Pine Log Creek trail in Bartow County is rugged, but compact soil surfaces and minimal rocks make for easy tread throughout your journey. This is one of the newest trails on the scene, which opened in 2007 on 275 acres of protected land in Bartow County. You'll frequently find yourself hiking in isolation, despite its proximity to the city of Cartersville. The Pine Log Creek trail should not be confused with its neighboring trail systems- Pine Mountain Recreation Area. Both are located in Cartersville.
The Parking Lot Lead Trail (0.46 mi.) begins as an overgrown dirt road but quickly leads to a creek crossing. Once over a log footbridge the trail turns into flat single track. You'll travel amidst a pine forest, your footsteps cushioned by needles on the forest floor. The first junction you reach is the beginning of the West Loop Trail (2.12 miles).
Choose right if you want to ease into your hike, or fork left if you want to get your heart rate going. By turning right on the West Loop Trail, you'll traverse the ridge by several rock outcroppings and a picturesque stream. By turning left, you'll follow the trail as it climbs through a series of switchbacks and you'll arrive at a lookout area with great views of the surrounding Appalachian foothills. The trail continues for a short while before descending the other side down more switchbacks. The scenery is rewarding as the trail leads you through the woods and over another creek crossing before meeting up with East Loop Trail.
The East Loop Trail (1.45 miles) crosses a short bridge then forks where the loop begins. To the left is the shorter route to the old C.C.C. Quarry Pond. Fork right, and you'll climb past a few vantage points before reaching the Quarry Trail (0.03 mi.).
What Makes It Great
Throughout the two loop hikes, you'll cross over 7 wooded foot bridges. Their presence is subtle, but necessary in the warm months when you'll want to take a quick dip in the stream crossings. The scenery varies from moderate inclines and descents to fields of large boulders. Black eyed susan ferns and airy stands of hardwoods line the trails. The two main overlooks offer a view of Pine Log Mountain- one of the highest elevations in Bartow County's Appalachian foothills-, andPine Log Cherokee Indian Village. Both of these are accessed off the East Loop Trail, where the Pine Log Mountain overlook acts as welcoming break on the switchbacks up the mountain. The Pine Log Cherokee Indian Village mimics a typical countryside valley. Many hikers enjoy stopping at the Civilian Conservation Corps quarry pond off the East Loop Trail. It is one of the highlights of this trail system and a great spot to stop and take a breather before heading back. Take a few moments to sit and look out over the pond, where rocks jut out from the water, lending itself to a geometric presence in nature. Look out for turtles sunbathing on the banks. Enjoy the moment.
Who is Going to Love It
The maximum elevation gain is 420 total feet, making the climb easy. With few trail technicalities, families will find this an easy hiking escape in the foothills of Appalachian territory. Pups will enjoy the smooth terrain on their paws and the creek crossings, where they can romp through the water. Anyone who thrives on loop trails will take pleasure in the two loops, offering plenty of trail to hike without retracing your steps.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
The trail is easy access off I-75. Take Exit 293 and drive on GA 140 east toward Waleska. Continue approximately three miles to Pine Log Creek Trail System parking area on left. There are no bathroom facilities at the trailhead, but plenty of trees to do your business behind. Dogs are allowed but mountain bikes and horseback riding is not permitted. Trails are maintained year-round.