Playing in Wide Open Spaces
Ellijay, which is located in Gilmer County is the idyllic peaceful valley that is surrounded by majestic Blue Ridge Mountains. Every Fall it is “The Pick” for everyone to enjoy being the “Apple Capital” of Georgia, providing more than 600,000 bushels of delicious mountain grown apples each year.
What makes Ellijay more unique is the variety of outdoor recreational opportunities that makes it a great place for playing in wide open spaces.
One hundred plus miles of single-track mountain biking trails have earned Gilmer County the official designation as Georgia’s “Mountain Biking Capital” No off season here, with maintained year-round trails that are kept by volunteers and biking associations. Trails like Bear Creek or Pinhoti offer six to ten mile rides for intermediate to advanced riders.
The beautiful waterways of the Cartecay Rivers as they come together to form the Coosawattee River. Smaller creeks like Turniptown and Mountaintown offer outdoor enthusiasts another scenic backdrop. The Cartecay’s natural progression form flat-water to Class III rapids and many of the waterways have plenty of play spots for paddlers, kayaks, canoeing, or tubing.
Nearby Carters Lake is one of the deepest reservoir lakes in the North Georgia Mountains, at a depth of 450 ft., surface area of 3,200 acres and 62 miles around the shore. The lake is fed by the Coosawattee River out of Ellijay and is located in both Gilmer and Murray Counties. The sparkling waters offer a variety of outdoor recreational opportunities including camping, hiking, bird watching, boating, mountain biking, fishing, hunting and picnicking.
Several campgrounds with many amenities are located around Carters Lake including Doll Mountain, Woodring Branch, and Harris Branch Beach. Hiking and biking trails are located in various areas around the lake. Big Acorn Trail (easy) begins at the Carters Lake Visitor Center that displays incredible views of the lake and information on area wildlife, flora, and fauna. Talking Rock Nature Trail (moderate) is one of the longest at two miles and boasts a variety of trees and ferns on the lake. Oak Ridge Nature Trail (moderate) is located in Woodring Branch Park and splits into two loops that are both about half mile walks. Tumbling Waters Nature Trail (easy/moderate) is off Ridgeway Park and overlooks the cascading waters of Tails Creek, just slightly over a mile. Hidden Pond Songbird Trail (easy) begins in various areas around the lake for the novice to the advanced to have a day to enjoy the scenic beauty.
Local Agra-culture includes over six wineries in the Gilmer County area and each year the Winegrowers Association of Georgia hosts a Wine Highway Weekend. Fall brings Corn Mazes, Pumpkin Patches, and the many apple orchards that open to the public. The picturesque valley along State Hwy. 52 East, known to locals as “Apple Alley”. Other apple orchards are located on Hwy. 76 North / S.R. 282 and Hwy. 515. They offer a year-round selection of baked goods, including apple pies, fritters, cookies, breads and local crafts. Orchard houses also include fresh grown local peaches, nectarines, produce, jams, ciders and juice. Several orchards feature “Pick Your Own Apples” and give you the full experience of the beauty and taste fresh from the tree.
Discover the simple pleasures of small town life as Ellijay is a true “ Main Street” community where you’ll find the town square beautifully accented with brick-lined sidewalks and a round-a-bout traffic circle by the courthouse. Quaint shops fill the downtown with antiques, art galleries and unique restaurants.
Kids of all ages will enjoy the River Park on the banks of the Coosawattee River, which offers picnic areas, tennis courts and walking trails along the river. Whitepath offers an 18-hole golf course with driving range and practice green.
If you like to explore the wilderness you will find miles of trails for hiking, biking, backpacking, camping and horseback riding including nearby Amicalola Falls and Fort Mountain State Park to experience this natural wonderland.
Whether you are on vacation or a weekend getaway destination, “Pick” Ellijay to get a taste of mountain trails, beautiful waterways, and wide open spaces of recreational activities that will keep you coming back.
For more information about Ellijay, call 706-334-2248 or visit www.GilmerChamber.com for your visit to Ellijay and surrounding areas.