Apr 26, 2012 by DailyPuppyCharm
Hiking with Your Dog encourages both the dog and owner(s), perhaps even a friend or two to get out and take a hike! But before you run off to the nearest trail (where dogs are allowed) please follow these safety precautions because there is nothing better than a well-behaved dog and prepared owner on the trail.
1) Your dog should be trained to walk well and quietly on a leash.
2) You should be able to control your dog if any circumstances arise.
3) Pick-up after your dog’s poop and dispose of it properly.
4) Bring water for both you and your dog.
5) Plan ahead! Do your research or ask park officials if pets are allowed, if it’s an on-leash or off-leash trail and if trail conditions are suitable.
One cold November night in the Blood Mountain Wilderness in north Georgia, Steve Goodrich and his wife Ashley had to wrap themselves around their yellow lab, Rebel, under one sleeping bag. It was the last time they would fail to anticipate their dog's special needs on the trail.
Since then, Rebel and the Goodriches have hiked thousands of miles together in Georgia and South Carolina to select the best hikes the states have to offer you and your pooch. Includes information on everything you need to know before you hit the trails with your pup - what to pack for your dog, advice on trail etiquette, and potential doggy dangers.
Here are our top six hiking picks for Georgia & South Carolina this week!
West River Swamp Trail (Cherokee Hills, GA) The West River Swamp Trail is one of three trails in this book within the boundaries of General Coffee State Park. The trail follows blue blazes northbound on a 1.4-mile in-and-out route along the Seventeen Mile River, heading northwest past Dan and Jake Lakes. Although the lakes sound inviting, dogs must be kept on a leash at all times. This is for their protection since the swamp has numerous poisonous snakes (including the water moccasin or cottonmouth, native to this area). The park is no place for the pooch to be wandering aimlessly.
Beaver Trail (Perkins, GA) Magnolia Springs State Park is known for its crystal-clear springs from which seven to nine million gallons of water flow each day into the lake systems of the park. A boardwalk spans this crisp, cool water. The reliable water source led the Confederate Army to use this site during the Civil War as a prison camp for nearly 40,000 Union soldiers. The earthen breastworks of Fort Lawton, built to defend the prison stockade, can still be seen by park visitors. Archaeological surveys are underway, and a museum in Group Shelter 1 contains information on Camp Lawton. Nearby is the Millen National Fish Hatchery, which is no longer operational, but Bo Ginn Aquarium is operated by the park and is a must-see during your visit here. The aquarium is open 9 AM to 4 PM daily and displays numerous native fish species.
East River Swamp Trail (Chatterton, GA) The East River Swamp Trail, one of three trails featured in General Coffee State Park, begins near Picnic Area #1 south of Jake Lake. The in-and-out hike, blazed in pink, heads east across the Seventeen Mile River over an elevated boardwalk that allows hikers and their dogs an opportunity to experience the river ecosystem without getting the paws wet. Wading birds and river otters visit the swamp during the wet season, so keep an eye out for wildlife while you cross the river. Hikers who visit during a dry spring and summer may not see the river, as it can completely dry up during periods of infrequent rain. (Drinking water is available from a public source in the park campground.)
Battlefield Trail (Antioch, SC) Kings Mountain National Military Park commemorates a pivotal and significant victory by American Patriots over American Loyalists during the Southern Campaign of the Revolutionary War. The battle fought on October 7, 1780, destroyed the left wing of Cornwallis’s army and effectively ended Loyalist ascendance in the Carolinas. The victory halted the British advance into North Carolina, forced Lord Cornwallis to retreat from Charlotte into South Carolina, and gave General Nathanael Greene the opportunity to reorganize the American Army. This 1.5-mile hike is marked by wayside exhibits and battle monuments that tell the story of the historic skirmish between patriot and Loyalist troops.
Kings Mountain Nature Trail (Bethany, SC) Kings Mountain State Park rests in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains next to the Kings Mountain National Military Park, a prominent Revolutionary War battle site in the late 1700s. A Living History Farm is located at the state park, which allows visitors to relive the lifestyles of the early pioneers through a replica of a nineteenth-century South Carolina yeoman farm. The farm includes a barn, cotton gin, and blacksmith/carpenter shop. This easy 1.2-mile loop trail begins at the picnic area in Kings Mountain State Park (not at the national park, like the Battlefield Trail and Browns Mountain hikes).
Lake Haigler Trail (Forest Lake, SC) The Anne Springs Close Greenway is a nature preserve opened in 1995 by members of the Close family who have owned the land for over 200 years. The 2300-acre Greenway, located just south of Charlotte, North Carolina, is a beautiful park-like facility that is managed with no assistance from the federal or state government. Annual memberships and day-use fees currently provide the funding to operate the park. Known as the Great Wagon Road, Nation Ford Road, which runs northeast from Lake Haigler, lies within the Anne Springs Close Greenway. European settlers developed this path in the early years of our nation, and learned the route from the Catawba Indians who valued it as an ancient trading route. During the Civil War, the Greenway also hosted Jefferson Davis, who used a plantation home at the northern part of the park as the final meeting place of his cabinet prior to the end of the Civil War.