you and to your
left. This portion of the trail
is for your return trip after you visit Lookoff Mountain.
To visit Lookoff Mountain, continue straight ahead and go up the
hill. At mile point 3.3, you
will see the turn for the second campsite.
Continue ahead to reach the third campsite and a fantastic view at
the top of Lookoff Mountain.
From the road crossing to the top of Lookoff Mountain is a climb of
approximately 800 feet. This is
a fairly difficult climb for a lot of people, especially if you are burdened
with a heavy pack - know your limits.
Also, be careful on the large rock slab at the top of the mountain
always but use extra caution during wet or icy conditions.
To head back to the parking area, you will continue back down the
mountain from the way you came.
At mile point 3.9, you will see the fork that was mentioned most recently.
Take the right at the fork to continue the loop in a counterclockwise
direction. The descent from
Lookoff Mountain is long and very steep.
The second crossing of Taylors Chapel Road near mile point 4.9 is the
end of the seemingly unending descent.
It was raining while I was descending the mountain and the trail
became very slippery and my legs were exhausted due to slowing down the
weight of my heavy pack. The
trail remains fairly level until mile point 5.3 where you will reach the
turn for the fourth and final camping area.
This camping area was my destination for my first day and it was an
excellent campsite. There was a
small waterfall at the side trail intersection which was a convenient place
to pump and filter my water. The
campsite itself was high and dry.
Continuing ahead, the trail crosses Greasy Creek at mile point 5.6
and then crosses North Germany Mountain Road at mile point 5.7.
Near mile 6, the trail reaches the first fork mentioned in this
narration. To return to the
parking area, take a right at the fork and continue up the hill.
The trail is uphill for the remainder of its length.
I enjoyed this trail very much and the environment was very
diverse. There were moist
valleys and scenic mountain vistas.
This, of course, comes at a price.
The trail was fairly strenuous, especially if you are burdened with a
Many of the maps on this website use a "Geolocation" feature. This feature attempts to find your current geographic position and pinpoint that location on the map. This feature may be useful if you are accessing the map via smart phone and you want to determine your location in relation to the mapped trails. The information obtained from the "Geolocate" feature should not be a replacement for common sense and you should not rely on its accuracy because the information obtained can be in error and beyond control of this website. If you do not wish for the maps to find your current location on the map, do not press the "Geolocate" button at the top-right corner of the maps.
The information contained in these maps were believed to be accurate at the time of publishing. However, trails can be rerouted and the information contained in the map should be no substitute for the trail information found at trailheads or on the trail itself (trail blazes). In many instances, you will find that water sources have been marked on the trails. These water sources were believed to be accurate at the time of publishing but all of the water sources may not be reliable due to current weather conditions (drought). The information contained in the maps should not be a replacement for common sense and you should not rely on their accuracy because the information obtained can be in error and beyond control of this website.
The directions to most trails are given with the aid
of Google Maps. The information obtained from these directions are
not guaranteed to be accurate. In addition, the map directions may
list the quickest way to the destination but they could possibly send
you on a route that may be impassable with your vehicle.
Users should utilize the information with caution.
The information contained in this website is
for general information purposes only. The information is provided
by "digitaltrailguide.com" and whilst we endeavour to keep the
information up-to-date and correct, we make no representations or
warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness,
accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to
the website or the information, products, services, or related
graphics contained on the website for any purpose. Any reliance you
place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk.
In no event will we be liable for any loss or damage including
without limitation, indirect or consequential loss or damage, or any
loss or damage whatsoever arising from loss of data or profits which
arise out of, or in connection with, the use of this website.
Through this website you are able to link to other websites which
are not under the control of "digitaltrailguide.com." We have no
control over the nature, content and availability of those sites.
The inclusion of any links does not necessarily imply a
recommendation or endorse the views expressed within them.
Every effort is made to keep the website up and running smoothly.
However, "digitaltrailguide.com." takes no responsibility for and
will not be liable for the website being temporarily unavailable due
to technical issues beyond our control.
This website and its content is copyright of
"digitaltrailguide.com" - © "digitaltrailguide.com" 2011. All rights
Any redistribution or reproduction of part or all of the contents in
any form is prohibited other than the following:
- you may print or download to a local hard disk extracts for your
personal and non-commercial use only
- you may copy the content to individual third parties for their
personal use, but only if you acknowledge the website as the source
of the material.
You may not, except with our express written permission, distribute
or commercially exploit the content. Nor may you transmit it or
store it in any other website or other form of electronic retrieval
Third parties may be placing and reading cookies on your browser, or using web beacons to collect information as a result of ad serving on this website.