Lake Conasauga

October 2, 2010
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Lake Conasauga campground provides beautiful camping sites around Lake Conasauga, the highest lake in Georgia. The campground is open from mid-April to October. Campsites and the lake are located atop Grassy Mountain, in the Chattahoochee Forest. This campground and the trails around it provide visitors beautiful views of the relatively untouched  Cohutta Wilderness.Views from this area provide some of the last remaining views of wilderness without urban development.

Campsites:

Campsites:

35 Sites – Located adjacent to the 19 acre lake on one side. The sites progress uphill away from the lake and into the woods.The campsites have a tent pad, a fire ring, a grill, and some have wooden picnic tables. No electricity is available at Lake Conasauga.

Author’s Note: If you want a site on the lake, I would definitely recommend getting there early, especially on busy holidays.

Additional Recreation:

Fishing & Canoeing

Lake Conasauga has been stocked with bass, brim, and trout, all three of which can be caught fishing from shore, canoe, or electric powered boat.

Day Use

A day use area has been setup next to the camp ground. Picnic tables, grills, and a beach with a roped off swimming area are available.

Trails near the Campground:

Lake Conasauga Trail

Songbird Trail

Grassy Mountain Tower Trail

Directions to the Campground:

1. From Location get directions to Chatsworth, Georgia

2. From Chatsworth, GA take US 411 North 4 miles.

3. Turn Right at Traffic Light in Eton.

4. Follow this Road until the Pavement Ends, and it becomes a dirt road called Forest Service Road 18.

5. At Forest Service Road 18 continue until there is a left turn onto Forest Service Road 68 (note as of April, 2008, this road was temporarily closed for improvements, and travelers were detoured along FS 18 until following signs to the campground). Follow FS 68 10 miles following all signs indicating the direction of the Campground.

6. Alternatively, one could take US 52 from Ellijay west to Forest Service Road 18. Continue on FS 18 to the FS 68 junction, and follow FS 68 to the Campground.

Author’s Note:      Lake Conasauga Campground is not an easy campground to get to.  It requires driving on some somewhat harsh dirt roads. While it is possible to make it up and down the mountain in a standard car, I would recommend using a vehicle with higher clearance if possible, or be prepared for a very slow bumpy drive.

My experience at Lake Conasauga:

Camping at Lake Conasauga was a very enjoyable experience. I stayed on a tent pad on the lake shore. During my stay, I enjoyed fishing, canoeing, hiking, and relaxing by a fire right on the lake. It should be noted that this campground does seem to be concerned with black bears. While no bears were seen during my stay, the volunteers at the campground said they been known to enter the campground in search of food. As such, it is necessary to store your food in your car or bear lockers. This is not problematic at this site, however, as you can park your car right next to the tent pad.

Please feel free to leave any advice, comments, or questions about this Campground, and I will try to answer anything I can about my experiences there.

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27 Responses to Lake Conasauga

  1. Robert on October 2, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    Hi there! I’m planning to go there next week to stay from Oct.9 to the 15th. I’m traveling from Ontario and won’t be able to make it until mid-Saturday. Do you think that I’ll have trouble finding a camping spot? I don’t mind if it isn’t on the lake – I imagine that most people will leave Sunday afternoon and I can relocate then. I’ve also had trouble finding information about the campground and area in general, there doesn’t seem to be a campground or trail map posted anywhere online. Finally, are there any other places you can recommend with a clean lake and lots of hiking? I had originally planned to go to Falls Lake or Lake Jordan but then read that these are some of the dirtiest waters on that side of the states.

    • JP on October 2, 2010 at 6:47 pm

      Lake Conasauga is probably one of the best places to camp in Georgia. I wouldn’t think you will have a hard time finding a spot somewhere. Also, there’s a field not far away at all for over flow camping. The one thing I would say about the Sunday thing is that next Monday is Columbus Day. Not a lot of people get off work for it here, but there may be a few holdovers on Sunday evening. Because of its elevation, Conasauga is much cleaner than most of the lakes around here.

      For a good easy day hike, I’d recommend hiking Grassy Mountain Tower Trail. I’ll have a post on it up soon with a link on this page. Cohutta wilderness has a lot of good hikes in the area, but the three I mentioned are the closest.

      The best book on the area I have found is Hiking Trails of North Georgia.

      Hiking Trails of North Georgia

      Good Luck and Welcome to Georgia when you get here.

      • Robert on October 2, 2010 at 7:12 pm

        Hi. I really appreciate you writing back. I guess my mind is set then :)

        I didn’t realize that next Monday is Columbus Day, kind of silly of me considering that we have Thanksgiving here.

        A couple of quick questions:
        1. There doesn’t seem to be an office at the campground, does a ranger just come around every evening and collect the fee?
        2. Do I have to travel to Eton to purchase ice? Do I have to purchase firewood? We generally have fines here for dragging wood out of the forest for camp fires.
        3. Does paying the camping fee entitle me to go to other national forest campgrounds? Is there a shower at Lake Conasauga or maybe I could travel to a neighboring campground?

        Once again, I really appreciate all of your invaluable information.

        • JP on October 2, 2010 at 7:58 pm

          No problem. Columbus Day is hardly a big deal here. Banks will be closed, but usually not schools or stores.

          As to your questions:

          1. You will have a hard time finding an “office” for any federal FOREST sights. Typically, they either have a box to deposit your fee, of you will pay a campsite host.
          Conasauga has a host, but I believe payment is made into a drop box (I can’t remember for sure). Find a camp site, drop something small off there to “save it” and then go pay it as soon as you get there.

          2. Nearest stores are Eton. Despite the mileage it is a bit of a trip down the mountain. The only roads to Conasauga are dirt. Small cars can make it, but it’s rough for them. I would try to minimize trips to once or twice over a week.

          When we were there, the camp host had plenty of wood in a central location for us to get at no cost. Here it is the opposite than in Ontario. You’re not allowed to bring in non native firewood. If it’s not available from the camp host, should be plenty in the area OR can be purchased cheaply in Eton. (this site will help with questions).

          3. The camp fee will just pay for you to camp there, but a lot of the hiking trails and such will not have a fee, or it will be very small. I don’t remember a shower there. There is running water, but I believe there are only toilets. I’m not sure where the next closest campsite would be to provide a shower. That area is pretty remote.

          Here’s the link to the Chattahoochee Oconee National Forest. The map there shows the other sites, none of which appear to have shower facilities. A nicer campground with shower facilities could probably be found at Fort Mountain State Park, but it’s probably more crowded). Several good hikes there as well. Look south on the map on that page I just linked to above and you’ll see its location. Here’s the link to it: Fort Mountain State Park

          Usually the state parks have multi-day passes to visit more of t hem. Let me know if you decide to go there, and I’ll recommend a lot of great hiking and other places in and around Fort Mountain.

          • Robert on October 2, 2010 at 8:27 pm

            I was actually thinking about Fort Mountain when I asked about the camping permit and showers – I didn’t realize that it’s a different agency.

            They generally don’t want us to bring our own wood here either; just purchase it from the park store where they inflate the prices. I just wish there was a closer place to get ice than Eton, I need to keep at least one of the coolers with meat cold.

            I appreciate all of your help and advice, I’ll definitely let you know how the trip went once I get back :) I also looked into getting the trail guide you recommended, the Barnes and Noble in Chattanooga has them in stock so I’ll probably pick one up on my way there.

            Keep this site going. You’re doing a great thing here. If you ever happened to want to visit the northern forests of Ontario, I’ve been to a lot of the provincial parks here and could definitely return the favour :D

          • JP on October 2, 2010 at 8:49 pm

            Sounds great. I’d love to get some time to explore much of Canada.

            If you’re looking for closer to civilization but still great views, good hikes, and still pretty decent camping, Fort Mountain may be a better choice. It’s on top of a mountain with paved roads, and is pretty close to the town of Ellijay, and you’ll be in the middle of the Apple Harvests. In fact, I think the Apple Festival may be starting that weekend down in town, plus you can reserve sites through the state parks. It’d be a better place for a longer stay too. I should have some articles on Fort Mountain hiking soon. I’m trying to get all my old posts back up and running as quickly as possible..

    • JP on October 2, 2010 at 6:55 pm

      Grassy Mountain Tower Trail is the trail I’d recommend

    • James workman on March 9, 2011 at 12:04 pm

      Hi Im James workman a voluntter for the Fs and at the lake and frequent the wilderness on a weekly basis, If i can assist you in any way please contact me thanks James

      • Vic on October 26, 2011 at 3:56 am

        Hello James:
        We wish to camp at Lake Conasauga starting November 7th, 2011, but just read that it closes on Oct 31st. It appears that the overflow campground is open year round. Do you know if they are punctual with the closing of the park? Also, if we were to camp at the overflow, are we allowed to walk into the lake campground to fish, hike, etc…? Our other option is to go to Ft. Mountain state park, but hate crowds and RV’s…is that park busy in early November? Thank you for any advise you may have!
        Regards,
        Vic Firth

        • JP on November 1, 2011 at 8:40 pm

          I believe they are pretty punctual with the closings, and I also believe that you can in fact walk up to the lake, just can’t camp there when it is closed. I can’t speak to the crowd at Fort Mountain in November, though I can’t imagine it is too bad then.

    • Eric on October 14, 2012 at 7:07 pm

      Do not go here. The camp supervisor and local park rangers are waiting to hand out tickets. I was camping there with 4 adult males and 4 8 year old girls. We got tickets for possession of alcohol (no alcohol campground), urinating in the campsite, dog off leash and parking in non-designated area. I would stay far away from this place. Many rednecks with aggressive dogs.

  2. Robert on October 2, 2010 at 3:43 pm

    BTW, congratulations on coming back online. I didn’t realize that you just got the site back up and running today.

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  5. Beth Wright on January 5, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    Hi! I am so pleased to see a site about this lovely lake! I have been coming here for years and have actually co-hosted for a few of them.
    When I first began camping at Conasauga Lake in mid 2001 Camp site B was still open and the bears were VERY active there. In fact, this area (Grassy Mountain) is where many “Nuisance Bears” are released after being captured from surrounding counties. Since the more stringent food handling rules have been put in place,the bears have not been as much of a problem. Except in the upper camping areas, where fewer people are and the campers tend to be more spread out.
    I really miss over-nighting and seasonal hosting up there, but I do still manage to go several times each season for picnicing, swimming, 4-wheeling and taking photos. It’s just too beautiful and the temperatures are too nice not to! It’s always at least 10 degrees cooler up there than it is here in Ellijay.

    Please keep in mind, whether you go for the day or for a week – always leave this wonderful place cleaner than you found it. And never ride on the walking trails. It’s the only way we can insure that areas such as these will still be enjoyable for future generations. It IS our responsibility.

  6. Outdoor Travel in the South | SouthernHiker on July 7, 2011 at 11:45 am

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  7. mike on February 12, 2012 at 5:49 pm

    interesting topic…does anyone know if you can backpack down fs rd to usfs campgrounds? if dispersed camping is allowed in forest then would it really be a problem to use tent pad in the campground….i ask because my wife and i have a 1 yr old and love the campground sites ….ended up at dockery lake in the off season and stayed there once while backpacking

  8. Daniel on May 8, 2012 at 10:47 am

    I have a quick question for the folks who have been to Lake Conasauga before. While we stayed there (and had an awesome time) i noticed in the men’s restroom (for the campsites closest to the lake) that the urinal cakes in the toilet foamed up quite a bit and smelled reminiscent of sulfuric acid or something of the sort. My nose burned and it made me cough a little bit. The reaction reminded me of chemistry class in high school, with a lot of foam rising up. The foam remained for the most part during the next 24 hours while we stayed there. Does anyone have any idea what kind of urinal cakes these are? I’ve never seen anything like it before in other camp sites…

  9. Kelly on July 9, 2012 at 8:16 am

    Are you allowed to bring dogs? Swimming, hiking or camping? Preferably swimming. I have two large (FRIENDLY) dogs that love swimming and I would love to bring them. Thank you!

  10. John Harty on August 19, 2012 at 4:18 pm

    I went to the lake earlier this month. The weather was perfect and the scenery was amazing!! I can’t wait to hopefully go back next year!!

  11. Mark Bailey on September 26, 2012 at 10:58 am

    I take it that no reservations are required or even possible?

    If I get there at noon on a Friday should I be ok to get a good spot on the lake?

    Does anyone have pictures? I’d love to get an idea of what to expect.

    Thank you.

    • JP on September 26, 2012 at 12:41 pm

      To answer your question regarding reservations, they are not required. I do not believe there is even a method of reserving.

      Since it is first come, first serve, it’s not possible to say for sure that you will get a spot any time, but there is also an overflow camping site. So most likely, you will get a spot somewhere if you get there by then. Of course it may or may not be a lakeside spot. There really aren’t many spots on the actual lake (maybe 7 or 8?) of the 31 in the campground. On the weekend we camped there a few years ago, that is about the time we got there to secure a lakeside spot.

      Also, I’m not sure how late into the season the campground is open. The National Forest site already has this year’s opening date, but doesn’t state whether it has closed for the season or not. They have a phone number you can call, and also some more photos on their site right here. Pictures 4 and 5 are of the campground.

      • Mark Bailey on October 2, 2012 at 6:12 am

        We’re going October 12. Sure hope it’s open!

        Thank you!

  12. Mark Bailey on October 16, 2012 at 6:18 am

    I reviewed this blog in great detail prior to our trip to the lake. We camped here this past weekend and I can honestly say it is now one of my absolute favorite camp grounds I have ever visited.
    Peaceful, beautiful, great hikes, etc. etc.

  13. daniela on April 1, 2013 at 10:32 am

    I went there September of 2012 and really enjoyed it. The scenery is absolutely amazing. It was not busy at all, there were about 7 campers spread out in the campground. I felt save,eventhough a black bear was spotted at night walking up the mountain. I would recommend if going around the time I went, to make sure you have what you need in order to stay warm. It gets VERY cold at night, although during the day its warm. I will definitely be going this summer again.

  14. Jim on August 15, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    Does anyone know the temperature range in Mid Oct? I was thinking about heading up over Columbus Day weekend Oct 10-12.

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