The 7.2-mile James E. Edmonds Backcountry Trail, named in honor of one of the park’s first rangers, is a quite steep trail. It was a lot more exciting than the Tennessee Rock Trail which is much shorter. When I looked up the elevation gain for the James Edmonds trail, the graph looked like rick-rack! Down, down, done, and up, up, up. It is rated “moderate to strenuous.”

You don’t have to hike the entire trail. You can go to the small water fall area and then turn around and head back up. Since some of you are following me to find out what trails are “family friendly” and the ones that are “made for my endearing tougher-than-nails” hiking friends, this trail really does require strong legs to get up in places. It is like so many of the Georgia trails, it is just plain tough in the sense that it does not have a lot to offer except time in the woods and exercise. But I know I’m partial to western North Carolina.

Still, you can’t beat the beauty of fern glades like this one. Then you definitely want to stop and enjoy your surroundings.

And views like this dappled pathway are so inviting that they made me smile.

On the way down, we enjoyed the later afternoon sunlight and lots of dense woods.

A very small water fall—more like a trickle but it was refreshing sitting on the bridge for a few minutes before going on.

Then you get to circle around and noodle your way back to the trail head.

I think this is our deep woods wild flower experience!

There were a few rocky scrambles but nothing serious. This is a typical Georgia trail.

I confess: ferns amaze me. I love to see them unfold in the spring and then I bask in their deep green in the summer.

This one almost already wants to have a touch of fall to it.

So, it is a nice Georgia wooded hike that does go by the Black Mountain Lake. I remember when Cocoa was young she would swim in that lake.

Directions: Take GA 441 north to Mountain City and look for the park signs. Located near the city of Clayton, this is Georgia’s highest state park. It encompasses some of the most outstanding scenery in Georgia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. On your way to the top you pass overlooks that provide some spectacular views of the surrounding 80-mile vistas. The park has  four hiking trails that go past wildflowers, streams, small waterfalls and through lush forests. The Visitor’s Center at the top is one of my favorite Sunday afternoon destinations, Neels Gap is probably my favorite. Both have gift shops and restroom facilities that are open.