Hikes n' Climbs Altamaha Gordonia

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Altamaha Gordonia

Hike/Site Details

Trail Type
Choose your own path
Skill Level
1 hour

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Geographic Location


In all honestly this really doesn't deserve to be on bnoutdoors as there was nothing extreme about it, nor is there any lick of hiking short of walking around a lake, but it was interesting enough in terms of biodiversity to throw up here, as we collectively share interest in nature.  Altamaha Gordonia receives its name from the swampy Altamaha river adjacent, and the rare Gordonia tree, either once previously or currently located near here.  I stopped over here on the weekend to have a quick place to stay on the way to visit my sister over in Hinesville, GA at Ft. Stewart.  My son and I went and decided to spend the night here in the tent, and it was notable in my memory, as the first spanish moss filled,  swamp camping I've ever done, though, guaranteed not to be my last as I deeply desire to have the Altamaha River basin actual, and the Okeefenokee swamp on the list.  Big nuts tilt will definitely get raised sleeping with wild gators in the area.

Now there is really nothing extreme about this place, other than the mosquitos, which violently attacked me within 3 seconds after exiting the car..  I immediately said to my son, Brooks, "OK, new rule, we wear bug spray, and the tent doors stay closed at all times."  Wow, I was literally in shock, being swarmed by mosquitos within seconds.  Now, somewhere between Atlanta and the Florida border, lies this Mosquito line, where anywhere south of it, you will be abused and relentlessly attacked by these insects.  First experience for me with this, and it was severe.  Curiously enough, only Alaska and Colombia have compared.  Yes, Alaska..  in the summer has quite the mosquito-bird, I mean mosquito problem. (They are HUGE in Alaska)  This would later be deeply evidenced, by the number of mosquito welts left on our bug-spray-coated legs.

The Altamaha river is also the location for Les Stroud's "Georgian Swamp" Survivorman episode, and the Altamaha Gordonia park is only a small manmade intrusion into this wilderness.  This alone, makes it notable in my memory.

While the luxuries of state parks are all here, water, electric, and hot showers...  I couldn't help but wonder what critters, lay in the swamp just 100 feet down the hill from my tent site.

Uno, my over-alert hound, was aware of ever last little thing that went on there, and constantly sounded his alarm letting me know he wasn't entire comfortable with the surroundings. 

As night fell, the frogs and swamp critters started their incessant droning, and I'm realizing this will be my inauguration into the night southern swamp.   As we lay in the tent, it was quite surprisingly cool with low humidity, as I fully expected to be bathed in sweat and clamminess, miserably for the whole night. 

Uno, however, would not be still, as something relatively large, slapped into the swamp water below, he instantly sounded the alarm and fully tense, stood staring from the height of the picnic table into the dark swamp.  I, really wanting to sleep at this point, walked him down to the water's edge, trying to show him there was nothing to be concerned about, and secretly hoped I wouldn't stumble onto some gator sitting at the edge of the water just waiting for some suburban idiot to stumble haplessly into his jaws.

Shining lights, into the water, I could see countless frogs, sitting in the trees, and around the rim of the water, singing their evening songs as their throats expanded into that odd-looking bubble.

Uno wouldn't settle down, just constantly alert to all the strange sounds, finally got shoved into the tent where finally we all slept peaceably. 

I woke, to the sound of tank fire, from the Ft. Stewart Firing Range.  Now, this was incredibly impressive to me.  The range is 40 miles away!  Yet I could distinctly hear the clear sound of massive guns firing, and shells exploding, and it was a continuous sound of rolling thunder peaked by echoing explosions.  I laid there just listening, amazed, and thinking on that kind of power.

I would later learn, over that weekend at Ft. Stewart, with brother-in-law Army Chaplain Matt Weathers,  that these guys were firing M1A1 Abrams tanks and perhaps the mighty Paladin Howitzer.  The shells, apparently only half-power or something, easily audible at a range of 40 miles, had me in utter awe and fear at what the receiving end of a full-powered shell would feel like.  Stunning power.  I'm so glad I wasn't an Iraqi soldier sitting in some outdated Russian tank being fired upon by the 3rd ID from miles away with the accuracy of inches, from some invisible, undetectable distance.   What a helpless, off-to-your-death place that would have to be.  You wouldn't stand a chance.  I don't know what the range of that Paladin is, maybe some 20 miles, I'm sure Matt could tell us, but the reflection of that, while hearing it in person was unforgettable.  Seems that these guys are limited to firing only 20 shots a day, as the shock wave from the shots can eventually liquify your brain.  This thunder would roll, incessantly all morning.

The Altamaha Gordonia park, really doesn't offer terribly much, unless you are a fan of golf.  There is a lake, with some paddle boats and all sorts of camping...  This unfortunately will receive a big nuts tilt of 0, but it did afford an interesting southern swamp introduction for this Appalachian adventurer.


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Altamaha Gordonia
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Altamaha Gordonia


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Editor reviews

Altamaha Gordonia 2012-04-15 15:01:03 Shane Lewis
Overall rating 
Trail Conditions 
Camp Sites 
Water Availability 
Big Nuts Tilt 
Reviewed by Shane Lewis    April 15, 2012
Last updated: April 15, 2012
#1 Reviewer  -   View all my reviews

Check it out if you are down this way and need a place to crash the night, otherwise relatively unremarkable. It does offer a genuine swamp view.


Good Points
Unique place for the mountain camper, great introduction to swamp-type camping, camp amenities are nice.
Bad Points
Nothing terribly exciting here, no hiking to speak of, or much else, but golf.
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