Keown Falls, Johns Mountain, and The Pocket each offer glimpses of the biodiversity and topography in our area without the crowds of larger recreation areas. A short-distance drive can have you breathing fresh air amongst nature in the Armuchee ridges and valleys, perfect for a quick weekend getaway.
Keown Falls Trail (1.7 mile loop) is an easy family friendly jaunt. The trail is lined with ground covering rocks which get larger as you make your way to the cliffs. The trail, following the loop to the right, quickly crosses a stream, and then advances to a series of switchbacks which keeps the hike at an easy grade until you reach the 60-foot waterfall. These are spring fed and best viewed after wet weather. An observation deck offers spectacular views of the falls, Furnace Valley, and Horn Mountain Ridge.
Johns Mountain Trail (3.6 mile loop) is a spectacular stroll in the woods. The trailhead begins at a lookout point with a scenic view of Taylor Ridge and several ridges beyond. The trail gently undulates along the plateau like top with peeping eastern and westerns views of the Armuchee valleys. The dapple shaded path is adorned with lichen covered rocks, sweetshrubs, and sassafras; and the ever-present crosswind makes this a wonderful outing on the hottest days. The trail parallels a line of impressive bluffs at or near 50-foot drop offs.
The Pocket Trail (2.6 mile loop) is an easy nature walk nestled in the “pocket” of the 3-sided steep ridges of Horn Mountain towering some 400-500 feet higher. Typically, this is a very popular campground with crystal clear spring fed wading pools and picnic sites. However, today’s public gathering restrictions has closed these facilities and limited the crowds creating an opportunity to enjoy the diverse forest of wet and dry loving species unique to this area.
These three easy to moderate loop trails are all centrally located and can easily be explored in an afternoon. Let the beautiful and spirit-lifting adventures call you from the confines of your home, and practice social-distancing properly; out in nature.