The Aska Adventure Area – the heartbeat of Fannin County.
The Aska Adventure Area is located a few miles out of the City of Blue Ridge, but it is still part of Fannin County. Riddled with hiking trails including large sections of theAppalachian Trail and of the Benton MacKaye Trail, the Aska Adventure Area is the home of the Toccoa River, a favorite summer activity with hundreds of tubers enjoying this beautiful natural wonder.
Your adventure really starts when you turn off onto Aska Road, just past Ace Hardware Store. A beautiful, winding path takes you south (uphill) towards the best this area has to offer. On your left, you will pass Aska Farms – an amazing and picturesque Farm, where weddings are an every day occurrence. Slow down and enjoy the scenery and enjoy the cows, horses and (in early spring) the beautiful Bradford Pearl trees on this picturesque property.
You will drive by the famous Aska Trails – a very popular hiking area for our visitors. Although not really designed for serious hikers, the Aska Trails offer a great hiking experience for beginners as well as people who can do a nice seven mile loop.Please be warned, that especially in season, these trails are very busy, so if you are looking for a peaceful and silent experience of our natural beauty, you might be mobbed and find yourself in the middle of a noisy experience.
In a further few miles of leisurely drive you will see the Toccoa River on your left, where you can pull over and take a dip or simply take photographs. The famous ‘party rocks’ were the subject of some controversy a few years ago, but are definitely worth a stop.
A few miles further south, the Lilly Pad Village will be on your left – you simply cannot miss the large fishing pond and (especially in season) the numerous cars, guests and kids enjoying a day of gem mining, mini golf and fishing. The mini golf is absolutely unique – built into the side of a mountain – very cool and shaded in the summer, not to mention the sounds of nature that surround you while you meet the challenge. The gem mining is perhaps the best – they do spend a lot of time explaining the finds and make your experience not just fun, but educational also. Not many gem mining companies offer the this service or guarantee the best finds!
Fire Station Lucky 13 is a quarter mile on your right and is the social center of the Aska Adventure Area. Staffed by volunteers, this Fire Station is also the home to Aska CERT..
The Toccoa Riverside Restaurant will be just half a mile past the Lilly Pad Village and is the largest sit down, family style restaurant in the Aska Adventure Area. Having been destroyed by a fire a few years ago, the Toccoa Riverside Restaurant was re-built and offer an amazing view of the Toccoa River as well as great food (Trout is my favorite).
Directly across from the restaurant is Stanley Creek Road – actually a beautiful winding party paved partly gravel road, which is actually a shortcut to Hwy 115 just north of Ellijay. The first part of this road in Fannin County is actually part of the Benton MacKaye Trail System and your turn to take if you are looking for Falls Branch Falls.
Proceed deeper into the Aska Adventure Area along the Toccoa River – in half a mile you will see the Shallowford Bridge to your left. This area is a busy little intersection in the summer as it houses two different tubing companies as well as providing the ‘take out’ spot at the end of your tubing trip. The Shallowford Tube Rental Company is across the bridge and is one of the oldest tube rental businesses in the Aska Adventure Area. You will see the famous diamond shaped trail blazers along the bridge as it is part of the Benton MacKaye Trail.
SIDE TRIP: Crossing the bridge and turning right onto Shallowford Bridge Road will take you along the river to dead end into Dial Road. Turning left on Dial will get you to Hwy 60, but not before you pass the famous Tilley Bend Church and Cemetery which is supposed to be one of the few haunted locations in the Aska Adventure Area. If you turned right at the intersection of Shallowford Bridge Road and Dial Road, you will find yourself at Sandy Bottom, a great little camping area as well as the launch for most tubers on the Toccoa River. Be careful here, as you do have to pay for parking and it is an honor system and can be easily missed – miss it though and you will get ticketed. Sandy Bottom is a great place to swim and fish also.
Back on Aska Road, after Shallowford Bridge you will get to the Toccoa Campground (about three miles past the bridge) – a great camping site right on the river as well as the home of the ‘Pink Tubes’. Along the way you will see a number of pretty pastures with horses and cows. The scenery is spectacular.
Soon after the Camp Ground, you will pass the Noontootla Creek Fire Station and will come to a dead end intersection with Newport Road.
Heading RIGHT on Newport from ASKA Road: In about half a mile you will see the well known Jon Ron Toccoa River Outfitters – your destination should you wish to rent a Kayak or a Canoe for your River or Lake adventure. Ron and Juanita are great people and you will be well treated. Passing Jon Ron, in about three miles you will get to Noontootla Creek Farms on your left. Often you hear the sound of shot guns – reason being that NCF is a great skeet shooting destination. Call them for hours and rest assured that you will be in good hands. Newport will dead end you into Double Head Gap. Double Head Gap will get you to Hwy 52 if turning to the right (You will see a turn off on F.S. 42 to Springer Mountain on the left in about 1.5 miles)
Heading LEFT on Newport from ASKA Road: Once you turn, you will drive by some beautiful pastures on your left and soon arrive to Van Zandt’s on your right. One of the oldest stores in the area, Van Zandt’s is a great little stop. They have great food to enjoy on location or take with you as well as a little grocery store for basic items you may have forgotten to pack. Soon you will come to a dead end into Dial Road. Turning left will take you back to Sandy Bottom and Shallowford Bridge Road, whereas turning right on Dial will take you to Hwy 60, but not before passing the famous Chastain House on the left, which is also supposed to be a Haunted House. I was not a believer, but I did do some design work on the house myself and having experienced strange phenomena – I do believe it is haunted. Turning right on Hwy 60, in 1.3 miles, you will see the sign to the Swinging Bridge on your right (F.S.816).
As you can see, the Aska Adventure Area has a lot to offer. From swimming, kayaking, tubing, fishing, hiking and some great family activities, it is a favorite Blue Ridge destination, with Aska Road being it main artery. The Lilly Pad Village is a kind of mini Chamber Of Commerce for the area. Stop by and get are information, hiking directions or listen to some of our great stories of folklore of the area.Learn about the Flora and Fauna – which by the way is absolutely amazing.