I don’t consider myself to be Bear Grylls. I was in Boy Scouts and earned my Totin’ Chip, but I still couldn’t tell you the difference between an overhand knot or a slip knot (nor could I begin to tie either). I enjoy day hiking but couldn’t find many spots outside of Stone Mountain.
That’s why when Steve Hudson started writing “Get Outside, Georgia” over a year ago, I ate it all up.
Steve’s columns give insight to Georgia’s unique outdoor activities from a seasoned outdoorsman, but geared for the person who doesn’t get out all that often.
One column in particular piqued my interest. He wrote about the Georgia State Parks’ new program “Tails on Trails,” which features seven dog-friendly hikes throughout the state.
It costs $15 and you receive a passport that gets punched at each hike. Once completed, you mail in your passport and receive a T-shirt for you and a matching bandana for your pup.
The fine print states you don’t need a dog in order to participate in the program, so you could end up with a shirt and jaunty bandana for yourself.
My wife, Kimber, dog Milton, and I began our adventure a little over a month ago.
Red Top Mountain, Acworth
We hiked the one-mile White Tail Trail at Red Top Mountain for our first venture.
We bought our passport at the visitor’s center and made our way to the trailhead. Along the trail there were a few access points to Lake Allatoona which Milton loved. He was able to wade in the water, cool off and get a drink.
We ended up hiking two other trails that were about the same difficulty as the White Trail.
One trail was paved and suitable for wheelchairs and strollers. Portions ran alongside the lake where families were enjoying picnics, swimming and fishing.
Milton decided to go full out into the lake and practiced his dog paddle. If you decide to visit, I’d recommend wearing your bathing suit.
High Falls, Jackson
The following weekend we ventured to High Falls in Jackson which is about an hour and a-half south of Alpharetta. Remembering our first trip, we decided to hike in our bathing suits in hopes of getting in the water at some point.
When we arrived, we parked and made our way to the trailhead. We descended down the wooden stairs of the trail that ran alongside the falls.
The path was littered with signs that warned to stay off the falls and rocks, and violators would be prosecuted. For legal reasons I will say we obeyed the signs.
The wooden staircase made way to a dirt path that ran along the falls. There were various points that you could access the water, which we stayed out of (cough, cough).
Had we gone in the water, I’d imagine we could have spent up to an hour wading and enjoying the sunny day.
The 1,050-acre park also included various options for camping, campgrounds, playground, mini golf and other amenities.
Don Carter, Gainesville
For our most recent hike, we visited Georgia’s newest state park, Don Carter in Gainesville. Located on Lake Lanier, Don Carter boasts eight cottages for camping, walk-in tent sites, boat ramps, fishing, a sand beach and more.
Most of the paths in the park for hiking are paved. The Woodland and Lakeview Loop Trails pass by various walk-in tent sites for camping and are very low impact.
They also offer Geocaching in the park, and even though we weren’t actively looking for it, we found one of the caches.
If you haven’t taken Steve’s advice, I suggest you do this weekend. Steve has written numerous columns on different outdoor activities you can take part in. You can read them at northfulton.com/steve-hudson. So what are you waiting for? Get outside, Georgia!