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Laurel Ridge Trail and Bowmans Island

The Basics:
Event Type:Hike
Event Location: Buford, GA   Hike: Laurel Ridge Trail and Bowmans Island  National Weather Service Forecast
Date(s) & Time:Sun, Feb 23 2020  9:30 am >> Sun, Feb 23 2020 2:30 pm  (Carpool Departure: 8:30 am   *log in for location*)
Registration Opens: Mon, Feb 17 2020 12:00 pm
Registration Cut Off: Sat, Feb 22 2020 9:02 pm
Event Duration:5 Hours
Difficulty Rating:D3: Moderate
Distance:8.5 Miles
Trip Leader(s):
Kim S
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Member Cost:None

Participant Info:
Who's Invited: Members Only, 21 And Older Only
Maximum Group Size:10
Minimum Group Size:3
Number Registered So Far: 11 / 0 (To see who's signed up, log in to the Member Area)
Are Dogs Permitted: No


The Laurel Ridge Trail at Buford Dam Park takes advantage of Lake Lanier's shoreline in the forested areas around the dam. We will meet at the Lower Overlook Parking area before heading east away from the dam at a moderate pace. We'll complete much of the 4.5 miles of the loop before we cross the Hooch below the spillway to connect to the Bowmans Island trail of the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area (CRNRA). This 3.7 mile in/out trail runs parallel to the river below the lake until it reaches the Buford trout hatchery. This impressive DNR operation supplies the Chattahoochee and other GA trout waters with a half a million brown and rainbow trout each year.

We will grab a snack somewhere along the way and then double back at trail's end near the Hatchery to return upriver at our crossing below the dam and then rejoin the Laurel Ridge Trail. We will complete our last short leg to end at the Lower Overlook parking lot for a total of aproximately 8.5 miles.

Note: There will be some ups and downs through potentially muddy areas, especially following rain, so please wear good grippy shoes/boots that won't slip. Bring a hearty snack and enough water to stay hydrated.


Required Items to Bring:
  • Water or other hydration drink
  • Sturdy hiking boots/shoes
  • Trekking poles
  • Snack


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

Raingear in case of a sprinkle.

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. 

Carpool to Event Distance (round trip):48Mile(s)
Carpool Departure Time: 8:30 am
Carpool Location:   Log in for location
Carpool Directions:   Log in for directions
Carpool Cost: Estimated cost per vehicle for this event is $19.20 using a reimbursement rate guideline of $0.400 per mile. The total amount should be divided by the number of people in the vehicle, including the driver. This is a guideline, not a rule, for drivers but the cost should not be higher unless there are extenuating circumstances.


Dogs are not allowed on the trails at Buford Dam Park.

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

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