Hike Location: Bryan Park
Crawford, GA (33.88986, -83.15547)
Length: 0.75 miles
Difficulty: 1/10 (Easy)
Last Hiked: January 2013
Overview: A loop hike around a small pond with a short woodland section.
Hike Route Map: http://www.mappedometer.com/?maproute=150137
Directions to the trailhead:
is located on US 78 in Oglethorpe County 3 miles west of Crawford, GA Lexington. In “downtown” Crawford, turn north on North Street at the only traffic light in town. Drive North St. 0.5 miles to Lakeshore Dr. and a sign for Bryan Park. Turn right on Lakeshore Dr., which dead-ends in the park. Park in the blacktop parking lot on the right just after entering the park.
The hike: Situated one county east of
Athens, derives its name from General James Oglethorpe, the founder of the British colony of Oglethorpe County Georgia. Moreover, the town of Crawford, the location of this hike, was named for William H. Crawford, a statesman who practiced law in nearby Lexington. Crawford ran for President of the United States in 1824, but he lost to the famous Andrew Jackson. Crawford is buried at his former home site about 0.5 miles west of the city.
In addition to statesmanship,
has a long history of agriculture, especially tobacco and cotton. You will still see some agriculture in practice as you drive out US 78, but this land’s most productive days ended long ago with the onset of the Great Depression. Like most rural counties, Oglethorpe County does not maintain a large system of parks. In fact, the county only operates 3 parks, and of the three only Bryan Park has a significant trail system. The short hike at Bryan Park does not make a top-tier hiking destination, but it provides a nice walk if you are out for a drive in the country. Unless you come here on a summer weekend when the athletic fields are in use, you will likely have this trail to yourself. Oglethorpe County
To start the hike, walk further up the paved road and pass a small building on your left. This building has a large back deck overlooking the park’s pond. Just past the building, angle left and leave the pavement to walk across the earthen dam that creates the pond. A sign here says “Foot Traffic Only” in green letters. On my visit on an early Saturday afternoon, a large group of white ducks and Canadian geese were searching the shallow pond waters for a meal.
|Trail across dam|
|Ducks and geese at pond|
50 feet from the trailhead, the trail splits to form its short loop. I chose to continue straight and hike the loop clockwise. The trail crosses a small stream on a wooden footbridge and angles right. A tree had fallen across this bridge on my visit, but the bridge was still structurally sound.
Just after angling right, you pass a fire ring built into the ground. Past the fire ring, the trail becomes harder to discern, but it roughly parallels the small creek to your right. 0.4 miles into the hike, the trail crosses the stream on another wooden bridge, this one larger than the first one and with hand rails. A short walk along the other side of the creek closes the loop. Turn left to return to the engraved stone that serves as a trailhead marker and the secondary parking area.
|Large wooden footbridge|
While you are in the area,
operates another park just down the road that is worth a visit: Shaking Rock Park. To reach it, continue east 3 more miles on US 78 to the town of Oglethorpe County Lexington and turn right on Shaking Rock Road, which deadends at the park. Shaking Rock Park has only 1 trail measuring 0.2 miles in length, but the trail leads to an interesting group of boulders balanced precariously on top of each other. The park’s name comes from the fact that the boulders used to wobble when you leaned on them, but recent erosion makes that no longer the case. Have fun observing and climbing on the boulders to end your day in . Oglethorpe County
|Rocks at nearby Shaking Rock Park|