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Laurel Ridge Trail to Buford Dam to GA 20: off trail hike

The Basics:
Event Type:Hike
Event Location: Buford   Hike: Laurel Ridge Trail to Buford Dam to GA 20: off trail hike  National Weather Service Forecast
Date(s) & Time:Sun, Feb 26 2017  9:00 am >> Sun, Feb 26 2017 2:00 pm
Registration Opens: Fri, Feb 17 2017 9:00 pm
Registration Cut Off: Sat, Feb 25 2017 6:00 pm
Event Duration:5 Hours
Difficulty Rating:D4: Moderate to Difficult (Exploratory)
Distance:10 Miles
Trip Leader(s):
Jerry K
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Member Cost:None

Participant Info:
Who's Invited: Members Only, 21 And Older Only
Maximum Group Size:12
Minimum Group Size:3
Number Registered So Far: 10 / 0 (To see who's signed up, log in to the Member Area)
Are Dogs Permitted: No

Note: This is an "EXPLORATORY" trip. This means that there are parts of this trip, or perhaps the whole trip, that is new to your Trip Leader(s). However, they are confident that this will not be an issue.
This note is here so that you can make an informed decision. When a Trip Leader isn't personally familiar with a trip, there is an increased chance of things not going as planned and you need to be prepared. The Trip Leader may have additional details in the itinerary.


Join us as we explore an extension of the Laurel Ridge Trail. We will be exploring unmarked trails that follow the Chattahoochee River to Hwy 20. We start off on the Laurel Ridge trail and take it to the river just south of Buford Dam. Then we hit the open woods. This exploratory trail has several small creeks and ravines to be traversed, log bridges to be crossed, and climbing sections. As the crow flies, it's about three miles through the woods to get to Hwy 20 but it's not easy to do three straight miles. Once we get to the large ravines, the group tends to split in to smaller groups and cross in several different places and gather on the other side. The saltier of the group cross towards the river where the banks are steeper and the crossing is more technical. Or the further back you trek from the river, the more narrow the ravine. Teamwork is sometimes the name of the game while crossing. Some folks may get 9 miles and some 10 or 11. Your TLs have done most of this hike; we've seen Hwy 20 from the trail but didn't go quite that far as we ran out of time. 

Water levels and current weather will determine the difficulty of the terrain. This is definitely not a beginner hike. You need balance and a good bit of upper body strength to pull yourself up embankments grabbing roots, ropes or a fellow hiker's arm. The effort is well worth it. If you have them, waterproof shoes are recommended. It is also advisable to wear clothes you don't mind getting wet, muddy or pulled on briars. We're mostly bushwhacked or following along deer trails. The water should not be more than ankle or calf deep in the deepest of sections. With careful footwork, you can stay dry.

We'll stop for a short break once we make it to Hwy 20. Bring a snack or small lunch.

 Dogs are not permitted per Lake Lanier Authority 

Required Items to Bring:


good hiking footwear

appropraite clothing

Recommended Items to Bring:
Use our Event Checklists to make sure you have everything you need.


How to Get There:
Event Directions:

From I85, head north and take the I 985 exit. Continue a little under 4 miles on I 985 until Exit 4. At the top of the ramp take a left onto SR 20. Proceed about 5.5 miles on SR 20 and take a right onto Suwanee Dam Road, which dead ends after 2.2 miles when it reaches Buford Dam Road. Take a left onto Buford Dam Road, and proceed 1 mile. The Lower Overlook parking will be on your right. If you reach Buford Dam you have gone too far.

From 400 - exit 14, go east to Samples Rd. Turn left on Samples and follow to Buford Dam rd. Turn right onto Buford Dam and continue east. immediately after crossing the dam look for Lower Overllok parking on your left.

* We encourage all members to follow our Etiquette Guidelines while participating in AOC events.

Cancellation/Partial Attendance:   Please review the AOC cancellation policy.