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Scenic Covered Bridge Hike at Watson Mill

The Basics:
Event Type:Hike
Event Location: Watson Mill Bridge State Park
Date(s) & Time:Sat, Jan 29 2011  11:00 am >> N/A  (Carpool Departure: 9:30 am   *log in for location*)
Registration Opens: Mon, Jan 24 2011 8:00 pm
Registration Cut Off: Fri, Jan 28 2011 11:00 pm
Event Duration:7 hours
Difficulty Rating:D2: Easy to Moderate
Trip Leader(s):
Lisa Maldonado
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Member Cost:None

Participant Info:
Who's Invited: Members Only, 21 And Older Only
Maximum Group Size:20
Minimum Group Size:8
Number Registered So Far: 19 / 0 (To see who's signed up, log in to the Member Area)
Are Dogs Permitted: No

Known as one of the most picturesque state parks in Georgia, Watson Mill Bridge contains the longest covered bridge in the state, spanning 229 feet across the South Fork River. Built in 1885 by Washington (W.W.) King, son of freed slave and famous covered-bridge builder, Horace King, the bridge is supported by a town lattice truss system held firmly together with wooden pins. At one time, Georgia had more than 200 covered bridges; today, less than 20 remain.
We will explore the 7 miles of trails in Watson Mill State Park.
There are a few loop trails in this scenic state park. Bring a camera. We will be stopping along the way to take photos. This is an explorer hike. We will attempt to explore all 7 miles of trails.



NATURE TRAIL 2 miles of nature trails run along the south side of the South Fork River and Big Clouds Creek. Portions of the trails wander through the historical portions of the park along the old powerhouse sluiceway, also know as a raceway. This man-made waterway channel is about 300 yards long and runs from the old dam just below the covered bridge to a second dam just above the foundation of the old powerhouse. The powerhouse generated electricity for a textile mill 10 miles away in Crawford, GA, for nearly half a century, beginning in 1905. The overlook at the head of this trail affords a view of the covered bridge and shoals below. At this site, the original Watson’s Mill, gone by the end of the 1800s, once sat. The rest of the trails beyond the old powerhouse ruin meander through the woods along the banks of the river and creek and pass by the camping areas.



BIKING & HIKING TRAIL six feet wide 2.5-mile loop trail runs along the north side of the South Fork River and is one of the most popular trails for hiking, mountain biking, and jogging. The trail meanders through hardwood and mixed forests and provides one of the best views of the lower shoals of the river. About half way around the loop is an overlook at the edge of what was once a natural beaver pond. Over the years, natural succession has taken place and the former pond area has now become a meadow. It most likely will eventually become part of the forest. Will it ever be a pond again? Only time, Mother Nature and the beavers will tell.

For the mountain biker, this trail is not overly technical as it is designed for beginners and intermediates. There are a few fairly steep grades. The entire trail is under shaded canopy. Whether you hike or bike, you will see a lot of biodiversity in the various types of environments the trail covers.

This six feet wide 1.5-mile loop trail runs up Beaver Creek and over a high ridge back through the hardwood forests on its return. The creek was once the site of several beaver ponds. The beavers left this creek area in the mid 1990s after a period of heavy downpours washed away the beaver dams. They now are most often seen in the river. As time goes on, the beavers may return. But even so, this area is an important wetland habitat. Birding opportunities abound on all trails, but especially on the trails on the north side of the river. This trail is for hiking, biking, and jogging. At the head of where the beaver ponds once began, there is a short rocky section and the entire trail is under shaded canopy.

RIDGE LOOP TRAIL six feet wide .75 mile trail begins in sight of the covered bridge where Beaver Creek dumps into the South Fork River. If you look carefully, to the right of the trail as it begins to climb up the ridge, old wheel ruts from “buggy days” can be seen when a horse and wagon was the mode of transportation. Ferns can now be seen growing in the old ruts. While heavily wooded with big trees providing a shaded canopy, the top of the ridge was once planted in cotton in the late 1800s. Much of the park was once in agricultural use whether planted in cotton or fenced for livestock. While this loop is just under a mile, it is also part of the overall trail system that accommodates hikers, mountain bikers, and joggers

Required Items to Bring:
Hiking boots or comfortable shoes
Weather appropriate clothing

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

How to Get There:
Event Directions:650 Watson Mill Road, Comer, GA 30629
GPS Coordinates:
N 34.025000 | W 083.074983
Carpool to Event Distance (round trip):135Mile(s)
Carpool Departure Time: 9:30 am
Carpool Location:   Log in for location
Carpool Directions:   Log in for directions
Carpool Cost: Estimated cost per vehicle for this event is $54.00 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.

There is a $5 parking fee unless the driver has a state park pass
* We encourage all members to follow our Etiquette Guidelines while participating in AOC events.

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