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Hike up nearby mountains during Trail Fest
Dahlonega hosts annual event
A hiker is prepared to head into the Northeast Georgia mountains for walk through the wooded trails in Lumpkin County during the 2012 Dahlonega Trail Fest. This year’s event kick off March 27 and ends March 29.

Dahlonega Trail Fest

When: 3 p.m. March 27 to 3 p.m. March 29

Where: Hancock Park and Dahlonega Square

How much: Free

Shuttles to Springer Mountain, Amicalola Falls

When: At the parties’ discretion

How much: Free

More info: or 706-973-9030

Potholes & Roots Race 5K/10K

When: 8 a.m. March 28 for 10K; 8:15 a.m. March 28 for 5K

Where: Hancock Park

How much: $30 for 5K; $40 for 10K; Prices increase after March 24

More info:

For outdoor enthusiasts, the annual Dahlonega Trail Fest is the event to attend in Northeast Georgia.

“If anybody has an interest in the Appalachian Trail or non-motorized recreation, it’s a great way to be around people who love this kind of thing,” Trail Fest Chairman Tom Lamb said.

Dahlonega’s annual Trail Fest will begin March 27 and last until March 29 with plenty camping, activities and food, according to the city’s website.

To start the outdoor recreation, Trail Fest will shuttle participants to and from Springer Mountain and Amicalola Falls for a hike around two of North Georgia’s most distinguished landmarks. Rides also will be available to the beginning of the Appalachian Trail.

The shuttle to Amicalola Falls takes about 25 minutes, and the shuttle to Springer Mountain takes around 1 hour.

Shuttles will to pick attendees from several destinations including Dahlonega Town Square, Gainesville and almost anywhere in between. All shuttles are free but are made by reservation. For more details, contact or call 706-973-9030.

For those who prefer more luxurious transportation, Mama’s Taxi, a Dahlonega-based taxi company, will offer $10 off every shuttle ride as a Trail Fest Special. Pets are also allowed in the taxis.

On Saturday, March 28, the “Potholes and Roots Race” 5K and 10K will be at Hancock Park. The 5-kilometer race is a road-only route and amenable to walkers. The 10-kilometer race covers road and 3.6 miles of the Lake Zwerner Trail. Therefore, sponsors are warning inexperienced runners about the added difficulty.

Runners who register by March 20 are guaranteed a free T-shirt. Awards will be handed out based on overall performance and performance within age groups.

For participants searching for a chance to relax after hiking and running, the festival has an array of activities. Two films will be featured during the festival and live music is on tap.

For some wishing to increase their camping and hiking knowledge, safety demonstrations on proper camping techniques and other helpful tips will be held. Local naturalists will offer free tours around the more grassy parts of the city. And plenty of outdoor activities for kids will be available.

After spending time outdoors, participant can head to Shenanigans Restaurant & Irish Pub or Bourbon Street Grille. Both are the food vendors for the entire weekend. A beer and wine garden tent will be close and feature several brands of beer, wine, ciders and ale.

Five speakers who have hiked the Appalachian Trail and written about their experiences will be onsite.

“(The) panel of people who have hiked the entire trail ... answer questions for about an hour and talk about what it was like. That’s our most popular thing,” Lamb said.

“It’s a great way to get useful information about outdoor recreations.”