Just west of Tallulah Falls in the Chattahoochee National Forest lies Seed lake. One of six lakes that now occupy the original riverbed of the Tallulah River this 240 acre man made lake provides recreational opportunities including boating, fishing and swimming. The lake was formed by the completion of Nacoochee Dam in 1927. The dam stands 75 feet tall and spans 490 feet between the surrounding hillsides. The dam is one of six dams in a series that provide hydroelectric power to the surrounding areas serviced by Georgia Power. Being just a short drive from northern Atlanta this area is popular with tourists, hikers, campers and those owning vacation homes on the lake. A drive down Seed Lake Road and then Lake Rabun Road will provide a free tour of some of the spectacular homes in the area.
If you’re interested in wilderness travel instead then you want to follow Crow Creek Road and Bear Gap Road on the opposite shore. These roads skirt the shoreline and follow along the southern ridge that overlooks the lake. Both paths have multiple Forest Service Roads that leave the well maintained dirt behind and head up the ridges into the National Forest. Immediately on Bear Gap Road is a parking area for the Minnehaha Falls trail head. Scratched into a short staircase are the words to Minihaha, which sparks a great debate about the spelling of the fall’s name. Since it earns it’s name from Minnehaha from Song of Hiawatha I’m on the side that spells it so. Parking here and taking a short 0.6 mile hike will earn you views of Minnehaha Falls, a cascading water feature that drops over 100 feet into a pool below.
Many of the Forest Service roads are gated off during certain times of the year, but foot traffic is allowed year round. On our most recent visit we took the time to explore up FS 2 off of Bear Gap Road where we discovered an eastern box turtle on his way across the road. I took the opportunity to snap a few pictures before gently relocating him safely off the road so that we could continue. Eastern box turtles are slow movers and quite vulnerable to being crushed by vehicles on roads and agricultural equipment in fields. This particular road isn’t heavily traveled and I doubt this turtle had seen a vehicle or possibly even a person before. FS 2 is not regularly maintained and has multiple ruts and washed out areas that make picking the correct line through obstacles, even in a well equipped vehicle, important. Several times on this drive I maxed out the Tacoma’s suspension and put the vehicle up on three wheels. If you’re looking for a gorgeous drive through the woods with some mild off road obstacles this is the road for you.