- There are two National Forests in Georgia, both headquartered in Gainesville Georgia. The Chattahoochee National Forest covers 749,000 acres stretching from the Wild and Scenic waters of the Chattooga River on its northeastern boundary, through the Blue Ridge Mountains and across the ridges and valleys of northwest 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
Recreation - Hiking trails are near major recreation areas. Three trails in the Oconee 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.
With over 430 miles of trails on the Chattahoochee, it's hard to find an area without some type of footpath. From short day hikes to more arduous trips, for novices or experts, there is a trail for every level and purpose.
Water Recreation: In the Oconee 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. In the Chattahoochee, the Chattooga Wild and Scenic River is popular for guided raft trips. The Chattahoochee and Toccoa Rivers are popular for canoes or kayaks.
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. Within the Chattahoochee over 1,300 miles of trout streams on the Forest, there are plenty of opportunities to catch trout, walleye, bluegill and bass.
Climate - Chattahoochee:
The climate of the north Georgia mountains is temperate with moderately cold winters and warm, humid summers. Precipitation is fairly well distributed throughout the year; there are no wet or dry seasons. October has the least rainfall, July the most. Snowfall is quite variable from year to year, and some winters have relatively little. Thunderstorms occur most frequently in spring and summer but can occur in any month.
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 Chattahoochee National Forest is spread across the mountains of north Georgia. The Chattahoochee and the Oconee National Forests are both headquartered in Gainesville. The Chattahoochee lies around the towns of Chatsworth, Lafayette, Blairsville, Dahlonega, Blue Ridge, Clarkesville, and Clayton, Georgia, with District offices in these towns.
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.