Island Ford South Loop
ElevationAscent: 204' 62 m
Descent: -205' -62 m
High: 1,030' 314 m
Low: 865' 264 m
GradeAvg Grade: 4% (2°)
Max Grade: 15% (9°)
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“A great loop highlighting some of Chattahoochee River's best trails.”— Heather Pruner
At IF 12, take an immediate left across a wooden footbridge over Pond Creek to follow along the river, heading north. The trail continues to hug the river for the next quarter mile, opening up into easy, mostly flat sections through the woods. Along this section, visitors are treated to the first of several large shelter-like rock formations. These are, in fact, thought to have been used by primitive peoples for shelter. In the early mornings, a thick silver-grey mist hangs over the river on the right (east) and swirls in the branches of the trees that linger between the trail and riverbank. Listen for the calls of geese and other waterfowl out on the river.
At IF 14, take a left to head west away from the river and climb some mild elevation ridges through the forest, crossing the occasional trickling stream.
At IF 19, take a right to continue clockwise around the loop. At IF 17, the trail makes a 4-way intersection. Head straight north to loop around east and then south to IF 22 and IF 16. At this point, the trail joins back up with the river, heading south.
When the mist has lifted, the trail treats visitors to views across the river through the trees. One can now see the geese, ducks, cormorant, and blue heron mingling with the occasional human fishermen wading patiently out on the rocky shoals that spread across the river. The section between IF 16 and IF 14 also revels more of the distinctive rock formations which make for unique rest stops and photo opts. Continue south to IF 14, joining up to the original section back to IF 11.
If you wish, you can continue straight through IF 11, 12, and 4 to a picnic area below the visitors center (also along the river), or turn right at IF 12 after the bridge to come back the way you started towards the visitor center parking lot.
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