Atlanta may not be what comes to mind when thinking for a place to go to enjoy the great outdoors. But our little known secret is how close we are to any number of incredible spots to be “with” nature and enjoy the great outdoors. I recently got to explore Sweetwater Creek State Park, a short 15 minute ride west of Atlanta, and was impressed at the place and shocked that I have been a resident of this city for close to three decades and I had never been.
The park sits along a reservoir (with all sorts of water activities possible, like fishing and paddle boats) and a creek flowing from it into the larger Chattahoochee River, as it makes its way down to Alabama, Florida, and eventually, the Gulf of Mexico.
A lot of work is being done around the park and its visitor center looks to be quite new. It has some exhibits, a gift shop, and very helpful folks to answer any questions. We got a map and were told to be sure to do the red trail as it has the more scenic views of the creek and the old mill. Yes, as any self-respecting creek in the South must, Sweetwater Creek was the former home of a mill for the New Manchester Manufacturing Company.
The ruins of the mill, burnt down during the Civil War are still standing which makes for some great photo opportunities. The fact that its ruins are still there helps transport one to the times not long ago (maybe a century ago?) when mills and ferries were commonplace in this area. So much so that many streets in Atlanta bear names like Howell Mill, Paces Ferry, Sewell Mill, Montgomery Ferry, etc.
After doing the shorter red trail, we connected to the longer white trail. At some point the white trail departs the shores of the Sweetwater Creek and head inland and uphill. The whole circuit was around 5 miles and it took us about an hour and forty minutes. It was a glorious morning in late winter in Atlanta and my first visit to Sweetwater Creek State Park could not have been any better! And some folks planned ahead exactly how they were going to enjoy the weather and the view!
Read about these other great hikes in Georgia:
… and more to come!