Hiking Hitchiti Trail

Hiking Hitchiti Trail 1

The Hitchiti Trail is a 3-ish mile trail near Jarrell Plantation that weaves along Falling Creek to the Ocmulgee River. Unlike a lot of trails in the Oconee National Forest*, the Hitchiti has a developed trailhead with a fairly clear path.

*I’ve since checked out other middle Georgia public lands like the Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge, Burgess Mountain Trail, Murder Creek, Scull Shoals, and the Kinnard Creek Trail.

Hiking Hitchiti Trail 2

The path starts pretty obvious and heads into a mix pine / oak / hickory forest.

Hiking Hitchiti Trail 3

After a short walk, it follows Falling Creek, which was a pretty sedimented creek when we went.

Hiking Hitchiti Trail 4

After a bit, the trail got fairly muddy and we doubled back. Once we got back, I found an Oconee National Forest trail audit from the Forest Service in 2012.

Here’s what it says for the physical setting –

Trail is accessed from a nicely developed trailhead in are area managed as an Experimental Forest and Natural Area. A very low level of development, save for a number of bridges, benches, etc. that show evidence of Boy Scout projects. Many areas, especially after FDR intersection, with unnecessarily wet trail location where substantially better options are available

Here’s what it says about the social setting –

Hiking-only, interpretive trail. Interpretive signs are only numbers and depend upon a brochure for environmental education. Low to moderate use on the trail portion prior to road intersection and very low use following the intersection.

And the managerial options (in 2012!) –

Little evidence of maintenance. 3 bridges prior to intersection are all in need of repair and have risk management issues. The longest (>20’) bridge demonstrates no typical FS engineering. No corridor clearing or hazard tree maintenance work completed in some time.

It is a nice potential trail system, especially given its location and proximity to Jarrell Plantation, Macon, and I-75. The US Forest Service just doesn’t have the staff to keep up with demand. But hopefully it will soon.

Until then, I did make a note that camping is not allowed along the Hitchiti since it’s in an experimental part of the forest.

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