A popular destination for day-hikers, Benton MacKaye Trail through hikers, and paddlers making the journey down the Toccoa River Canoe Trail is the swinging bridge over the Toccoa River. This 265 foot long bridge is the longest swinging bridge east of the Mississippi River.
In 1976 the Forest Service, along with the Georgia Appalachian Trail Club replaced a dangerous ford of the Toccoa River in this area. The bridge, built by a private contractor, was completed in 1977 and has become a landmark in Fannin County and a popular camping spot in the Blue Ridge Wildlife Management Area.
The Benton MacKaye Trail and the swinging bridge are only open to foot traffic. Camping by the Toccoa River on either side of the river is extremely popular and it is unmanaged. Plan on a weekday visit to secure a site.
This is a good hike to take with small children, the walk to the river is about 0.5 miles and it is a gradual slope downhill on the way to the bridge. There is one short length which is steep, but not too steep.
It won’t take you but a few steps to figure out why they call this “The Swinging Bridge”. Your walking motion will cause the bridge to sway from side-to-side. But don’t worry, the bridge actually sways less in the middle than it does closer to the ends.
Directions- From Morganton, go south on Ga Hwy 60 approximately 7.5 miles. You will pass the Old Skeenah Mill go 0.7 miles further and turn right on USFS 816 (gravel road), This road is hard to find and not well marked. I find it by watching for a “hiking sign” where the trail crosses Hwy 60, USFS 816 (unmarked gravel road) turns right immediately at this sign . NOTE: This will be the second of these signs you will see when driving on Hwy60 from Morganton. Follow USFS 816 for approximately 3.0 miles where it ends in a parking area. As forest roads go, this is a fairly good road, no steep drop-offs or difficult terrain. We have had all sorts of vehicles follow us on this road.
At the end of the road and parking area, you will see the trail head, which will lead you down to the Toccoa River and the Swinging Bridge. The trail is marked with a “blaze” a White Diamond, indicating that you are on the Benton MacKaye Trail. You may also notice in places a White Rectangle, which is the blaze for The Appalachian Trail.
Directions From Aska Rd. – Take Aska Road all the way to the end and TURN LEFT on Newport Rd. Go approximately 1 mile until road ends and TURN RIGHT on Dial Rd. Take Dial Road to end and TURN RIGHT on Hwy 60.
Go approximately 1.7 miles and you should see the hiking sign mentioned above. TURN RIGHT and follow the directions above to the parking area.
When you check-in with us at Sundance Cabin Rentals, we will be glad to mark out on a map for you the exact location of the roads and Toccoa Swing Bridge.