Elijah Clark State Park is a 1,972-acre (7.98km2) state park located in Jenkins County and Rabun County in the northeast corner of Georgia. The park was named after Elijah H. Clark, a former speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives and one-time candidate for governor. In his honor, the park’s trails were named the “Elijah H. Clark Trail System.”
The park features hiking trails that range from easy to moderate difficulty and cover much of the Appalachian Mountains ridge line between the Unicoi Mountain Range and the Blue Ridge Mountains. It also has mountain bike trails, camping facilities and an equestrian campground. A visitor center with interpretive displays is open year round at the Lodge on Millhopper Loop Road. On weekends from May through October, there are also naturalist programs offered by the park staff. The park is situated amidst some of the highest peaks in the Appalachians, including Mount Rogers, which is visible across the valley from the west face of the park peak.
Other mountains nearby include Mount Mitchell, Buzzard’s Roost, Flat Top Mountain, Pinnacle Mountain, and Burke Mountain. Lake Lajoie, a reservoir on Shoal Creek, is accessible via the park road and trailhead. The park is easily accessible from Interstate 75 and U.S. Route 19. The park entrance is just off Georgia State Route 297. There are two main entrances to the park. One is on Millhopple Loop Road near the unincorporated town of Cabelands, and the other is on Rock Springs Road near the intersection of Buckquarter and Millhopple Loops. Both entrances have signs identifying them as such. Entrance fees are $3 per person 7 days a week March 16 – November 30, 8 pm December 31 – February 28, 10 pm all others.
The park closes at dusk so people can enter the park but not leave it. No alcoholic beverages or glass containers allowed inside the park. Camping permits must be obtained from the park office. There are 45 tent sites and 20 full hookup sites available. Restrooms facilities including hot showers are provided at both entrances. Overnight accommodations are also available at the lodge, consisting of dormitory style rooms and stand alone cabins. Toilets and shower facilities are common throughout the complex. The park provides many different opportunities for outdoors enthusiasts. At the far end of the park, there is a group shelter that accommodates up to 50 people. Five picnic shelters may be reserved for a fee. Two modern horse stables provide ample space for those interested in taking part in equestrian activities. An 18 hole disc golf course is also available.
The park has four miles (6km) of multi-purpose trails open year round to hikers, cyclists, and horses. These trails feature varying degrees of difficulty and elevation change. The park hosts numerous events, including fall color viewing, Christmas in the Sky, Halloween Hikes, Music in the Mountains, and summer theater productions. The park offers several scenic views of Lake Lajoie, including a view of the entire lake. Fishing is another activity enjoyed during the warmer months. Crappies, bluegill, catfish, and bass are among the fish caught. Hunting is permitted during certain times of the year in specified areas of the park. The designated hunting zones are based upon the seasons and availability of wildlife. Areas of the park containing wooded openings are closed to hunting.
During the winter season, popular activities include:
- cross country skiing