Pine Mountain Trail – FDR State Park - Backpacking

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About

Summary

Pine Mountain is an anomaly in the relatively flat topography found south of Atlanta. At just over 1,300 feet, Pine Mountain is a rare puncture into the southern Georgia skyline. With little elevation gain across 23 miles, the Pine Mountain Trail (PMT) lends backpackers a relief from the continuous climbs of the southern Appalachians on this backcountry trail.

Written by

Jennifer Shamp

Distance

23.0 miles

Destination Distance From Downtown

34.2 miles

Difficulty

2 of 5 diamonds

Time To Complete

3 days

Seasonality

Spring, Summer, and Fall

Dog Friendly

Yes

Fees Permits

Yes

Permits ($10.00) are issued on a first-come/first-served basis. For more information on other parking areas at connector trails click here. You will also need a GA State Park pass ($50 annual) or a daily pass ($5.00).

Land Website

Pine Mountain Trail

Review

Intro

With your choice of over 16 backcountry campsites, F.D. Roosevelt State Park offers a multitude of backpacking options. For the ultimate trip, stride along the 23-mile Pine Mountain Trail. Backpackers can wander through old and new growth hardwood forests while making a stop where FDR himself came to reflect and enjoy a view at Dowdell’s Knob.

What Makes It Great

Each campsite has its unique views of the forest and mountain. Depending on your backpacking preferences, there is a campsite to fit your style. Sparks Creek and Beech Bottom campsites sit closest to the water while Turtle Bluff, Big Oak Springs, and Brown Dog may offer the most solitude given their distance from the trail. Pine Mountain is suitable for both beginner and experienced backpackers as several campsites are accessible by a hike-in of less than 5 miles from connector trails. The Pine Mountain Association has done a thorough job of providing detail for each backcountry campsite.

Pay particular attention to your site of choice as those without fire rings do not allow campfires. Some sites offer space for groups and all offer the potential for nighttime sounds of coyotes calling out in the night. You can make each backpacking experience unique by changing up your trail and campsite choice each time you return.

Who is Going to Love It

Backpackers who enjoy hiking with less elevation yet still enjoy the endurance experience will find Pine Mountain Trail a welcomed escape. The almost apocalyptic feel is not lost on many who hike the trail. The landscape may appear to be neglected by nature, but in fact an F2 tornado crumpled forest creatures’ homes and habitats in 2011. Thanks to nature and many volunteers these habitats are now on the rebound as evidenced by the varied wildlife found returning to the 8 areas that had been hit.

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

There are two parking lots at the Park office where you will need to purchase permits required for all backcountry campsites within FDR State Park. If you choose to begin your hike at the eastern terminus or for your shuttle vehicle, park at WJSP-TV tower on GA85 West (you will still need to obtain a permit). Permits ($10.00) are issued on a first-come/first-served basis. For more information on other parking areas at connector trails click here. You will also need a GA State Park pass ($50 annual) or a daily pass ($5.00).

Location

Pine Mountain Recreation Area

Cartersville, GA, 30121
34.175244, -84.753267

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