Print-Friendly Version
Add this event to your calendar (Outlook, iCalendar)
Add REGISTRATION REMINDER to your calendar

REGISTRATION REQUIRED: Once you've reviewed the event details, and decided you'd like to join us, you MUST sign up at the bottom of this page.

Estelle Mine, Pocket Loop, and Wildflower Trails

The Basics:
Event Type:Hike
Event Location: Crockford-Pigeon WMA   Hike: Estelle Mine, Pocket Loop, and Wildflower Trails  National Weather Service Forecast
Date(s) & Time:Sat, Apr 26 2014  10:00 am >> Sat, Apr 26 2014 5:00 pm  (Carpool Departure: 8:00 am   *log in for location*)
Registration Opens: Sun, Apr 20 2014 8:48 pm
Registration Cut Off: Thu, Apr 24 2014 8:48 pm
Event Duration:7 Hours
Difficulty Rating:D4: Moderate to Difficult (Exploratory)
Distance:13 Miles
Trip Leader(s):
Email Trip Leader(s)
You must be logged in to get the Trip Leader contact information.
Member Cost:None

Participant Info:
Who's Invited: Members Only, 21 And Older Only
Maximum Group Size:16
Minimum Group Size:4
Number Registered So Far: 15 / 0 (To see who's signed up, log in to the Member Area)
Are Dogs Permitted: Yes

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.


Pigeon Mountain is a beautiful plateau just west of the city of La Fayette, Georgia. The mountain is part of the Cumberland Plateau, which stretches from Alabama through Georgia and into Tennessee. The name "Pigeon" comes from the passenger pigeon which once nested here in great numbers and is now extinct.

The Crockford-Pigeon Wildlife Management Area is 16,400 acres and encompasses most of Pigeon Mountain. The area is known for its many caves and geological rock formations, as well as lookouts, waterfalls, wildflowers, and springs. The WMA has nearly 100 miles of various trails designated for hiking, biking, equestrian, or multi-use.

The Crockford-Pigeon WMA is a GORP (Georgia Outdoor Recreational Pass) WMA – meaning that a GORP is required for entry or any activities within the WMA. We will have two “small group” GORP passes; enough to cover everyone on the event, so you will NOT have to purchase a GORP if you don't already have one.

The Hike:
We will hike along 5 different trails in the area to form loop of approximately 12 miles. The first part of the hike will be along the Shirley Miller Wildflower Trail located in “The Pocket”. We should be there for mid-late blooming of the magnificent wildflowers. This unique area is home to at least a dozen species of flowers which can only be found in Georgia at this particular location, as well as many other specimens which you may be familiar. I am not a wildflower expert, so you won't hear me giving you the local and Latin names of flowers; however, you don't have to be an expert to appreciate their beauty.

After reaching the end of the Wildflower Trail, we will arrive at Pocket Falls... a very nice waterfall cascading over a sandstone bluff. There is a hidden cave behind the waterfall, and it is our full intention to go behind the falls and find it.

We will then hike out of “The Pocket” and ascend about 600-800 feet to reach the top of the plateau on Pigeon Mountain. From there we will hike along the rim taking in the view from a few overlooks. After a few miles we will then begin our descent down the north side of the mountain on a couple unknown (to us) trails until we reach the Estelle Mine Trail.

The last portion of our hike will take us along the Estelle Mine Trail, which is, in part, on an old abandoned narrow gauge railway used to transport the iron ore which was mined here in the past. This portion of the hike is very cool and unique as we will go through 4 – 5 tunnels, some well over 100 feet in length. Although you can “see the light at the end of the tunnel” in each of these, it gets pretty dark when inside, – too dark to see the very rocky ground on which you are trodding; or falling on, if you don't bring your headlamp or flashlight.

The following is a Youtube video which shows much of the Estelle Mine Trail, some of “The Pocket”, and “Pocket Falls”. Although the music, by Patty Lovelace, is about coal mining “holler” in KY, it seems very fitting for the mining history of this area.

This is a photo album of a trip Aaron, Jimmy, and I took to Pigeon Mtn earlier this year.


Although one or both of your Trip Leaders have been to the area and completed most sections of this hike, there are a couple sections which we have not done. Therefore, this event is listed as Exploratory. If you don't have a sense of adventure, then this hike may not be for you.

After your hike the trip leaders will be eating at Pigeon Mountain Grill, just a few miles from the trailhead. If you do not wish to join them make sure you check with your carpool driver/riders prior to departing the carpool.

Optional (non-event) Camping / Activities:
At least a few of us will be leaving Friday afternoon, camping two nights and staying through Sunday afternoon. Although the "official" hike is on Saturday, we're keeping Friday evening, Saturday evening, and all day Sunday with a very flexible schedule (non-event) which can include a Rocktown hike, Nichols Cove Falls, mountain biking, a night hike, take a dip in the Blue Hole spring, cave exploration (for those into that), bocce ball, or just relaxing. There's a very wide variety of things to do at C-P. And of course, we will have an awesome, large, bonfire each evening. Hopefully some of you can join us for one or both evenings. If you are interested, please send an email, and we will provide additional details. None of these “optional” activities are part of the AOC event, so it's very flexible as to how much, or little, of it you do.

Required Items to Bring:
  • Good hiking shoes/boots
  • Headlamp or Flashlight
  • Plenty of water or sports drink
  • Lunch and snacks
  • Sense of adventure
  • A positive attitude
Recommended Items to Bring:
Use our Event Checklists to make sure you have everything you need.
  • Insect repellant
  • Sun Screen
  • Emergency rain gear
  • Bacon

How to Get There:
Event Directions:

Will be provided at carpool.

For those wishing to camp, directions will be provided to the campsite, or trailhead, depending on when you will arrive.

Carpool to Event Distance (round trip):178Mile(s)
Carpool Departure Time: 8:00 am
Carpool Location:   Log in for location
Carpool Directions:   Log in for directions
Carpool Cost: Estimated cost per vehicle for this event is $71.20 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.



  1. Your Trip Leaders will already be at the event location, so a carpool coordinator will be determined after registration opens.
  2. If you will be camping, or spending time with us beyond the hike, please put "meet at event" when you register. We will attempt to put people in touch with one another who have similar travel schedules, such that they can arrange their own carpools if desired.


Optional pre/post-event activities:

If you wish to spend one or two nights camping with us, please send Aaron and I an email, and let us know of your plans. At minumum include when you will be arriving/leaving. No reservations are required for camping at C-P, although a GORP pass is required. We will have two small group GORPs, so as long as you are with us, you will be covered.

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

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