In the Appalachian foothills of North Georgia, just between Atlanta and Chattanooga, TN, is Dalton — home to both a rich textile heritage as well as a thriving outdoors scene. It’s not hard to lose yourself for hours — a couple of days even — hiking the trails, traveling the waterways by kayak or finding activity a stone’s throw from untouched nature that will definitely floor you!

Pinhoti Trail

The Pinhoti Trail system within the Dalton-Whitfield area. (Photo courtesy of The Georgia Jewel)

A 300-mile multi-trail system connecting the Blue Ridge Mountain foothills to the Talladega National Forest, the Pinhoti Trail is the longest footpath in the state of Georgia. While Section 12 of the Pinhoti in Whitfield County is steep and challenging, there is no equal to the beautiful scenery you’ll find while hiking. Stopping for a moment to take in the mountains, the wind passes against the stones with sunlight trickling from the forest canopy, filling you with a primal stillness — a calm that only exists away from the city. 

And if you’re up for the challenge, this portion of the Pinhoti is also home to the annual Georgia Jewel 100 Ultra Trail Race each September when trail runners the world over attend to conquer up to 100 miles of trail in 48 hours.

Haig Mill Lake

Haig Mill Lake from the park ridge. 

Looking for a day out kayaking on a quiet lake? Maybe a spot to cast out your reel for some fishing? Or maybe you and the kids want to go picnic and then a hike through the woods? Haig Mill Lake is one of Dalton’s newest outdoor facilities and a perfect place to spend the day out in the scenic beauty of Dalton.

Red Clay Resort

Red Clay Resort in the summer. (Photo courtesy of Red Clay Resort)

Tell me something: what is better on a hot afternoon riding through the back roads than a refreshing swim? Go ahead… I’ll wait. Thought so! If you happen to be out by Prater’s Mill or visiting Red Clay National Park then you are only a few miles from the crisp, blue water of Red Clay Resort. The spring-fed swimming hole is family-owned and family-friendly with amenities for volleyball, picnicking and so much more.

Westside Disc Golf Course

The disc golf course at Westside Park. (Photo courtesy of Brandon Cawood)

Westside Park in Rocky Face is a beautiful lakeside facility only a short distance from the Interstate. You could spend the day fishing or laying by the water as the geese wander nearby, but that’s only one side of the park. Designed by Prodigy Disc — a local disc golf company made up of world champion players — Westside’s disc golf course was named one of Connect Sports Magazine’s top Disc Golf facilities in the country. With two baskets per hole and plenty of elevation variety, Westside offers a great time for disc golf players to spend an afternoon on the manicured fairways.

Raisin Woods Bike Trail

The bike trails at Raisin Woods.

Named for Dalton native and professional bicyclist Saul Raisin, Raisin Woods Mountain Bike Park is located only a few minutes from the heart of Downtown Dalton. This challenging off-road trail system offers five miles of wilderness trail for mountain biking. Taking the trail by foot is challenging on its own for a hike or a run, but biking the loops through Raisin Woods provides a variety of skill levels for riders of any experience level.

Conasauga River

View near the canoe launch on the Conasauga River. 

The Conasauga River runs through Southeast Tennessee and through Whitfield County. The river flows off the inclines of the North Georgia Mountains before passing into the peaceful stillness of the Cohutta Forests. Pushing off from the shore with a canoe or paddleboard into the shaded wake of the river brings you up close with nature. After a few hours on the water, the Conasauga is sure to be running further and further into your imagination for some time.

If you’re looking for the best of Dalton’s outdoors, explore more of for a local’s guide to the local experience!

By Matt Byrum

Marketing Coordinator, Dalton Convention & Visitors Bureau