Dowdells Knob, Pine Mountain Trail–Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park

March 2, 2013
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Distance: 1.2 miles one way

Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

Dowdell’s Knob, Pine Mountain Trail

Dowdells Knob is a scenic overlook in F.D. Roosevelt State Park, and is known for it being President Roosevelt’s favorite spot to picnic during his time in nearby Warm Springs, Georgia. At the top of the overlook, the grill Roosevelt used and a statute of the president taking in the view commemorate its significant.

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The Dowdells Knob Trail is a one way trail which follows along a portion of the 23 mile Pine Mountain Trail in Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park. This section of trail takes hikers down toward the base of Pine Mountain from the  1395 foot Dowdells Knob. While the trail continues along the Pine Mountain Trail for numerous miles, The Dowdells trail is described as ending at a small waterfall at Brown Dog Bluff.  Along the trail hikers will make a slow, steady descent through a somewhat recently tornado ravaged ridgeline.  During the winter, much of this hike provides wide open views of Pine Mountain Valley below.

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The trail begins atop Dowdells Knob after walking through a small pavilion containing a map of the entire Pine Mountain Trail. From here, the first section of the hike is a very short connecting trail down to the formal PMT.  To continue towards Dowdells Knob, turn left, and follow the trail along the ridgeline.

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It should be noted that several hundred yards to the right hikers can see a small memorial to an airplane crash several years earlier.  This short detour provides both a sense of history, as well as limited views of Concharty Lake in the valley below.

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After continuing back to the trail intersection, the trail curves beneath the scenic overlook along a very rock ridgeline.  The first portion of this trail is a very gradual descent within a somewhat densely wooded area.

After a few thousand yards, the effects from a tornado that passed through the area in April of 2011. The hundreds of acres in the state park both along this ridgeline and in the valley below suffered tremendous damage from the tornado. The true power of mother nature can be experienced by walking through the tree graveyard along the trail. Surrounding the trail for another thousand yards, continuing deep into the valley below, and then going back up another distant ridgeline are thousands of uprooted, gnarled trees. The hike through all of this carnage, combined with the beauty of the open spaces is surreal. Nature’s paradoxical ability to destroy and kill, combines with its ability to thrive and survive in a unique way rarely seen so up close.

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After passing through the damage, the open views created by fallen trees closes back up, nearly as suddenly as it opened.  The trail begins to proceed up an old gravel creek bed before making its final rapid descent down to Brown Dog Bluff.   This last descent is somewhat narrow and rocky. Be very careful with every step during the final descent as the trail becomes tremendously slick from the combination of fallen leaves and soft sandy soil.

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While the state park site and the Pine Mountain Trail site refer to the end of this trail as a small waterfall, a better term may be a creek with a small drop off.  Referring to it as a waterfall can result in somewhat eleveated expectations which are sure to be disappointed.

Nonetheless, the creek does provide a nice spot to rest, and watch the small series of cascades continue down Brown Dog Bluff.  Hikers may continue up past the creek for approximately 3-4 miles to make a loop back to the car via Boot Top Trail, or return the 1.2 miles as we did.

Directions:

From Columbus:

1. Follow US-27 North towards Warm Springs, Georgia.

2. US 190 East forks away from 27 and enters into FD Roosevelt State Park

3.  Dowdell’s Knob is approximately 6 miles past the Park Offices.

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2 Responses to Dowdells Knob, Pine Mountain Trail–Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park

  1. Jim hall on October 7, 2013 at 9:18 pm

    Great photos on the article…However there is NOT a Dowdell Knob Trail. Only a Dowdell Knob Loop. The loop is formed with the PMT and Bootop Connector Trail. If you look on our website under trail descriptions and on our map, only a Dowdell Knob Loop is mentioned. There was set up in 2007 a nature trail self guided route that started at Dowdell Knob Trailhead and ended at the water crossing near Brown Dog Bluff. The lettered post need replacing , but we have had so much to do with continued work in the tornado damage areas, that has been put on hold. By the way there are a bunch of American chestnut tree sprouts down near trail Mile 15.2… Lastly the loop is 4.3 miles total. If you hiked east on the PMT to the water crossing, that is just at 1.2 miles and to complete the loop is only 3.1 miles more not 3-4 miles as you wrote. The plane crash memorial rock (that I was responsible for) is for a crash not several years back… but as of October 1, was 60 years ago.

  2. Jim hall on October 7, 2013 at 9:34 pm

    PS… On your directions from Columbus… They should read: From Columbus follow US 27/Veterans Parkway north toward Pine Mountain (NOT Warm Springs)…Some 5 miles past Hamilton at the top of Pine Mountain Is GA 190 and the entrance to FDR State park on your right. 2.8 miles down east on GA 190′ is the FDR park office. Dowdell Knob Road is 5 more miles east on the right. Follow the 1.3 mile road to the PIne Mountain Trail Trailhead Parking area. NOTE: there is a self pay parking pass box where you can get a required pass for $5. For alternate directions from points east-west and north….. See http://www.pinemountaintrail.org and DIRECTIONS TO THE TRAIL

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