Roads & Trails

Roads

There are nearly 12 miles of improved roads winding through Smithgall Woods including the main road, Tsalaki Trail. Part paved, part gravel, Tsalaki Trail and its three branches, Tower Road, Shackleford Road and Otali Road, offer miles of uninterrupted biking pleasure.

Hikers and Bikers are required to please sign in at the Visitor Center before entering the park. Bicycles are not allowed on any of the park trails, only on the improved roads.

Tsalaski Trail
Trails

There are five distinct hiking trails here at Smithgall Woods – Dukes Creek Conservation Area, each offering a unique experience in both surroundings and effort. Since special effort is made to restrict vehicles from entering the park, all hikes begin at the Visitor Center. To assist each hiker with the easy recognition of the many particular points of interest on the trails, brochures can be picked up which have corresponding numbers and descriptions to identify trail markers that can be found along the way.

This 1.6 mile trail starts right near the Visitor Center in the bottomlands along Dukes Creek. The trail ascends the drier oak forest on Laurel Ridge and traverses a variety of natural communities which were once altered by past land use and are now preserved using current conservation practices.

Laurel Ridge Trail
Laurel Ridge Trail
Laurel Ridge Trail

This 1/2 mile trail begins after a 1.2 mile hike from the Visitor Center parking lot and explores a wetland which was originally created by a beaver dam in the bottomlands along Dukes Creek.

Wetland Loop Trail
Wetland Loop Trail
Wetland Loop Trail

This 1.5 mile loop trail begins nearly 1.3 miles from the Visitor Center parking lot and requires a bit more ability for hiking when you add in the somewhat rougher terrain and the necessity to cross two mountain creeks: Ash Creek and the wider, Dukes Creek. The trail also introduces you to two natural communities found in the Blue Ridge region of Georgia: a dryer oak-pine upland forest with conservation tools such as food plots for animals and a riparian forest growing along the bottomlands that parallel Dukes Creek.

Ash Creek Trail
Ash Creek Trail
Ash Creek Trail

Martin’s Mine Trail is a nearly 1 mile loop beginning more than 2 miles from the Visitor Center. The trail explores the remains of gold mining activities in the area in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Martin's Mine Trail
Martin's Mine Trail
Martin's Mine Trail

The 1/2 mile trail (one way) descends a mountain slope through a diverse forest of pine, hardwood and evergreen thickets to Dukes Creek and ends at a lovely cascade on the Alabama Branch. The beginning of the trail is the farthest from the Visitor Center at nearly 2-1/2 miles away.

Cathy Ellis Trail
Cathy Ellis Trail
Cathy Ellis Trail

© 2011 Friends of Smithgall Woods