MORE INFORMATION: Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests 1755 Cleveland Highway Gainesville, GA 30501 770 297-3000
HIGHLIGHTS: The Chattahoochee National Forest is one of two National Forests in the State of Georgia, and it takes its name from the Chattahoochee River whose headwaters begin in the North Georgia mountains. The River and the area were given the name by the English settlers who heard it from the Indians that once lived here. The Chattahoochee National Forest was created when the Forest Service purchased 31,000 acres in Fannin, Gilmer, Lumpkin and Union Counties from the Gennett family in 1911 for $7.00 per acre. In the beginning, the Chattahoochee was part of the Nantahala and Cherokee National Forests in North Carolina and Tennessee, but eventually the Forest Service made additional land purchases and expanded the Chattahoochee to its current size of nearly 750,000 acres.
The walk to Wolf Laurel Top is an in-and-out, backtrack hike that is ideal for day hiking, but it can also be done as an overnight backpacking trip. This hike starts along the Richard Russell Scenic Highway and ascends around 700′ feet to a scenic overlook along the trail at Cow Rock Mountain. There are spectacular views to the east, south, and west from here and its a great place to take a break after the long climb from the parking area. From here, the Appalachian Trail continues another mile to Wolf Laurel Top. It drops in to Baggs Creek Gap where there is a campsite to the left and a blue-blazed side trail down to a piped spring to the right. The final climb to Wolf Laurel Top is about 250 feet where there are outstanding 180 degree views in the summer and 360 degree views in the winter.