Hiking Distance: 3 miles each way
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
The Pine Mountain Trail begins at the junction of Hwy 27 and Hwy 190 near FDR State Park in Georgia. The trail is 23 miles long and could be done as an overnight backpacking trip in one weekend or in various section hikes. The trail is blue blazed but there are lots of spur trails from it that make good opportunities to do loop trails so you avoid backtracking or having to shuttle cars.
There is parking opposite the Country Store (a good place for breakfast). The trail starts a few yards up on Hwy 190. The first 1.25 miles of the trail runs fairly flat on the side of the ridge with occasional winter views. It will then cross Hwy 190 and go through a much more forested area, descending down on the other side of the ridge to some abandoned Fish Hatcheries. Near the Fish Hatcheries you can take a spur trail (blazed white). Go past the Dead Pine campsite marker for about .25 mile. If you turn left on the spur trail, after about .1 miles it will connect to another loop trail called Mountain Creek Nature Trail (blazed red). We turned left on this trail and hiked the loop in a clockwise direction. The total loop is about 3.2 miles. The loop will take you around the edge of Lake Delano and a large campsite. On completing the loop and the short spur trail you can get back to the main Pine Mountain Trail. Just before you cross Hwy 190 again there is the option of taking the Chestnut Oak trail that parallels the Pine Mountain Trail on the other side of the ridge. This trail is about 0.75 miles longer and is more strenuous as it does go back down the ridge and has a few switchbacks. It then ascends the ridge again as you approach the parking lot.
The hike described above is a total of about 8.25 miles. It can be shortened by not doing the loop or the Chestnut Oak trail section. You could also just continue on the Pine Mountain trail. It will intersect Hwy 190 at about 3.25 miles and also at 6.3 miles. However you will then have to back track or shuttle cars.
This is a good trail to do in the Fall for the leaves, or Winter or early Spring as the winter views are good.