Three Forks

Three Forks

Approximate size (acres): GA 5,426; NC 3,776
Old-growth known (acres): GA 213; NC 232

This area lies in the heart of the wild lands between Clayton and South Carolina. Within it, Overflow, Big, and Holcomb Creeks converge at a common point to form the namesake feature and the West Fork of the Chattooga River. Continuous with the Overflow Creek Wilderness Study\ area in North Carolina, the watersheds of all three streams are almost entirely forest. That condition helps ensure natural flow patterns and good water quality in this area and downstream in the Chattooga River.

Anglers drawn to these streams for some of the finest trout fishing in Georgia also find solitude and spectacular scenery. The streams have cut down into the landscape and out of the modern world. The steep slopes and rush of the flowing water cut off intrusions from outside. Swirling water and rock have bored deep circular shafts creating striking and unusual rock formations. The streams rush over at least eight cascades on their way to Three Forks, often with dark banks of rhododendron framing them. The rhododendron occasionally breaks to reveal some of the largest overhanging cliffs in the Georgia Blue Ridge.

Hikers on the Three Forks Trail pass through only natural ecosystems on their way to the core of the area. The area has been almost untouched by logging for the last 40 years. That lack of disturbance has allowed some extraordinary forest to develop, like a shortleaf pine stand with the four tallest known shortleaf pines in Georgia and the tallest pitch pine ever documented (146 feet). The Wild and Scenic River designation protects a corridor downstream of Three Forks and part of Overflow Creek, but other streams and the surrounding area are largely unprotected.

Help us protect this 16,000-acre oasis of waterfalls, old-growth, rare species, panoramic views, and world-class trails.


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