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Sweetwater Creek State Park, Lithia Springs

(4.7/5 based on 150+ reviews on the web)
Sweetwater Creek State Park is a 2,549 acre (10.32 km2) Georgia state park located in the New Manchester area of east Douglas County, 15mi from downtown Atlanta. The park is named after Sweetwater Creek which runs through the park. Sweetwater became an official state park in 1972, driven in great part by the work of the Georgia Conservancy, an environmental organization that was formed during a meeting at Sweetwater Creek in 1967.The park features wooded walking and hiking trails, the George Sparks Reservoir, a visitor center, a bait shop, and a gift shop, as well as the ruins of the New Manchester Manufacturing Company. The Visitor Center displays artifacts that belong to Native Americans, remnants from the Civil War era, and mounted animals and birds. The park has rich biodiversity, geology, and history. The park's mission is to conserve environment for the present and future generations through use of various conservation methods such as bioretention ponds, solar panels, green roofs, and a composting toilet.HistoryThe area of the Sweetwater Creek park used to belong to the Cherokee and according to a legend “Sweetwater” means the name of Chief Ama-Kanasta. In 1819, hunger for land led the state of Georgia to appeal to the United States government to remove the Cherokee; the appeal was rejected. In 1827, the state of Georgia began to divide the Cherokee lands through lotteries. In 1829, just elected president Andrew Jackson who was an ally of the state of Georgia challenged the reject of appeal. Even though the U.S. Supreme Court’s decree stated that Georgia had no right to forbid the Cherokee government, in 1831, Georgia’s General Assembly arranged all Cherokee land inspected and distributed by lottery. In 1838, federal troops started forcing the Cherokee to leave Georgia and Alabama and about twenty thousand were forced to west to Oklahoma via the Trail of Tears.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • This is the best natural scenery close to Atlanta. You can take a short hike on easy trails to get to a view of the creek (it's more like a river) where it goes over a series of rock ledges and the ru...  more »
  • The Sweetwater Creek state park is really close to Atlanta and perfect for a spontaneous little hiking tour (or a longer one if you have a little more time). I really enjoyed the red trail, although i...  more »
  • It's a short easy hike to the mill ruins and it's very pretty along the river. Very worth the trip! It does cost to get in the park so take cash! 
Google
  • A wonderful park for a nice hike. Several trails along the river. Beautiful ruins on the red trail. Good for children of all ages. Great fishing on the lake and the river. You can buy corn at the park feed the ducks and geese. Rentals for paddle boards and canoe also available. Hope to rent a yurt soon, too!
  • Went here to rent Stand Up Paddleboard. It costs $20 for 2 hrs plus $5 for entrance into the park. Last rental is at 2:45 in the afternoon. It is very pretty scenery and on calm days it is great conditions for beginners. They also rent kayaks and paddleboats, but these may get rented out sooner. Everyone is friendly and helpful that works here.
  • Amazing trails with amazing views. The mill ruins were cool and full of history. The red trail makes for some spectacular views of nature just outside of the city.
  • This is my favorite picnic and hiking spot! I hike and camp a lot in Georgia (about twice a month camping, weekly hiking) and this place is tops! The staff and Rangers are always friendly, helpful, professional, and seem to thrive on the special activities the park seems to always have. The trails are amazing and seem to go on forever. They are well marked and honestly some of the best trails in the world (and I've been to dozens of those as well). The nature center always gets my daughter's attention and there is an amazing amount to see in nature, history, and even modern (Geocache, Ingress, and Pokemon). When I tell my daughter there is a special walk/tour, I know that she and at least 4 more of her friends will have a great time (along with me and her mother). Even the weddings here are great! This is a MUST see for Parks in the Atlanta area!
  • Beautiful clean area to be enjoyed by all. Great trails to walk my dog and clear my head. Walk a lot by myself and feel very safe here.