Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
1,941.00 ft (591.62 m)
Trail type
Loop
Distance
7.90 mi (12.71 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The Gahuti Trail at Fort Mountain State Park is an 8-mile backcountry hiking loop that encircles the entire park area. It traverses a ridge, dips into creek valleys, crosses waterfalls, and wraps around steep mountains with rock outcroppings. This trail can be tackled in a single day, or it can be done with an overnight at one of the backcountry campsites along the way.

Parking for the Gahuti Trail is on the far west side of the park. A large lot with an information board, map, pavilions, a picnic area, flushing restrooms, and potable water are all here. Running water is seasonal. The closest trailhead to the lot is where the Gahuti Trail crosses the road. Follow the orange blazes as shown on the map.

Travelling clockwise, hikers will first encounter a deck looking northward into the Cohutta Mountains. A sign and wooden map at a small parking area are encountered before heading into undeveloped parts of the park. A bridge over a creek and the first backcountry campsite are the next points of interest in this section of trail, and it then crosses over the main park road.

A mountain bike trail runs across this leg of the Gahuti Trail, and shortly after there will be a clearing to the left with a bench just off trail. This nice view of the southeast makes a great snack stop. Further ahead are several more intersections, but continue following the orange blazes. The white blazed Goldmine Creek Trail is a short loop on the right that leads to a lake. Another backcountry campsite is identified to the left.

After crossing another park road, the trail runs along the top of a short and steep ledge that runs along the mountainside and leads to several waterfalls. Depending on recent rains, these waterfalls can be either a small trickle or a roaring torrent. The Big Rock Trail and a secondary loop both lead off to the park's primitive campgrounds. After this section the trail finishes it's return to the parking area with a slow and steady uphill climb through the forest.

Logistics + Planning

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

General Day Use Fee

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Easy-access backcountry. Well maintained. Good views. Wildlife.

Cons

Bear activity in the fall.

Trailhead Elevation

2,655.00 ft (809.24 m)

Highest point

2,740.00 ft (835.15 m)

Features

Flushing toilets
Near lake or river
Backcountry camping
Wildlife

Typically multi-day

No

Permit required

No

Location

Field Guide

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