The Appalachian Trail is the longest and most famous hiking trail in the world, reaching officially from Maine to Springer Mountain in northern Georgia, but the mountains themselves continue to the southwest - the Southern Appalachian Mountains. In the fall of 2003, the Mountain Stewards began to restore some of the traditional trails that meander throughout the Southern Appalachians. The origins of some of these mountain trails date to the time of the Cherokees. Others were built by the early pioneering families. Still other were constructed by logging companies and some were put in by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930's. All of these trails remain in existance. Indian Trail Trees dot the region, remnants of the Native American culture before the white settlers arrived in the nineteenth century. Settlers left their mark as well. Home sites can still be located and the debris from the stills of the moonshiners that once haunted these mountains still stand in some of the hollows. Aside from the occasional sign of our ancesters' presence, these trails weave through the natural wilderness of the oldest mountain range on the planet, unchanged since the dawn of time.
Our website chronicles our progress in the last several years [see Mountain Stewards]. Since 2005 when we started building hiking trails, the Mountain Stewards have added recreational facilities valued at over $1.000.000 dollars in Pickens, Dawson, Gilmer and Cherokee Counties. We have added over 36 miles of new hiling trails and 32 miles of canoe trails. Trail guides are available on the Mountain Trails pages of this website. Besides the physical reclamation of trails, we've collected some of the history of the area [see Mountain History], and have catalogued an increasingly broad photographic database of the natural beauty of our mountain environment in Mountain Scenes - waterfalls, Indian Trail Trees, local bird life, and the wide range of wildflowers that bloom here. So take a look around the site, then print out a trail guide and a table of the seasonal birds and wildflowers, then hit the trails.
The unusual bent trees determined to be Native American trail markers are abundant in the Southern Appalachians as well as across the nation. The Mountain Stewards initiated The Trail Tree Project in 2007 to try to learn more about their history and origin - not just in our area, but also throughout the North American continent. Also in 2008, we initiated The Indian Trail Project in partnership with WildSouth - a long term work in progress aiming towards producing accurate maps of the Trails of the Southern Native Americans. And there's something else now, The Mystery of the Trees, our new book about the Indian Trail Trees.
|The terrain maps on this site are adapted from Google Earth®. The photographs are copyrighted by the photographers. You are welcome to print the thumbnail pages as personal trail identification guides.|