Fort Mountain State Park is a place of legends. Literally! Home to an mysterious, ancient, rock wall at the peak of a mountain, Fort Mountain’s associated legends include the construction of a Welsh military fort, a honeymoon destination for native newlyweds, and a relation to “moon-eyed people” of Cherokee folklore. Whatever the truth may be, there is no denying that this park’s unique features have made it one of the major draws within the Chattahoochee National Forest.
Located just a short scenic drive off of Highway 52 near the Cohuatta Wilderness, the campground at Fort Mountain State Park hosts 70 campsites for tents and RVs. Campers can bring their paddles to take advantage of all 17 acres of Fort Mountain Lake, or take part in the local rental program for easier travels.
While there is no need to leave the park to find adventure, many campers take a short drive east to a historic site featuring the Chief Vann House. This well-preserved structure was the first Cherokee brick residence and is often referred to as the “showplace” of the Cherokee Nation. Continue your travels to the peak of Fort Mountain where you can take a tour of a stone fire tower built by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the Great Depression. Enjoy panoramic views and marvel at the legendary beauty of Fort Mountain State Park.
We love camping at Fort Mountain. Its usually a good bit cooler due to the elevation, and the private wooded campsites make tent camping in Georgia’s summer heat much more enjoyable. Good hiking and things to do nearby.
We spent a week in Fort Mountain and we can’t say enough about how wonderful it was. The sites are beautiful and feel very private. The facilities are spotless, and the staff at the visitor’s center/store were terrific. The overlooks were spectacular: absolutely beautiful.
Had a great time with family. Ellijay Apple Barn isn’t far from the campsite. Highly recommend stopping for some apples and some yummy snacks! Great for children for sure.
The good: The campsites were spaced out very, very well. The camping platform was a cool and unique experience. Awesome hiking and stunning views about a mile up from the campground. Bathroom and shower were clean and roomy. Had a much needed bear box at our site. The not so good: The site was extremely unlevel. Could not even cook our food because of how unlevel it was. Our supplies constantly fell out of the bear box when opened and would roll down hill into a gultch. The lake had an abundance of snakes. And other than the hiking trail on up from the site there was not much to do in the area. We left a day early.
We visited today and look forward to camping here. Very nice park and clean. Bears are seen anytime of the day or night. See RV Camping Journal for more details.
We got lucky with a last minute cancellation and booked site 45. It’s an awesome site with privacy, and one of the better sites in the entire campground. There are steps leading down to the trail around the lake. We were there July 4th and the trail around the lake is lightly used, so the occasional traffic didn’t bother us, plus there’s heavy foliage. There is also a trail nearby to the platform camping, so you occasionally see those campers, but didn’t bother us. There were great trees for hanging hammocks.
We were in a truck camper and didn’t use the restrooms, although it’s just a short walk.
This site is on the “edge” of the campground and there are active bears. We saw two during our stay on the site. They were just passing through, but just something to be aware of.
We camped here just before all of the COVID-19 shutdowns began happening, hoping to get in a family trip that didn't involve a long drive from home/Chattanooga. We chose Fort Mountain for the variety of camping options they had, specifically the platform sites. As one of our primary requirements for camping is privacy and a place our kids can run around without bothering anyone else, having a place slightly off the main road sounded perfect--and it was.
Fort Mountain is a huge campground, offering 70 drive-in campsites for tents/campers, 6 platform sites, 4 walk in sites, 4 backcountry sites, and 3 pioneer sites. The platform sites are a short walk from a parking area near the lake so you can make multiple trips to the car if necessary, while the backcountry sites are up to a 3 mile hike in, so all gear, food, and water will need to be packed in. Be mindful of wildlife as well, even in March we saw a copperhead near the creek by Platform 1.
As with most campgrounds there is large variety in the sites available, ranging from smaller sites near the main road through the campground (31-44), to larger sites right on the lake (46-50), to sites near the center of the campground with easy access to the many amenities the park has to offer, including the docks/boat rental, beach, and a mini golf course. Site 45 is very large but the trail around the lake and to the platform sites cuts past it so there may be some foot traffic past the site, particularly during busy times. Sites 46, 47, and 49 have amazing lakeside views, which completely make up for the visibility from one site to another. Site 48 is very small and more suited for a pull-through camper, as it has little privacy and the trail from the parking lot for the platform sites walks above it.
(Note about the platform sites--the map is misleading. There is a small trail that runs to the sites from the lakeside trail, and the start with 1 closest to the lake and head up a rather steep climb to 6. There is a secondary trail that crosses a small creek and intersections with platform 1 to the right and 2-6 to the left.)
Loop #1 does not have any lakefront sites, and is closed to drive-thru traffic without reservations so we were not able to look closely at the sites, but it looks overall like it is wooded and shady, though smaller than the sites in loop #2.
Cottage #5 is the only true lakefront cabin, with a long staircase walking from the cabin to the lakeside trail. It is three bedrooms and would be great for large family gatherings.
We did not make it to the Fire Tower the state park is named for, but as a homeschool family we are always excited to find CCC buildings as living history and political science lessons, and the only trail we got to explore was the lakeside trail, which was short but scenic, although even at the time we were there was already quite crowded, so I imagine during the busy season it would be hard to find solitude.
This is a great vacation spot. Between the variety of campsites, hiking, boat rentals, beach, and family activities, it would be easy to spend a week here in a camper or an RV and not even notice how fast the time was flying. As for a one or two night stay, we typically prefer places with fewer activities so we can just enjoy CAMPING--but the platform and backcountry campsites still provide for those with similar camping styles. And being so close to both Chattanooga and Atlanta, this is an amazing find for families. We would definitely return, and stay in either one of the platform sites again (my husband in particular loved that we did not have to worry about a tent!), or try and reserve one of the sites along the lake so we could enjoy time at camp while taking in the views.
We had the best site in this campground we were in site #50, a big site with water & electric hook up and pretty private, with cable and a dump station . Nice tall pines, maple & oak trees and we hit the leaf change just right this year on Oct 31st. There's nice trails in the park one around the lake & one to a small waterfall across the street. There is no cell service. You can drive up the road about a mile or so there's a cell tower & you can get service. You can kayak there the lake is small but beautiful this time of the year.
We took the trail to the old tower and stone wall. The wall is a mystery when and who built it? Legends say it was the Cherokees early 1600's or the moon eyed people in as defense against the Cherokees. Beautiful view from the top of the tower.
If your going to stay in several Georgia state parks you can buy the friends of GA family pass which get's you free camping it pays for itself. Georgia has some great state parks. About 2 miles up the road is a viewpoint you can pull over and watch a beautiful sunset. Ellijay is close by if you need groceries or want to shop.
Fort Mountain in spring was beautiful! Check out more details and photos on the link.
We stayed one night at backcountry campsite number 3 and we loved it. The campsite was awesome- it had a great view and plenty of space, and was a bit off the trail and felt very secluded which we liked. It is high up, so it did get windy and colder than we expected. We hiked over 10 miles and really enjoyed the trails and tons of beautiful views. You do need to pay attention to the map though because we did get off on the wrong trail a couple times. We did have a bear sighting as well! We’re pretty inexperienced campers, but we highly recommend!