An old American chestnut branch persists on the slopes near Springer Mountain. Photo by Jess Riddle

Springer Mountain Springer Mountain Approximate size: 12,659 acres Old-growth known: 712 acres This area is best known for Springer Mountain and the start of America’s most iconic trail, the Appalachian…

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Raccoons are one of many species that benefit from tree cavities. Photo by Patricia L. Cross

Long Mountain Long Mountain Approximate size: 5,493 acres Old-growth known: 210 acres This area is among the most easily overlooked and underappreciated of the mountain treasures. Overlooking Dahlonega from the…

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Yellow passionflower climbs up vegetation next to the Appalachian Trail. Photo by Jess Riddle

Etowah River Headwaters Etowah River Headwaters Approximate size: 5,702 acres Old-growth known: 547 acres One of the largest remaining tracts of old-growth forest in Georgia stretches along the northwestern rim…

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Michaux’s saxifrage grows in a cushion of moss on a rock outcrop south of Blood Mountain. Photo by Jess Riddle

Blood Mountain Wilderness Extensions Blood Mountain Wilderness Extensions Approximate size: 2,955 acres Old-growth known: 461 acres Congress designated the Blood Mountain Wilderness Area in 1991 to protect the area around…

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The Blackwell Creek area provides a rare development-free vista. Photo by Jess Riddle

Blackwell Creek Blackwell Creek Approximate size: 5,183 acres Old-growth known: 18 acres This area lies southwest of Suches and occupies part of the same plateau. The clear streams in this…

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A hiker pauses to enjoy the scenery on Black Mountain. Photo by Jess Riddle

Black Mountain Black Mountain Approximate size: 5,368 acres Old-growth known: 177 acres Any spring, summer, or fall weekend, the parking lot at Woody Gap on the eastern edge of this…

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