Hiking Pine Log Creek

This might be the best view on this hike. Photo by me, May 2016

By late June I know that hiking in the south is more hard work than pleasure until the cooler weather in late September begins to return. It was Memorial Day weekend of 2016 and I knew it was already getting uncomfortable this year to be climbing hills and pushing on for more miles but I did it anyway. I had planned this hike near Rydal, Georgia for a couple of weeks so despite a weather forecast of temperatures near 90 and the humidity making it feel closer to 100 degrees I was determined to head out that morning.

Shall we go for a hike? A foot bridge over Pine Log Creek. Photo by me, May 2016.

Go high or go low? At some trail junctions you just have to guess which way to go. Photo by me, May 2016.

The entire trail system at Pine Log Creek consists of just over four miles spread out over the east and west loops, the approach trail and the quarry trail. Four miles isn't that much of a hike in my estimation but when the trails are in many places cut straight up hills with few switchbacks then those four miles are much more difficult than they should be.

C.C.C. quarry. Photo by me, May 2016.
C.C.C. quarry. Photo by me, May 2016.
C.C.C. quarry. Photo by me, May 2016.

The highlight of this hike is the C.C.C. (Civilian Conservation Corps) quarry. So if the works of the C.C.C. interest you then this makes this a worthy hike. The quarry now filled with water is a tranquil place and a good spot to take a rest and climb around on the large boulders. I would be careful of snakes here as I saw several slither into the water while I was exploring the quarry.

One of the few views on this trail. In the far distance to the southeast is Pine Log Mountain. Photo by me, May 2016.
You never truly break free from the tree canopy on this trail. Photo by me, May 2016.

The trail system here isn't much different than the woods you might find out behind any suburban Atlanta home. The highest elevation on the trails is just over 1,200 feet above sea level. The scenery aside from the quarry isn't remarkable. The trails as badly as they are cut are straight up and down hills with few switchbacks during the elevation gains and the views are only minimal as you never break free from the thick tree canopy. I would consider this trail system more of a fitness trail or a nature walk than a hiking trail for scenic views.

One of the copperhead snakes I saw that day. Photo by me, May 2016.
A gray rat snake that crossed the trail in front of me, Photo by me, May 2016.

Again watch for snakes here in warmer weather. I encountered two copperheads and a gray rat snake on the trails and on the rocks by the quarry.

This dead tree was directly over the trail just waiting to take out someone. Photo by me, May 2016.
Up near the top of the trail there are lots of short needle pines blocking any view. Photo by me, May 2016.

I did have a bit of bad luck on this hike. About thirty minutes in my hike I dropped my water and it all spilled out onto the forest floor. I was already too far into the climb to head back to the car, get the rest of my water and start the hike over. So I forged ahead without water the rest of the day and that made for one long hike in that weather. By the time I got back to the car I had a headache probably due to dehydration and couldn't drink the water quick enough. This was another reason for me to not enjoy this hike that day.

A tree with a disease. I thought the diseased growth looked like a human brain. Photo by me, May 2016.
Some color in the understory of the woods. Photo by me, May 2016.
Sometimes when the hike isn't giving you great views you have to look a little closer to the ground to find the beauty. Photo by me, May 2016.
Photo by me, May 2016.
Photo by me, May 2016.

Count the tree rings. Photo by me, May 2016.
The namesake of this trail system, Pine Log Creek. Photo by me, May 2016.
 Despite the weather, the lack of drinkable water and views it was still a day of appreciating nature and finding beauty in small doses. So I would never discourage anyone from taking a walk whether it is in the middle of the city or in the middle of nowhere as it is the best thing you can do for the mind.

The Pine Log Creek Trail system is located off Highway 140 near the town of Rydal on the Bartow and Cherokee County line. From Atlanta the drive is about an hour north depending on traffic and construction. There is no fee for parking.