Red Top Mountain State Park: Hiking the Iron Hill Loop Trail
The 3.8 mile Iron Hill Loop at Georgia's Red Top Mountain State Park explores a picturesque peninsula and cove along Allatoona Lake near Atlanta.
The Iron Hill Trail follows the meandering shoreline of Lake Allatoona on the southern end of Georgia’s Red Top Mountain State Park. Though shorter length than the popular Homestead Loop at Red Top Mountain, the Iron Hill trail packs double the scenic lakeside beauty in nearly half the length.
The wide, graveled Iron Hill trail is a shared between hikers and mountain bikers – so hikers (especially groups with kids or dogs) need to keep watch for cyclists. A bit of caution is worth the effort, though – the shoreline views are stunning on this popular hike. Much of the Iron Hill trail hikes lakeside on Iron Hill’s many peninsulas, grabbing nearly continual views of Lake Allatoona’s shore and inlets. This 3.9 mile loop climbs moderate elevation along the Lake Allatoona Shoreline, providing reflective views of the opposing shores and the rolling peaks of Red Top Mountain and surrounding knobs.
Red Top Mountain Iron Hill Trail: the hike
The wide, gravel trail departs the trailhead (view maps and driving directions), turning right to hike the Iron Hill loop counterclockwise. The blue-blazed trail winds through young deciduous forest, steadily declining in elevation, in its approach of the lake.
Wooden bridges span deep-cut ravines throughout much of the trail, making the hiking effort moderate and the trail especially popular with mountain bikes.
The Iron Hill trail hikes the Allatoona Lake shore and rises above the lake’s banks. Picnic tables with fire rings dot the sides of the Iron Hill Loop through much of its length. The trail hikes through a series of meanders along the winding Lake Allatoona shore, reaching the end of the peninsula at 1.9 miles.
Lake Allatoona’s shoreline is especially beautiful in evening as the sun begins to dip towards the horizon. The golden cast of the afternoon sun filters through the tree leaves on the trail, and begins to reflect a colorful cast on the lake’s calm surface.
The Iron Loop trailhead gate is locked at dark, so be sure to give plenty of time to return to the trailhead before twilight ends. The Iron Hill trail hikes to follow the shore of a second cove before turning to loop back to the trailhead at 3.3 miles. The hike here is nearly all uphill, climbing steadily to reach the parking area at 3.8 miles.