The Dawson Forest Wildlife Management Area is located in Dawson County. This 25,500-acre property offers hunting for deer, bear, turkey, small game, dove, and waterfowl. There are five sections (tracts) of the WMA, including Wildcat Creek, Goethe, Burnt Mountain, Amicalola, and City of Atlanta. The DNR Wildlife Resources Division owns 15,000 acres of the forest, with the City of Atlanta owning the lower 10,000 acres.
Access includes several miles of improved road, marked improved trails, unnamed backcountry trails and old single-track roadbeds available for public use. The forest also offers hunting, fishing and trail access opportunities for handicap users of the property year-round.
Horseback riding and bike trails are closed all day during firearms deer hunts and before 10:00 a.m. during archery and turkey seasons. Trail permits are required for horse and bicycle use. Trail permits are required on City of Atlanta tract. Permits must be completed in person to be valid.
Accommodations & Facilities
- Picnic Sites
- Primitive Campsites
- Geocaching — not allowed during managed hunts or before 10 a.m. during turkey season
- Horseback Riding — City of Atlanta Tract 20–21 Trail Schedule
- Primitive Camping
- Wildlife Viewing
- Allatoona WMA
- Blue Ridge WMA
- Buck Shoals WMA
- Buford Trout Hatchery
- Chattahoochee WMA
- Chestatee WMA
- Chief Vann House State Historic Site
- Cohutta WMA
- Cooper's Creek WMA
- Coosawattee WMA
- Carter's Lake WMA
- Dahlonega Gold Museum State Historic Site
- Etowah Indian Mounds State Historic Site
- Hardman Farm State Historic Site
- Lake Russell WMA
- Lula Bridge WMA
- McGraw Ford WMA
- Pine Log WMA
- Rich Mountain WMA
- Rich Mountain WMA: Cartecay Tract
- Wilson Shoals WMA
- Amicalola Falls State Park & Lodge
- Don Carter State Park
- Fort Mountain State Park
- Smithgall Woods State Park
- Campers are required to camp in designated camping locations only. The entire horse camp parking area is considered a designated camping location. All designated camping locations are shown on a posted map on the information board. These locations will be highlighted with white painted trees and a 12”x12” brown and white sign showing a tent symbol.
- The camping fee will not be required the day prior to and during the check-in big game hunt dates occurring October–December. See the Hunting Regulations for dates.
- Visitors utilizing recreational vehicles, travel trailers, tents, hammocks and passenger vehicles and staying overnight are considered camping and are required to pay the $7 daily fee.