Nestled in the Toccoa River Valley below Pilot Mountain in Suches, Georgia, Wildcat Lodge and Campground offers unlimited mountain recreation opportunities. Historical and cultural activities abound in surrounding communities and in the Chattahoochee National Forest.
Consisting of 82 acres, Wildcat is made up of the old Gilreath and Gurley properties six miles north of the Suches, GA post office on Highway 60.
Both properties have their own unique histories which come together to form one of the finest outdoor enthusiast destinations in the Southeast.
In the spring of 2010, at age 66 J. Donald Oakes began building the Wildcat Lodge and Campground complex for landowner Eva Frazier.
Her vision was to create jobs for the community of Suches. Her dad, Jeptha Souther, instilled in her to give something back to the community..
Mrs. Frazier passed away November 6, 2011 just five months shy of her one hundredth birthday.
Massive renovations began initially on the old Gilreath farm house with modern plumbing and a state of the art bathroom installed in one of the old bedrooms. To accommodate the new plumbing, a new septic system was installed requiring a pump system to discharge waste up the mountainside behind the house. Electrical wiring was replaced with new wiring and outlets throughout the house. The original floors and walls were saved by cleaning, sanding, painting, and staining.
The Gilreath property makes up the northwest part of Wildcat. On that portion sets the Lodge (the renovated family farm house built in the 1890's). Originally built by the Garrett family, it was purchased by the McClure family in the 1900's.
An old primitive McClure family cemetery is located on the property having seven graves marked with rock headstones. Two graves are known to be those of John Cochran, baby, and Elizabeth Garrett, one year old. The property was purchased by the Gilreath family later on.
Even though most of the property is wooded with steep mountains, farming was the mainstay as was the case in most of the mountain region. Ellsworth and Eva Frazier purchased the property from the Gilreaths in 1988 and let it sit dormant until 2010.
In addition to the farm house, three barns and cribs still stand (and are in very good condition).
The Gurley property makes up the remainder of Wildcat and is home to the old country store, the old Gurley farm house and hay barn. W.C. (Carl) Gurley bought the property from Lester and Bertha Lunsford Tritt in the early 1920's and he later sold it to Ellsworth and Eva Frazier in the 1980's.
Mr. Gurley ran the country store on the property until the late 1980's. In his younger years he suffered a broken leg while clearing trees which required a bone graft (during his farming years). Several years later he developed a bone tumor which resulted in the loss of his leg. He was fitted with a wooden leg and wore it the remainder of his life. Folks say that they can still hear an occasional "thump thump thump" sound of his wooden leg on the floor and catch an occasional glimpse of his shadow meandering around "his" store.
Unlike the Gilreath property the Gurley property is relatively flat with rolling pasture land.
The old store was built in the 1840's on a site about a quarter mile east of where it is located today. Stories vary as to how the store was moved to its current location around 1900. One version says that a team of oxen dragged it alongside Grizzle Creek and another version says that a government bulldozer authorized by Arthur Woody did the moving. Regardless, it has been renovated into a quaint and charming country store with a popular diner.
The diner is quickly earning a reputation for serving the best homemade biscuits in the region. Traditional breakfasts are served along with lunch. The freshly cooked hamburgers are also becoming very popular with locals and visitors. In season, you will enjoy some of the best locally grown produce available anywhere. The service and friendliness of April and the rest of the Wildcat staff are unparalleled anywhere on the planet. Neighbors Robert and Jody Bridges have volunteered countless hours helping us make Wildcat to be the best that it can be.
Both neglected properties resembled a jungle before renovations began. Brush, trees, and vines were cut and burned or split into firewood. Hurricane Opal dropped numerous medium to large pine trees in 1995 adding impassable debris on a large swatch of Wildcat's mountainside. A portion of this mountain was cleared and leveled to make space for 27 RV pads with full hookups. All pads have a spectacular view of lush meadows, valleys, and surrounding mountain peaks. Tent sites are available in shaded (and secluded) knolls as well as open fields. A large and modern bathhouse with a spacious covered pavilion is available to all guests.
You may not want to leave the comforts of Wildcat, but other destinations are within easy reach in case you do. Day trips to Dahlonega, Dawsonville, Cumming, Blue Ridge, Blairsville, Hiawassee, Ellijay, Helen, Gainesville, Murphy, NC and dozens of other nearby towns and villages offer fantastic activities, along with breath-taking scenery provided by the Chattahoochee National Forest.
Off road enthusiasts have virtually unlimited access to trails of varying degrees of difficulty. County roads and U.S. Forest Service roads dot the landscape and are marked on locally available maps.
The forty mile stretch of Georgia Highway 60 between Dahlonega and Blue Ridge is world famous for its scenic and winding roads cut through seemingly impenetrable rock outcroppings. Sharp curves meander through lush mountainous terrain gliding past open vistas and through peaceful valleys cradled by numerous mountain peaks. Sports cars, motorcycles, and bicycles enjoy the thrill and challenge of Highway 60 which brings you to the Wildcat complex. All wheels are welcome!
The possibilities are endless!