Outdoor Adventure Editor Greg Dunn and Family Take Us On Some Of The Most Beautiful Blue Ridge Mountain Baby Hikes In The Area
Hiking, mountain biking, and paddling are three of my favorite ways to enjoy the mountains of North Georgia. Great trails abound in every direction, but life can sometimes get in the way. Six months ago, my life was changed in a way that I never thought possible. My wife Carrie and I were blessed with our first little boy, Finn.
Ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you how much I love to get in the woods. For years, my friends with kids would try to let me know “how little time you will have when you have one of your own,” but I didn’t really believe them. I thought they were just being lazy and making excuses. Sorry friends, I guess you were right. Since Finn came, I am lucky to get a couple quick rides in a week, usually from the house on the road. What’s funny about my lack of adventure lately, is that I haven’t really missed it. This little boy has got me by the heart-strings!
Being a family that loves and enjoys the outdoors is very important to us so now that Finn is getting bigger we are thinking of ways to get him into the woods. I’ve gone from reading about the latest carbon fiber this and that, to researching the most trick baby backpacks and baby bicycle trailers, you know normal guy stuff. It’s amazing how much gear is out there for baby’s. Its also amazing how expensive some of this stuff is! $400 for a backpack? What? Luckily for us we have lots of friends with lots of kids that outgrow stuff, including a couple of really nice baby packs.
Like his Daddy, Finn loves it outside, so we had a pretty good idea that he would like his new pack. We took a few walks in the neighborhood to get everything adjusted and to get him used to it and he had a blast. Next on our agenda is to get him out on some real trails which we are planning this weekend. There are so many directions one can go from downtown Blue Ridge to find beautiful scenery, but with a baby we want to keep it relatively close and not too strenuous so I have compiled a list of some great hikes within thirty minutes of town that will give you the most bang for your baby buck:
Ocoee Whitewater Center
With over 40 miles of trails from single track to paved walking paths, this area is very baby friendly. Go on a weekend when they are releasing the upper section and enjoy watching all of the kayakers pulling all kinds of crazy moves.
Aska Area Fall Branch Falls
Follow Aska Road for approximately 8 miles, turn right on Stanley Creek Road, continue for 3 miles, the parking area is on the left. The cascading falls will be about a mile up with a nice wooded platform to hang out on and check out the scenery.
Aska Area Stanley Creek Trail
Continue past the trailhead for Fall Branch Falls for another ¾ mile, and you will see a pull off on your left. This is an unmarked trail that zig zags back and forth across the creek up the mountain into the Rich Mountain Wilderness. This is one of the more technical “baby hikes” due to creek crossings but also one of the most scenic.
Aska Area Deep Gap Trail
This is the main parking area for Aska trails including Green Mountain, Flat Creek, Long Branch and Stanley Gap. Their are lots of options here from an out and back to the top of Stanley Gap to a 5.5 mile loop on flat creek.
All of the trails that I have listed are in my opinion some of the most scenic. The fact that they are so close to town makes them a great choice if you decide to get the little ones out to enjoy nature.
Despite their accessibility please remember that you are still entering National Forest and Wilderness areas so be prepared, especially when hiking with kids. Take plenty of extra water, snacks and day supplies to keep everyone comfortable and you’re sure see some of the most beautiful spots around!
For Guided Mountain Bike Tours Or Taking Your Training To The Next Level Contact Outdoor Adventure Editor Greg Dunn via Email Trainingdunnright@Gmail.Com