Atlanta TrailsbyTrailful Outdoor Co
Atlanta Hiking Trails

Sweetwater Creek Yellow Trail

Hike the Sweetwater Creek Yellow Trail to the creek’s eastern shore, crossing a large bridge and catching cross-creek views of the park’s Civil War-era mill ruins.

georgia hiking trails: 2-4 miles 3.3 miles
(round trip)
? Your mileage may vary! Accuracy of your GPS device, weather conditions, and stops along your route will affect your own recorded distance.
georgia hiking trails: moderaterelatively
?Our difficulty estimate, based on distance, terrain, elevation change, & ease of wayfinding. May vary daily due to weather, trail reroutes, downed trees, etc.
georgia hiking trails: dog-friendly Dog-
?Leashed dogs are allowed on this trail. We’ve loved hiking this route with our trail-loving Labrador Retrievers! Check out more of our favorite dog-friendly trails in Georgia for a great hike with your pup.

LOCATION:Sweetwater Creek State Park near Atlanta, Georgia

PACK:our Osprey day pack and our hiking gear list

The Yellow Trail explores the eastern and western creek shores in the beautiful – and popular – Sweetwater Creek State Park near Atlanta. This hike crosses the park’s namesake creek over a large, steel span bridge to a yellow-blazed loop on the creek’s eastern shore, and visits a cave-like rock outcrop and viewing the park’s Civil War-era mill ruins across Sweetwater’s whitewater-filled shoals.

The trail is moderately challenging, with one major hill to conquer, and makes an equally great day hike or beginner-friendly trail run. It’s ultra scenic, catching view after view of the wide-flowing creek from its relatively level banks. And while it’s a fantastic hike in any season, it’s particularly beautiful in springtime, when the surrounding forest explodes into bloom.

Sweetwater Creek Yellow Trail: hike to cross-creek views of Civil War mill ruins featured in The Hunger Games

Hike the Sweetwater Creek Yellow Trail to the creek's eastern shore, crossing a large bridge and catching cross-creek views of the park's Civil War-era mill ruins. #hiking #running #trailrunning #northgeorgia #atlanta #georgia #travel #outdoors #adventure

Sweetwater Creek Yellow Trail: the hike

The trail departs the park’s visitors center trailhead (view maps and driving directions), following the red-blazed trail and descending through a young, fern-filled forest. The hike reaches a junction at .18 mile on the banks of the wide-flowing creek, turning left to follow yellow trail blazes north and following the creek upstream.

Sweetwater Creek Yellow Trail

The trail reaches a large, steel and wood span bridge at .65 mile, crossing the bridge and catching views of the creek’s whitewater shoals from the crest of the bridge. The bridge’s rust-colored finish contrasts brilliantly with the creek’s blue hues and the surrounding forest’s vibrant greens.

The trail reaches the creek’s opposite shore, turning sharply left to hike southeast into the forest and following yellow blazes downstream. The trail reaches a junction at .8 mile, turning left to follow the yellow loop east in a clockwise direction. The trail rises steeply into the young forest, gaining over 300 feet elevation in .8 mile (a relatively challenging climb for a metro-area Atlanta trail).

Sweetwater Creek Yellow Trail

The trail levels elevation at 1.6 miles, passing a junction with the new Sweetwater Creek Orange Trail before descending steadily to return to the creek’s riverine shores. (Up for some more mileage? Follow the Orange Trail to score a through-the-trees view of the Atlanta skyline, rolling elevation through a hardwood forest. The Orange Trail loops back to the Yellow Trail, adding 1.35 miles to your adventure.)

The Yellow Trail follows a small stream on the left as it descends, passing a small cave off-trail on the trail’s left at 1.8 miles. The hike continues to drop elevation, crossing the stream before returning to the creek’s banks at 2.05 miles. A side trail departs to the left, trekking several hundred feet to view the red brick New Manchester Mill, now in ruins after its destruction in the Civil War, on the creek’s opposite bank.

Sweetwater Creek Yellow Trail: hike through a blooming forest on the banks of a scenic creek in Atlanta

The hike turns northbound, following the creek’s flow upstream on the yellow-blazed, wide-cut trail. Wildflowers and flowering trees flourish here on the creek’s sunny banks during warm months.

The Yellow Trail reaches the steel bridge again at 2.65 miles, crossing to retrace the outbound hike on Sweetwater’s western bank. The route turns right at the trail junction at 3.15 miles, following the red-blazed trail through switchbacks to return to the trailhead. The hike reaches the park’s visitors center at 3.4 miles, completing the adventure.

More Sweetwater Creek State Park hiking adventures

Atlanta’s favorite state park offers over seven miles of fantastic hiking trails along the banks of its rushing, whitewater-filled creek and the surrounding forest. Find more fantastic adventures at the park in our in-depth Sweetwater Creek State Park trail guide.

Leave No Trace: Atlanta Trails, Asheville Trails and Trailful are official Leave No Trace partners

Please Remember

Always leave no trace, pack out everything you pack in, and if you see trash, pick it up and pack it out.

Stay on the marked trail, tell someone where you're going, pack safety and wayfinding essentials, and don't rely on a mobile phone to find your way. Please always practice good trail etiquette. And before you go, always check the trailhead kiosk, official maps, and the park or ranger office for notices of changed routes, trail closures, safety information, and restrictions.

Sweetwater Creek Yellow Trail Map, Directions & Details

This map shows our approximate route while exploring this trail, but does not replace an official trail map. Please refer to the official trail map for the most current and accurate route.

Love the trail?

This trail is maintained thanks to the hard work of countless volunteers and donations from supporters of the Friends of Georgia State Parks. Please support them by making a donation or joining a volunteer day. Let's work together to keep these fantastic trails maintained and open for use!

Driving Directions



GPS Coordinates

33.752550, -84.628250     //     N33 45.153 W84 37.695

Elevation Profile

Sweetwater Creek Yellow Trail Elevation Profile

Eric Champlin is a creative director and photographer who loves to explore southeast. He's the co-owner of Trailful Outdoor Co, a locally-owned hiking outfitter shop in Hiawassee in the Georgia mountains near the Appalachian Trail. He’s also the co-founder of Atlanta Trails and Asheville Trails, digital magazines that highlight the South’s best outdoor adventures. His mission? To inspire others to get fit outdoors and explore the South’s incredible scenic beauty.