Trails: Cottage/Beach, Cottage
Campground Spur, and Campground/Picnic Trails
Russell State Park
Geographic Location: northeast of
Length: 3.9 miles
Difficulty: 4/10 (Easy/Moderate)
Last Hiked: May 2013
Overview: A front-country figure-eight hike with views of
Park Information: http://gastateparks.org/RichardBRussell
Google Map: http://www.mappedometer.com/?maproute=194758
Directions to the trailhead: From Elberton, take SR 77 north. On the north side of Elberton, turn right on
Road, SR 77C.
Take Ruckersville Rd.
7.9 miles to the park entrance, and turn right to enter the park. Pass the park office and continue along the
main park road. Where the golf course
road angles left, curve right to head for the picnic parking area. The hike starts beside the picnic area
restroom building overlooking the lake.
The hike: For my general introduction to
see the Blackwell Bridge Trail blog entry. The hike
described here uses some of the park’s newest trails to make a figure-eight
route through the park’s developed areas.
Although this hike does not feature any historic or scenic sites, the
woods are nice enough to make it worthwhile. Richard B.
Russell State Park
|Concrete walkway at trailhead|
|Richard B. Russell Lake|
|Bridge over small stream|
The trail descends gradually as it curves to the right with the cottage area road through the trees on your left. The going is very easy, but take your time through here: this is the nicest forest in the park. At 1.8 miles, the spur trail to the cottage area exits left where the trail turns sharply right.
Now back near lake level, the trail curves around an inlet, rises to top a small bluff, then descends to lake level again. Partially obstructed views of the lake appear through the trees to the left, but no clear views emerge. Soon the trail ascends from the lake on a gradual to moderate grade and joins an old road.
|Major intersection at pinch of figure-eight|
In quick order the trail crosses the main park road, passes through a small man-made clearing, and crosses the campground access road, gradually descending as it goes. At 3.4 miles, the Campground Spur ends at the campground. To begin the final leg back to the picnic area, angle left and look for the wooden portal that marks the beginning of the Campground/Picnic Trail.
|Portal for Campground/Picnic Trail|
With its dirt surface and narrow width, the Campground/Picnic Trail is by far the most primitive trail used on this hike. The trail descends steeply but only for a short time to cross a small wet area without the aid of a bridge. With lake in view to the right, the trail climbs gradually to emerge at the picnic area. A brief walk through the picnic area on paved trail will return you to your car and complete the hike.