This year’s Black Bear Plunge on Jan. 1 may be more like a polar bear plunge. The high in Ellijay will reach 31 degrees on New Year’s Day, according to, and Fort Mountain is more than 1,500 feet higher in elevation. But don’t let that dissuade you.

Black Bear Plunge is New Year’s Day at Fort Mountain State Park

The annual Black Bear Plunge into the lake at Fort Mountain State Park is set once again for New Year’s Day.

Registration begins at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 1, and participants plunge into the icy waters at 11 a.m.

Registration on the day of the event is $20.

“Are you brave enough to walk, run or swim into our mountain lake on New Year’s Day?” asks a release from the Gilmer Chamber.

“If so, join our southern version of a polar bear plunge. Afterward, warm up with hot chocolate, coffee and a fire.”

The long-range forecast for Jan. 1 is 33 degrees for a high with a “wintry mix” of precipitation — in Ellijay (1,280 feet in elevation), according to

Fort Mountain’s elevation is 2,851 feet.

The Fort Mountain State Park website is, and the phone number is 706-422-1932. The address of the park for GPS users is 181 Fort Mountain Park Road, Chatsworth, GA 30705.

Times Courier

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 1076
Ellijay, GA. 30540

Phone: 706-635-4313
Fax: 706-635-7006