There is very little that a walk in the woods won’t cure. Our area boasts one of the finest state parks around where you can do just that. Sweetwater Creek State Park, on Mt. Vernon Rd, is a peaceful refuge on 2,500 acres that includes lovely hiking trails, a picturesque 215-acre lake, plenty of picnicking and camping spots, an informative visitor center and views that can’t be beat. In short, Sweetwater Creek State Park has something for everyone.
The hiking trails total 9 miles in all and are varied in style and difficulty. Choose the popular red trail for a short, easy hike that hugs Sweetwater Creek all the way to the New Manchester Manufacturing Company, a textile mill burned during the Civil War. (About one mile out and back.) Try the yellow or blue trails for more rugged but still intermediate treks.
If you’re not into hiking, stop by the quaint bait shop for a bag of duck food; take a seat overlooking the lake and feed breakfast to the locals – mallards, geese and other assorted waterfowl. (We call the full-of personality, white honking goose “The Mayor." You’ll spot him right off.)
If you’re an angler be sure to bring your rod and reel and try your hand at landing a carp or bass from the lake. (The bait shop has fishing supplies too.) The annual fishing derby is a popular family event. Canoes and fishing boats are available for rent.
The Park also offers classes and workshops on a wide range of topics such as Introduction to Archery and the Geology of the Southern Appalachian Mountains, plus guided hikes that explore the park’s wildflowers, birds, edible plants and much more. (There’s even a guided Dog Hike that you can enjoy with your favorite canine companion!)
The park is open every day from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., although the hiking trails close at dark. (Other areas close at dark if not in use.) Hours for the visitor center/office are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more info log on to www. GeorgiaStateParks.org/SweetwaterCreek.