Perched high on the hills above Clayton lies Georgia’s highest state park. With an elevation well above 3,000ft this park is home to fantastic mountain vistas, beautiful flowers, and even a small fishing lake. It’s cool summer days make it a hot destination for many, making it one of Georgia’s most popular and highly visited state parks. This hardly qualifies it as a “road less traveled”, but it is nevertheless a wonderful destination for the entire family.
The highlights of the park are the numerous overlooks from which, between them all, you can see for a hundred miles in any direction. When you first arrive at the park visitor center, you are immediately greeted by a parking area and arguably the park’s best view: the Black Rock Overlook. It’s elevation is at 3,446 feet and looks to the south/southeast. A large, picturesque wooden fence lines the edge of the large rock face keeping it safe for children.
(click photos to enlarge)
The Blue Ridge overlook sits at 3,388 feet and looks east off a “boardwalk” jetting out off the mountainside.
The Cowee Overlook sits a bit lower at 3,195 feet and looks to the northeast towards Mountain City, though the city is not visible from the overlook.
The Tennessee Overlook is located on the Tennessee Rock trail, which is a 2.2 mile long loop trail that runs along the side of Black Rock Mountain, then climbs to the summit and eventually to the Tennessee Rock Overlook. Since this is a loop trail, you can access the rock from one of two directions. You park in a well-marked lot and follow the signs to a point where the trail forks. The left fork takes you directly to Tennessee Rock, but the right fork takes you on the loop through the forest. If you start on the right, you initially go through the numerous hollows that run down the side of the mountain, where many wildflowers can be seen blooming.
Once the trail makes a hard left, you will head into a pine and mountain laurel/rhododendron thicket.
The trail eventually turns significantly steeper and heads to the summit of Black Rock Mountain.
After you reach the summit, the trail parallels the road and runs right into Tennessee Rock just a few hundred yards down the trail. This overlook has a terrific and hard-to-find view north.
The trail runs downhill quite steeply and back to the parking lot from this point, ending the 2.2 mile loop.
Another much shorter trail runs from the campground to Ada-hi Falls, which is a fairly unimpressive flow-wise, but nice falls viewed from a viewing platform at the end of the trail.
Black Rock Lake is located down a dirt road and features a .85 mile loop trail that runs around the excellent fishing lake (a dock is included on one side of the lake).
Besides fishing, there are picnic tables located near a feeder creek at the parking area as well.
Overall, Black Rock Mountain offers something for everyone, whether you want to hike, fish, camp, or even sunbathe on a rock. It is open all spring, summer, and fall so go check it out and enjoy some time in the outdoors!
I’ll see you on the road (or the trail)!