A lesser known park around Georgia, Sweetwater Creek State Park has served as a lush wooded escape from Atlanta since 1972. Spearheaded by the Georgia Conservancy, Sweetwater Creek state park lies just 15 miles from downtown, but it houses over 2,500 acres of protected land and wilderness. The park also houses the ruins of the New Manchester Mill, which was burned down during the Civil War and which has been featured in The Hunger Games and other films.
The hike begins at the visitor center, where it’s good to grab a free map and take a look inside. Over 9 miles of trails exist in the park, and these are great for running or hiking alike. Head over the bridge across the creek to see the more secluded section of the park. You’ll appreciate this when you’re back on the west side and walking around the old mill ruins. The Red Trail along the creek is quite rocky, with the White Trail offers a worthy alternative.
Once the Red Trail terminates, follow the White Trail around the southern end of the park and back through several clearings and the campground. Sweetwater Creek is a park that will keep you coming back with it’s easy escape from the city.