Amicalola Hiking Trail for Mobility Challenged Hikers Near Big Canoe

Many hiking trails in the North Georgia area are rated for hikers in the low-moderate skill level up to strenuous but a few are in the easy category. The easy trails are known as “soft trails” because they are built on the forest floor with a path a few feet wide containing as few obstructions as possible. For the average ability hiker, these trails are perfect for getting out into nature but mobility-challenged hikers and families with small children can find few trails in county or state parks that they can use as trails are seldom built especially for their use.

The Amicalola Access Site Handicap Trail off of Rt. 53 between the Foothills Shopping Center and Dawsonville was designed and built to accommodate the mobility-challenged hiker. This wooden platform trail was designed to American Disability Act (ACT) Standards with a hard surface, a bench every 200 feet and no slope that exceeds 8.33 degrees for more than 30 feet. The trail begins at the handicap parking lot in the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Amicalola Access Site and follows the scenic Amicalola River for one-half mile to the End of the World Rapids. An observation platform allows the hikers to watch the canoes and kayaks run the Class Three rapids. When the river level is down, you can climb out on the rocks and watch the river flow by.

This $100,000 trail was supported by a federal grant and private local funding. The Mountain Stewards were instrumental in getting the park built. It is just another example of what can be accomplished when you have a dedicated group trying to preserve our pristine mountain area for the use of others. Many Big Canoe home owners who are active in this group also volunteer to map and maintain the 30 miles of hiking trails in Big Canoe.