June 2019 note: This campground and trails may now be closed.
Running out of places to ride your off-road vehicle? The US Forest Service in Murphy offers 12 trails rated from easy to difficult with such names as “Schoolbus” and “Rock Garden”. The #1 trail was easy enough for my Jeep Liberty – didn’t need 4-wheel drive, but we used it anyway just for the fun of it! Some of the other trails are for ATVs only. We saw all kinds of trucks that had been modified for off-road use. After a good rain, there should be a lot of “mud-boggers”!
Hanging Dog Campground is at an elevation of 1600’ and situated on Hiawassee Lake. Only a few people were camping there at the end of August, making this the perfect spot for a quiet getaway. The lake was down a little but several folks were having no trouble getting their boats down the ramp. There is a picnic area right on the water, and history buffs can take the trail to the Old Hiawassee Cemetary.
Some Internet searching will yield very interesting history of the Hanging Dog area at the end of the Civil War. On September 11, 1864, rebel soldiers took William Gentry and two of his sons prisoner. They were taken to the Robbinsville area, tied to a tree and shot for their anti-slavery beliefs. One of the last battles of the Civil War was fought at Hanging Dog on May 6, 1865. Several iron mines were working in these mountains during the war including Johnson’s Bloomery Forge from 1845-1853, and Lower Hanging Dog Forge beginning in 1840.
Directions: from Franklin Hwy 64 west to Murphy; left at traffic light; right on Hiawassee St; left onTennessee St which turns intoJoe Brown Hwy. Stay on the for several miles; turn right on Hanging Dog road for Tellico ORV trails; stay on Joe Brown Hwy about 2 miles to Hanging Dog Campground on the left