2500 acres of beautiful rolling forest, filled with wildflowers and wildlife. A wide, tumbling, boulder-filled creek, filled with whitewater and waterfalls. A glassy reservoir lake. Sweetwater Creek is the kind of place you’d expect to find nestled in a remote corner of North Georgia. And when you’re there, it’s easy to forget that you’re remotely close to metro Atlanta.

Sweetwater Creek is a well-loved and ultra-popular state park near Atlanta, located just outside the city near Atlanta’s west side perimeter. It’s ruggedly beautiful, rolling and rocky, lush and green, and easily accessible but wild. And the park is steeped in history, too: it’s home to the towering brick ruins of the New Manchester Mill, an iconic and solemn shell of a structure that was destroyed in the Civil War, and a filming location for The Hunger Games.

The park’s visitor center is worth a visit: it’s one of the most environmentally-responsible buildings in Georgia. The center’s LEED Platinum construction features many eco-friendly building components, including a vegetative roof, solar power, and rainwater capture and reuse. Inside, exhibits showcase the park’s history, forest, and ecosystems and with artifacts and interactive displays.

Find your adventure at the park – and opt to stay for awhile, too. Hike or run the park’s exceptional, scenic trails. Kayak, canoe or paddleboard the park’s 215-acre reservoir lake. With so much to explore, you’ll want to consider staying the night in the park’s newly constructed yurt village and campground to extend your adventure.

Hike, paddle, stay and play: there's a ton of great ways to explore and adventure at Sweetwater Creek State Park near Atlanta. #hiking #running #camping #atlanta #georgia #travel #outdoors #adventure
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Sweetwater Creek: our favorite adventures near Atlanta

With over nine miles of exceptional hiking and running trails, there’s a lot of ground to cover at the park. Hike to boulder-lined, sandy shores along the creek’s rushing whitewater, to wide-open grassy meadows, to the New Manchester Mill Ruins, destroyed in the Civil War, or to serene creek banks perfect for spotting wildlife.

The park’s beautiful rolling terrain is beautiful in every season: tranquil in the winter, drenched in wildflower blooms in the spring, filled with wildlife in the summer and draped in gorgeous autumn leaf color in the fall.

Paddling and boating

The park’s 215-acre reservoir lake pools north of the creek’s tumbling whitewater. The lake’s often-glassy waters reflect the park’s beauty, gently lapping the lake’s grassy shoreline. It’s a beautiful place for a paddling adventure.

Float the lake by kayak or canoe to explore the park from a new angle. Pause quietly at the shore for a chance to spot the wildlife, including turtles, waterfowl, and deer, that frequent the lake shore. Bring your own equipment, or rent a kayak or canoe from the park (available seasonally).

The lake’s often-calm surface and scenic shores make a great venue for stand-up paddleboarding, too. (A stand-up paddleboard, or SUP, is a hybrid of surfing and paddling on a large, stable board.) The park offers SUP boards and equipment for rent and offers SUP lessons for beginners in warm-weather months, too.

Yurts & camping

Hike. Run. Paddle. Learn. With miles of trails, tons of history and a glassy lake that’s perfect for an adventure by kayak or canoe, the park is a great destination for an overnight stay. And sunrises over the park’s scenic reservoir lake are breathtaking! Stay the night in one of the park’s new yurts to extend the adventure.

More ways to play

With two fishing docks, a bait shop, fishing boat rentals, picnic pavilions, geocaching, birding, stargazing and more, there’s a ton of ways to stay and play at Sweetwater Creek. Check the park’s website for more details and a calendar of events.

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