- There are two National Forests in Georgia, both headquartered in Gainesville Georgia. The Oconee National Forest covers 115,000 acres in central Georgia. Unlike the tall peaks of the Chattahoochee, the Oconee National Forest is relatively flat with small hills. Lakes, rivers, and wildlife are the outstanding features of the Oconee
Visit Lake Oconee, Hillsboro Lake, or 15,300 acre Lake Sinclair for swimming, fishing, boating and camping. If a wealth of trails is the hallmark of the Chattahoochee, bountiful game is the signature of the Oconee. There are also plenty of excellent fishing opportunities.
Near Lake Oconee, an easy 1-mile trail leads to Scull Shoals. The site of Georgia's first cotton gin and paper mill, Scull Shoals is a crumbling ghost town. Tumbling walls and other ruins still stand amidst the lush forest and quiet waters. A short trail leads to two prehistoric Indian mounds.
Recreation - Hiking and Riding: Hiking trails are near major recreation areas. Three trails are suitable for horseback riding near the Ocmulgee River. The 1-mile Burgess Mountain Trail reaches the highest point on the Forest, at 645 feet, and is open to horseback riding.
Water Recreation: Lake Sinclair is a popular lake for swimming, fishing, and boating. The Oconee River is an excellent canoeing river, with Oconee River Campground the favorite launching point.
Fishing: Spring catches of red-breast sunfish, particularly in the Ocmulgee River, are considered exceptional. Lake Oconee is well known for its crappie and other fish.
Climate - This part of Georgia experiences mild, comfortable winters and warm to hot, humid summers. The area can offer a relatively warm escape for snow-free outdoor recreation during the winter months. Be prepared for occasional cold weather during the winter, especially at the higher elevations of the Forests.
The Oconee National Forest is located in the rolling hills of central Georgia, between Athens and Macon. The Forest is split into two sections, with US Highway 129 running between the two. The Chattahoochee and the Oconee National Forests are both headquartered in Gainesville. The Oconee District office is located in Eatonton.