The Cohutta-Chattahoochee Scenic Byway is 54 miles of natural beauty and historic discovery in the rural communities surrounding the cities of Dalton and Chatsworth in northwest Georgia. Built into the very fabric and heritage of the land and its people are the scenic, cultural, recreational, archeological, historic and natural treasures often missed on the routes most traveled.
As a linear route with a couple of spurs, hop on the byway at any point. No matter which direction you travel, there is something to find. To be sure all points of interest are covered, we will start at the northern-most point just outside of the town of Cohutta.
“AN’T NO PLACE LIKE COHUTTA”
Don’t miss this charming little town featuring the Red Wolf Grill, Cohutta General Store, Downtown Creamy, historic landmarks, and the unique Cohutta Presbyterian Church with its circular and sloped seating in the sanctuary and beautiful stained glass windows. Driving north on Red Clay Road you will see a sign indicating the beginning of the byway. The first of three trailheads is located here at the park across from the Cohutta Fishery. Take the time to read the kiosk signage to understand the intrinsic qualities that designate a Georgia Scenic Byway, and enjoy the park with a picnic or a place to stretch your legs.
In warmer weather, stop at Red Clay Resort for a swim in a true “cement pond.” This spring-fed swimming hole is a local favorite and sure cool you nicely on a hot summer day.
Just before the byway takes a right turn looking toward the mountain range, continue straight ahead across the state line into Tennessee and visit Red Clay Park, the last council ground of the Eastern Band of Cherokee before the Trail of Tears. The Eternal Flame burns day and night. Cabin replicas, the Blue Hole and interpretive center tell the story. Enjoy the nature trails to immerse yourself in this sacred land of the Cherokee.
PRATER’S MILL HISTORIC DISTRICT
From Cohutta follow the byway route through pastoral farmlands with a glimpse into rural Georgia life. Once you come to GA Hwy 2, take the spur right to historic Prater’s Mill and surrounding 60+ acres of Coahulla Creek, nature trails, and a preserve with a natural rookery where Great Blue Herons have been raising their babies. The 1855 grist mill operates during the annual Prater’s Mill Country Fair each October, but the grounds are open year-round. Bring your fishing pole for a relaxing time along the creek, take family photos in a historic setting, or explore the trails and do some bird watching. Prater’s Mill is the second trailhead along the scenic byway. Link: Prater’s Mill
Leave Prater’s Mill head east on GA Hwy 2 following the signs that lead you to the base of Grassy and Fort Mountains. Be sure to take the short drive to experience Cohutta Springs Conference Center and Resort tucked away on a lake and surrounded by the beautiful foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Plan ahead for an overnight stay. Continue the byway and take the spur into the Chattahoochee National Forest along Holly Creek spur where you can stop to enjoy the water, eat a picnic lunch, or just enjoy the immersive mountain surroundings. Back to the main route make your way to GA Hwy 52 where a left turn takes you up Fort Mountain. The overlook is a must-do for amazing vistas that make a great selfie spot. Not too much further is the entrance to Fort Mountain State Park. Trails, a tower, and a mysterious rock wall must be on your list to discover. Again, plan ahead and make this your overnight destination. If you want a more upscale experience, continue on to the Overlook Inn Bed and Breakfast and Wilderness View Cabins. Link: Fort Mountain
Plan ahead for overnight stays during the fall and special occasions as these times are quite popular. But no matter what time of year you explore the Cohutta-Chattahoochee Scenic Byway, you will always find something to see and do. See ya on the Byway! For more information: Cohutta-Chattahoochee Scenic Byway