Sweetwater Creek State Park is Georgia’s most popular park for daytime hiking and events. It’s a favorite place of Candy from LongLiveLearning, and Eric at Atlanta Trails named Sweetwater Creek one of his Top 10 favorite places to hike. But we’ve never been!! Our mission over Labor Day weekend was to remedy that situation, so our whole family sat out early in the morning to explore the Red Trail.
We settled on the Red Trail because I was anxious to see the ruins of New Manchester mill, which mark the 1/2 mile point on this trail. We spent better than an hour making it to that point, as there are numerous opportunities to play in the water, skip rocks, and draw pictures in the sand.
From the Sweetwater Creek Interpretive Center:
While on the red trail, you have walked through a riparian forest paralleling Sweetwater Creek. Hard metamorphic rocks in the river bed cause the shoals and falls in this stretch of the river. There is a lot of energy to erode rocks, aerate the water, and (in historic times) drive the New Manchester mill. The riparian forest is a community of plants and animals well adapted to conditions along the river. There is abundant high-quality water and nutrients. River currents, eddies and deep pools, coupled with a complex river bottom offer many microhabitats for plants and animals. Diverse food resources support a wide variety of predators such as fish, water snakes, herons, and raccoons. However, the normally nurturing conditions can quickly alter during a flood, when rocks, trees, fish and animals can be drowned or swept away.
Sweetwater Creek State Park