Rocktown

Description
Rocktown is located on top of Pigeon Mountain in the extreme corner of Northwest Georgia, about 1/2 way between Atlanta, GA, and Chattanooga, TN. It is nearest to the town of Lafayette, Georgia.  Pigeon Mountain is actually a spur jutting northeast off 80 mile long Lookout Mountain.

Here, on the southernmost vestiges of the Cumberland Plateau, an area of large boulders has been exposed on the top of the broad ridge. Rocktown is comprised of several acres of large sandstone boulders, averaging 30 - 40 feet high. The rock is unusually juggy, with tons of hand and foot holds, and some very unique formations. This area remains in essentially pristine condition, unpolluted by the trash and graffiti due to the easy 1 mile hike in from the trailhead that discourages riffraff.

Directions
(from points to the south)

~ Take I-75 until north of Atlanta.
~ About 1/2 way between Atlanta and Chattanooga watch for I-75 exit for Resacca, Lafayette, (HWY 136) - Turn L onto HWY 136 & cross over I-75.
~ Go 6.5 miles to T intersection turn Right to stay on HWY 136.
~ Go 14.3 miles (through Villanow & over mountain) to T intersection & turn Left to stay on HWY 136.
~ Go 1.3 miles and turn Right to stay on HWY 136. (be careful this intersection will sneak up on you).
~ Go 3.9 miles to HWY 27/136 (traffic light) - continue straight ahead to HWY 27 in the town of Lafayette, Georgia.
~ Turn Left onto HWY 27/193 and go a short distance. HWY 193 north will turn Right.
~ Go 2.7 miles on HWY 193 to Chamberlain Road and turn Left onto Chamberlain (Fina station on Right)
~ Go 3.3 miles on Chamberlain Rd to Crockford-Pigeon Wildlife Area sign on Right - turn Right onto gravel road.
~ Take this road approximately. 1.8 miles (as the road steepens it gets rougher, and goes up the Mt. via a series of switchbacks) Lost Wall Parking is just past the fourth switchback on the left. Continue past the Lost Wall pullout up the mountain. The road improves again once it levels off near the top of the mountain.
~ When the road splits, take the Right fork (Rocky Road ) 1.3 miles further.
~ Turn Left onto Rocktown Road (sign) dirt road 1/3 mile to parking area.

Trailhead is @ the right corner of the parking lot, next to the information kiosk. There is a flat trail leading 1 mile to the climbing area.

If coming from the north (i.e. Trenton, GA or Chattanooga, TN), You can come across lookout mountain on 136. When you intersect 193, take it to the right. You will come to the Fina station at the right turn onto Chamberlain Rd after 10 minutes or so. This eliminates driving into and out of Lafayette, GA.

Maps & other info

More information about Pigeon Mountain
Pigeon Mountain and Lookout Mountain form a V, like the thumb and index finger of a person's left hand held palm down, with Lookout being the index finger and Pigeon being the thumb. Nestled in the V shape is the Chickamauga Valley's lovely McLemore Cove, a National Historic District.  The mountain was named for the passenger pigeon, now extinct, which in the 1800s roosted there by the thousands. In the 1920s and 1930s some 30 families lived on Pigeon Mountain, working small farms and perhaps making moonshine liquor. Their names have stayed behind as part of the landscape, as in Rape Gap, Ellison's Cave, and Pettijohn's Cave. The 1930s saw a lowering of the water table on the mountain, causing all the wells to dry up and the families to abandon their homes. The water table has yet to return to its former level.

This is an area with many natural features of exceptional value for wildlife, recreation, and historical, archeological, and educational purposes. For years it has been studied by scientists, who are still finding new and exciting plants, animals, and natural environments. Some 21 rare plants and several rare salamanders are found here. The area was leased by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources in 1969. Since that time, the state has purchased more than 13,000 acres of the mountain. The land is managed as the Crockford–Pigeon Mountain Wildlife Management Area, primarily for wildlife and the protection and enhancement of the mountain's many natural features.


CAMPING @ Crockford-Pigeon Mountain

There are free camping areas, with NO facilities, that are first come first use.  There are two designated areas, which are strictly enforced, so be sure you’re in a real campsite before you set up your stuff.  The first area is at the bottom of the mountain, off the main road to the right, just passed the Pettijohn’s parking area.  There is a rough loop road cut through the woods and plenty of spots available.  At the top of the mountain, past the road to Rocktown is a horse camp that also has camping.

Other camping options
If you’d rather not camp at Crockford-Pigeon Mountain, the closest State Park is
Cloudland Canyon State Park


ROCKTOWN TRAIL to get to the climbing area

1 mile one-way. Exploration of the massive boulders within the 150 acres of Rocktown can easily consume the better part of a day. Some of the boulders are as large as three-story office buildings; a narrow pedestal supporting a caprock resembles a 25-foot-tall champagne glass; and deep inside a narrow, dark crevice it is cool enough for hikers to see their breath even though the outside temperature may be close to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

The reddish rocks of this ancient river delta that hikers see along the trail or imbedded in the sandstone formations of Rocktown are iron ore deposits. At one time there were 10 iron mines on the mountain. These deposits add a special visual interest to the Rocktown environment, because the softer sandstone erodes around them. Rocktown is easy to reach and would be a suitable hike for those of almost any age or physical condition. The trail is marked with pink blazes.
 

 

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