Ready for an adventure? How Forsyth County hiking trails are designed to be fun for all

Ben Lacina

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View at Sawnee Mountain Preserve(Photo/Forsyth County Parks & Rec Facebook page

(Forsyth County, GA) While phones, computers, and other technologies serve as constant sources of entertainment, many people use hiking as a way to get out of the house and take a break from the screens. Forsyth County has plenty of trails and activities to offer where you can reconnect with nature and break a sweat while you’re doing it.

According to the Outdoor Industry Association, hiking is one of the most popular outdoor activities along with running, biking and fishing. With over 21,000 miles of hikeable trails in the United States, hikers all over the nation are indulging in what their scenery has to offer, and Forsyth County residents are no different.

What’s in FoCo?

Forsyth County offers a host of different parks and facilities that can all be found on the Forsyth County Parks & Recreation website. The biggest of these parks is just north of Cumming at Sawnee Mountain Preserve, a park with over 11 miles of wooded trails where visitors can pass abandoned gold mines and overlook the North Georgia mountains atop the popular Indian Seats trail.

One hiker very familiar with the local scenery is Allene Bagwell. She has lived in and explored Forsyth County for over 20 years. Bagwell hikes about once a week mostly on local trails, and she says there are several reasons she loves it beyond the benefits of physical exercise.

“It’s a great mental exercise because being out in nature really clears your head,” Bagwell said. “It’s a great social activity too. If you like to do stuff with your friends, mostly every place is free. Maybe $5 for parking, but it’s very inexpensive.”

Many of these parks offer amenities and activities to make the hiking experience fun for all ages. Matt Community Park has over three miles of trails along with lacrosse and soccer fields, tennis courts, and a playground.

Other attractions include Eagle’s Beak Park - which has 1.3 miles of trails as well as places to launch canoes and kayaks into the Etowah River - or Caney Creek Reserve where you and your furry best friend can enjoy the dog park and hike 1.5 miles of trail.

Lacy Richards, the Administration and Marketing Manager at Forsyth County Parks & Recreation, says as the trails across the county continue to grow in popularity, they will continue to add more to these parks.

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Lake view in Charleston Park(Photo/Forsyth County Parks & Rec website)

What to know before you step out

Bagwell says there is plenty to know before setting out on your first hike, but there are avenues for everyone to have fun and be safe while they are at it. For those who may be apprehensive or are just looking for hiking buddies, there are hiking groups that can be found on Facebook.

For any hiker though, she recommends the AllTrails app which shows users a map of all of the trails around them and provides a GPS to help prevent hikers from getting lost. However, she says the most important factor is what you are wearing on your hike.

“The biggest thing is your proper footwear. My legs are decently strong, but that doesn't mean that my ankles and my feet are. It's really easy to trip and hurt your ankles, sprain them, break them,” said Bagwell.

Taking all of these precautions into consideration, you should be set up for success on your next, or first, hiking excursion. Richards says the people of Forsyth County can benefit from it in all sorts of different ways.

“The trails provide a peaceful and natural environment for people to connect with nature, be active, and spend time with family and friends. We pride ourselves in providing these environments for everyone to enjoy,” said Richards.

If you have a news tip in Forsyth County, contact Ben Lacina at benjaminclacina@gmail.com

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Ben Lacina's writing experience allows him to tackle a myriad of subjects and stories. His background in science helps him use his writing experience to translate complicated topics into understandable content for a wide audience.

Athens, GA
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