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Georgia: Rocky Gap and Willis Knob Horse Trails
Posted on Saturday, November 05 @ 19:39:49 CST by iljiana

Horse Camping & Trails Tallulah Ranger District
809 Hwy. 441 South
Clayton, GA 30525
(706) 782-3320

The Rocky Gap Trail in South Carolina and the Willis Knob Trail in Georgia combine to offer 27.5 miles of the most scenic horseback riding and hiking in the Southern Blue Ridge Mountains. Winding across deeply dissected ridges, the trails descend into the beautiful Chattooga Wild and Scenic River drainage.

The 12.5-mile Rocky Gap Trail has several loops, while the Willis Knob Trail is designed as one large 15 mile continuous loop. Each trail crosses several gravel roads, allowing you to plan trips from one half mile to the full 27.5 miles.

Three fords, Earl's Ford, Adline Branch and Big Island, permit crossing the Chattooga River from one state to the other. These replace the crossings at Moss Mill Creek, Sandy Ford, and Phillips Bend that are now closed to horse use.

Important: Riders need to be aware that high water levels make for difficult crossings. All are negotiable for experienced riders at normal water levels, but Adline Branch is more shallow and is the preferred crossing. Stay posted on weather forecasts so you will not be trapped on the opposite side of the river from your vehicle if heavy rains should occur.


Georgia: Groups wishing to camp in Georgia can stay at the Willis Knob Horse Camp located off Willis Knob. This camp provides two loops-the forward loop offers one double unit site and three single unit sites; and the back loop has one double unit site and one single unit site. There are toilet facilities (handicapped accessible), drinking water, group campfire areas, and a spring fed watering trough. Each loop contains several 6 x 6 posts with eyebolts on which to secure highlines to tether horses on. Each campsite has a cooking grill, picnic table, and a lantern post.

South Carolina: Many riders begin their trip at Whetstone Base Camp, located just south of Whetstone Road. This area offers 18 sites, some of which may be reserved. The camp has drinking water, cooking grills, hitching rails, toilet facilities (handicapped accessible), tables and lantern posts. A day use parking area is located across the road from the camp.


  • In Whetstone Horse Camp only, horses must be loaded and unloaded outside the campground.
  • Horses must be kept in designated areas and away from campsites.
  • Trail bikes, mountain bikes, and off-road vehicles are prohibited on trails.
  • Campers must limit their stay to 14 days.
  • A horse trailer and a pickup are considered as two vehicles. Up to two vehicles will be permitted at each site, others must be kept in parking areas. In Whetstone Horse Camp, only four horses are permitted per site.
  • All pets must be on a leash in the camping area.
  • Build fires only in designated fire rings, using downed wood.
  • Within the Chattooga River Corridor in South Carolina, riding is restricted to the Rocky Gap Trail. Moss Mill Creek and other fords down stream are closed to horse use.
  • Riding on the Bartram, Chattooga River and Three Forks Trails in Georgia is prohibited.
  • Camping along the horse trail is permitted but is subject to general forest regulations which may differ from South Carolina to Georgia. For more information, check with your local Forest Service Office. Camping is not permitted within 1/2 mile of horse camps.
  • Camping is not permitted in day use parking areas.
  • Do not tie horses to trees, use cross ropes.
  • Leave the campground clean, disposing of trash and animal waste in designated sites.
  • Campers must check out no later than 5:00 p.m. Campers may not check in before 5:00 p.m. unless the site is un-occupied.


When reservations are made, a one-night user's fee is required and payable in advance. User fees are non-refundable.

User fees paid in advance are payable by personal check, money order, cashier's check, traveler's check, or credit card (South Carolina only). If reservations are made by telephone or mail, applicable fees must be received 10 days prior to the first day of occupancy.

Fee Schedule:

South Carolina


Georgia (Loops must be reserved)


Organized, advertised, or commercial rides may require a special use permit and route approval by the District Ranger. Special use fees vary by event and are in addition to other fees.


Georgia: From Clayton, go east on Warwoman Road for 11.6 miles. Turn right on Willis Knob road (gravel road) and travel .2 miles to Woodall Ridge Day Use Parking Area on the left. Continue 1.9 miles to Willis Knob Horse Camp on the left.

South Carolina: From Walhalla, go north on S.C. 28 for 7 miles. Turn left on Whetstone Road. Go through the 4-way stop. At pavement end, continue on gravel road approximately 3/4 mile until you reach the sign of Whetstone Base Camp on the left. Day use parking is on the right.


Groups can make reservations, either by phone or letter. The Whetstone Base Camp has several sites that may be reserved. All sites will be available on a first come basis if no reservations have been made. Reservations must be made at least 10 days in advance. To reserve facilities in South Carolina, contact:

Andrew Pickens Ranger District
112 Andrew Pickens Circle
Mountain Rest, SC 29664
(803) 638-9568

The Willis Knob Group Horse Camp is available by reservation only. The entire camp, which includes eight sites, can be reserved. One of the two loops containing three and five sites may be reserved. Reservations must be made and applicable fees received at least 10 days in advance. For reservations of facilities in Georgia, contact:

Tallulah Ranger District
809 Hwy. 441 South
Clayton, GA 30525
(706) 782-3320


  • Protect trails. Horses can do extensive dam age during wet weather.
  • Tie horses so they won't damage trees.
  • Realize that others are using the forest, and honor their use.
  • Pack It In - Pack it out. Carry your trash and someone else's to a refuse container.
  • Please park vehicles so gates, roads and parking areas are not blocked.
  • Be prepared. Carry a first-aid kit, snakebite kit, compass and map while riding.
  • Wear highly visible clothing during hunting season.
  • Be careful and watch for vehicles when crossing roads.
  • Protect your property from theft. It is unsafe to leave valuables in your vehicle unless someone is nearby keeping watch.
  • Stay on trails to avoid stump holes in the woods.
  • When crossing the river, travel on a straight line between the posts.
  • Have at least two adults in your party.
  • Use the lantern poles provided. Lantern heat kills trees.

For more information regarding these horse trails contact one of the following offices:

In Georgia:

In South Carolina:

District Offices

Tallulah Ranger District
809 Hwy. 441 South
Clayton, GA 30525
(706) 782-3320

Andrews Pickens Ranger District
112 Andrew Pickens Circle
Mountain Rest, SC 29664
(864) 638-9568

Forest Supervisor's Offices

Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests
1755 Cleveland Highway
Gainesville, GA 30501
(770) 297-3000

Francis Marion/Sumter National Forests
4931 Broad River Road
Columbia, SC 29210-4021
(803) 561-4000

Related Links
· USDA Forest Service
· Veterinarians
· More about Horse Camping & Trails
· News by iljiana

Most read story about Horse Camping & Trails:
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