The Burnt Mountain Preserve Trail located off of Rt. 136 heading east in Pickens County just before you get to the first overlook. There is a graveled road leading into the trail entrance and a small parking area. You can see the Kiosk sign off to the right as you approach the trail entrance.
The Burnt Mt. Preserve, a county-owned 900-acre Preserve, begins at the 2,500-foot elevation on the southern border along Rt 136 and extends southward toward Grandview Lake. The land drops off steeply to the south into Champion Creek valley in the bottomland of the Preserve. This area is part of the Long Swamp Creek watershed and is protected under a Conservation Easement to preserve the property from development and from impacts on the city of Jasper water supply.
Seasonal wildflowers can be seen along the three trails. Some of the trails have interpretive signs with many tree species identified with signage for educational purposes.
It is always wise to hike with someone else or in a group for safety purposes. A First-Aid Kit is recommended as a pack item in case of injury. Take plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated. There is some cell phone coverage in the area but it does not cover the area well. However, a cell phone is a good safety item to have along on your hike.
The Burnt Mt. Preserve is under a Conservation Easement to protect this wonderful natural area. The entire 900-acre Preserve has many wildflowers, pristine creeks and streams, and wildlife. Few hikers have ventured into the area in the past so the human impact on the area is slight. Hikers are requested to keep the area as much as possible in its natural state. Leave only footprints and take everything out that you brought with you. If you find refuge, please pick it up and take it out. Photograph the wildflowers but don’t pick them. Be careful where you step as the wildflowers grow on the trails.
Enjoy the area and make sure your hiking the area leaves it in its natural state for others to enjoy.
Crest Trail – Orange Blazes – O.3 Miles
The Crest Trail is a 0.3-mile loop trail located on the upper portion of the Preserve. The trail is rated Easy. This trail begins at the parking lot and heads south and then swings to the west crossing over the Preserve old roadbed. The trail follows the boundary of the Preserve crossing over another old roadbed before turning back to the east. In a short distance along the southern slope of the Preserve (winter vista’s), the trail will again cross over the Preserve old roadbed and then head north back to the parking lot. This trail can be used to build up your hiking stamina before trying the harder trails in the Preserve.
Preserve Trail – Yellow Blazes – 1.0 Miles
The Preserve Trail begins at the parking lot and loops through the upper portion of the western section of the Preserve. The trail is rated Moderate. The trail follows the Crest Trail to a point just before the Crest Trail crosses over the Preserve old roadbed for the 2nd time. At the trails junction, the Preserve and Champion Creek Trails head downhill to the south. The Preserve Trail follows a ridge crest downhill with western and southern vistas. The trail after dropping down through about 150 feet of elevation will turn eastward crossing over the Preserve old roadbed before turning south and east again to head down through another 250 feet of elevation drop. When the trail reaches the edge of a steep decline, the trail will turn back to the north to begin a moderate uphill trek. After crossing over a small bridge, the trail will turn eastward and follow a sweeping contour to head back to the parking lot in a NE direction.
Champion Creek Trail – White Blazes – 2.0 Miles
The Champion Creek Trail follows the Crest and Preserve Trails to reach the deepest parts of the Preserve in the Champion Creek Valley. Because this trail drops down 800 feet of elevation and must come back up the same 800 feet, the trail is rated as Strenuous. The Champion Creek Trail turns south off of the Preserve Trail just before that trail crosses over the Preserve old roadbed. This trail continues to follow the ridge crest that the Preserve Trail is on. After leaving the Preserve Trail, the Champion Creek Trail heads south along the western slope of the ridge crest until it reaches an old roadbed known as the Naas Road. The trail now follows that old roadbed crossing under the old GA power line right-a-way and continues south. The old road will branch just past the right-a-way. The trail stays to the right. The old roadbed will eventually curve to the left but the trail continues south along the ridge crest. In about 150 ft, the trail will begin turning eastward to continue heading downhill and then swing NE before heading down into the Champion Creek Valley. When the trail reaches the valley floor, it will join an old roadbed which it follows until you reach the 30-foot-bridge crossing over the creek. Cross over the bridge to the old pioneer road on the east side of the creek. The trail will now head north back to the parking lot following the old roadbeds before starting to climbing up the Preserve sloped terrain. The old roadbed with split in about a 1/4 mile. The trail stays to the right crossing over an 8-foot-bridge onto another old roadbed. The climb from the creek valley to the parking lot is 800 feet of elevation gain. The trail will zig-zag up the slope to make the climb out a bit easier.