Grab your trekking poles and binoculars, lace up those boots and head out for some fresh air and rejuvenation! Hiking along West Point Lake offers the ideal opportunity to get away and disconnect for a while to restore your mind, body and soul. West Point Lake provides various types of trails, from wide concrete walkways to single-track dirt trails. Up for a little mental challenge while hiking? Try identifying flora and fauna along the way.
Chattahoochee Nature Trail – 8.5 Miles (Very Difficult) GA Highway 219, LaGrange, Georgia. The Chattahoochee Nature Trail is a linear trail that runs through the middle of a 6,395-acre forest, spanning from the Chattahoochee WMA in LaGrange to Brush Creek Park in Franklin. This is the ideal trek for a multi-day family backpacking/camping trip. There is primitive camping halfway through the trail, and then a campground at the end of the trail with showers, electricity and water. Park a car at either end of the trail and you’ve got it covered! The majority of this trail is dirt roads, with the latter third being wooded trails. You will bypass ponds and swamps – excellent locations for wildlife viewing – and hike through a large creek and several small streams. This trail is rated as very difficult due to its length, steep inclines, and challenging creek and stream crossings. Be prepared to get wet and muddy. Please be aware that a portion of this trek passes through the Chattahoochee WMA hunting preserve. Be sure to check the hunting schedule before planning your hike. There are three trail entry locations; one at either end of the trail and another on Owensbywille Road at Campground No. 1, which is the halfway point of the trail. Spice up your hike by hiking from Georgia Park to Brush Creek Park, spend the night, and kayak back down river to your vehicle.
Pyne Road Park Nature Trail – 4.2 Miles 4623 (Moderate) 4481 Roanoke Road, LaGrange, Georgia. Pyne Road Park Nature Trail is a loop trail that traverses the wooded portion of the south side of Pyne Road Park. It is a multi-use trail shared between off-road cyclists and hikers.
Beaver Lodge Nature Trail – 1/2 Mile (Easy) Stateline Road, Lanett, Alabama. Beaver Lodge Nature Trail, located within Amity Campground, is a wooded trail that loops a swamp, and is a pristine example of West Point Lake’s ecosystem. The trail features two boardwalks that extend across the swamp, as well as several benches, allowing for ample viewing of marsh vegetation and wildlife. If you’re a birder, this trail should be on your bucket list. Approach the boardwalks quietly and you may see water turtles, wood ducks, great egrets, great blue herons, and more. This trail can be accessed from behind the tennis court at Amity Campground, as well as from the adjoining Alligator Creek Nature Trail on Stateline Road.
Alligator Creek Nature Trail – 1 Mile (Easy/Moderate) 1001 County Road 222, Lanett, Alabama. Alligator Creek Nature Trail is a wide, wooded trail that leads to a swamp at the adjoining Beaver Lodge Trail. This linear trail features 27 acres of mixed pines and hardwoods. There is bench seating at various locations, and pavilion seating about three-quarters of a mile into the trail and within the treeline overlooking a slough. This is an ideal spot for shoreline birding, so don’t forget your binoculars. Birds to be found along this trail are great blue herons, great egrets, the common yellowthroat, swamp sparrow, pileated woodpecker, red-tailed hawk, and the great horned owl. The trail is one mile in and one mile out, with few rocks and roots. There is one significant incline, so bring a trekking pole if you have difficulty stepping high. The trailhead is located on County Road 222, next to Rocky Point Park, with a second entry being accessed from the picnic area within Rocky Point Park, and a third entry behind the tennis courts at Beaver Lodge Nature Trail at Amity Park.
Hardley Creek Walking Trail – 1 Mile (Easy) Stateline Road, Lanett, Alabama. Hardley Creek Walking Trail is a concrete, looping walkway located within Hardley Creek Park at West Point Dam. This walkway is handicap accessible with many benches and rest areas and beautiful views of the Chattahoochee River, and leads to an observation platform at the dam’s powerhouse. The walkway circles the fishing/duck pond and then meanders through open sunny areas as well as shaded areas along the river bank. Hardley Creek Park is a family-oriented park with a duck pond, playground, picnic tables with grills, water fountains, restrooms, and a fishing pond for children and visitors with disabilities. This walkway is ideal for children’s strollers, wheelchairs, and those seeking a level walking surface.
Lakeside Trails – 11 Miles (Difficult) 100 Resource Management Road, LaGrange, Georgia. R. Shaefer Heard Park is the location of Lakeside Trails, a compilation of six mountain biking trails that total 11 miles. For hikers that enjoy a physical challenge, this single-track trail with its rough and rugged terrain is for you. There are many elevation changes, rocks and roots. Trails vary in length and difficulty rating, ranging from a leisurely half-mile stroll to a demanding nine-mile trek. Hike the difficult Hack-N-Yak trail and the payoff is a hilltop view overlooking a rocky outcropping below the dam, a nice location for birding. For detailed descriptions of Lakeside Trails, visit our Biking page.
Earl Cook Nature Trail – 0.6 Miles (Moderate) 1416 Lower Glass’ Bridge Road, LaGrange, Georgia. This is a short, half-mile loop trail, which takes only 15 minutes to walk, but is rated as moderate due elevation changes up to 17 feet. A bench is located at the top of the hill at the halfway point. This trail is open summer through fall.
Brush Creek Nature Trail – 4 Miles (Moderate) 1328 Brush Creek Park Road, Franklin, Georgia. Brush Creek Trail is a linear wooded bushwhacking trail that begins at Brush Creek Park and stretches four miles to Hillabahatchee Creek. Four miles in, four miles out, for a total of eight miles. This hilly trail varies in width from eight feet to single-track, and takes you past Civil War era grave sites and Native American grave sites, as well as crosses the famous Lower Creek Trading Path, which is a Creek Indian trade route dating back thousands of years. Known as the “Mother of all things Chattahoochee,” Brush Creek Park is home to an Indian temple mound and burial mound. Be adventurous and make a weekend of it by hiking from downtown Franklin to Brush Creek Campground, spending the night and hiking back out the next day. This location should definitely be on your To-Trek list.
- Be nice. Treat everyone you meet on the trail like you would treat your grandmother. If you don’t like your grandmother, think of someone that you respect. Everyone on the trail is there to have a good time, so be courteous, polite, and utter a friendly greeting. A simple “Howdy” to fellow trail mates goes a long way, especially if you later fall and break your leg and they become your rescuer.
- Right-of-way. West Point Lake’s nature trails are shared between hikers and mountain bikers. There is a hierarchy, though. On hiking trails, bikers yield to pedestrians. Although, as a courtesy, pedestrians should be cognitive of uphill bikers, as the general rule is to yield to uphill traffic because it is much harder to regain momentum going uphill than going downhill. On designated mountain biking trails, pedestrians yield to bikers. And if you encounter those on the trail that break the right-of-way rules, please don’t make a fuss and ruin the trail experience by playing “trail policeman.”
- Beware of blind corners. Anticipate other trail users around a corner. If you come to a blind corner, assume an angry lawyer is approaching that same corner. Take caution.
- Do not disturb wildlife. This is probably a no-brainer, but don’t run over anything, chase anything, or taunt anything. You’re on their turf, and they were there first. Plus, they’re nice to look at.
- Leave no trace. The “Leave No Trace” principle is basic outdoor ethics. If Bigfoot can do it so can you. Carry out what you carry in. No one wants to see trash on the trail. If you see litter that was left behind, be a Good Samaritan and pick it up.