A well kept secret for free summertime family fun is the Dauset Trails Nature Center located in Jackson Georgia between Indian Springs and High Falls Parks on Mt. Vernon Road!
Dauset Trails offers clearly marked hiking and biking trails as well as a separate 10 mile horse trail! (BYOH=Bring Your Own Horse!) Part of the hiking trails wander through the wildlife reserve area where
hawks, owls, raccoons, bison, bobcats and other native wildlife is cared for. For those wanting an up close look at gentler creatures there is a farm yard exhibit that is home to horses, chickens, goats and pigs!
The trails are all so well maintained we were easily able to push a baby stroller along. The trails for the most part are clear enough to be wheelchair accessible with the exception of perhaps the sandy areas around the wildlife exhibit trail. These spots with loose sand caused us to slow our pace but it didn’t slow the 5 year old racing ahead and screeching in delight as she spotted another surprise at every turn!
The Dauset Trails visitor center offers ‘scavenger hunt’ lists for children of all ages to use to seek out ‘hidden surprises’ such as the giant acorn or the ‘half the men we use to be’ exhibit. No…I’m not giving away details, you don’t want me ruining your surprise do you??
The visitor center has a nice patio porch area that overlooks the creek where carp and turtles can be seen. Ducks, guess and even the carp readily come close enough for picture taking when you put change in the feed dispenser and toss grain or dog food like kibbles their way!
There is a cold drink dispenser and well kept bathroom facilities, but better pack your picnic lunch if you are spending the day! There is a shaded picnic area near the pond and it is also close to the bathrooms and visitor center. Of course anything less than a day doesn’t do justice to all the exhibits and beautiful garden and woodland trails to be seen.
There is even a children’s walk made of step stones children have decorated that are placed in a loop circuit in a nice shaded grove. Parents can rest on nearby benches as the children hop from step to step and wind their way through the grove always in sight and calling distance!
Dauset Trails Nature Center has limited camping areas and a pavillion for group use such as Boy Scout or Church groups that are looking for an ideal location to bring their young people. Ask at the Visitor center about availability and details.
Be sure to take your camera and capture the delightful expressions of children young and old as the garden and hiking trails surprise visitors with unexpected sculptures, beautiful butterflies and flowers shrubs and plants of various types! There are always great picture opportunities with the animal exhibits and even the unexpected rabbits, geese and turtles you may spot if you walk slowly and look closely!
You may want to plan your adventure early in the day to beat the heat when the temperatures and humidity start to soar, but if there is any kind of breeze at all, the shade along the trails really offers quite a bit of break from the heat and sun.
Yes–all this is FREE and open to the public . There are no admission or parking fees, though donations are always appreciated and can be dropped into the box outside the visitor center ( if you take a donation inside to the office they give you a free gift to say thanks!)
Dauset Trails Nature Center is open:
and is located at:
Call Monday-Saturday 9:00-5:00, Sunday 12:00-5:00 360 Mt. Vernon Rd.
Or visit online at: Dauset Trails .Com