Sweetwater Creek - Red & Blue Trails
Sweetwater Creek State Park, Georgia
Difficulty
hike difficulty
6.6
Length
hike difficulty
3
Duration 2 hours
Elevation Gain 524 ft.
State Georgia
Park/Forest Sweetwater Creek State Park
Parking Fee $5, $50 annual pass
Blaze Red/Blue
Nearby City Lithia Springs, GA
Trailhead Coord. 33.753443, -84.628394

This scenic hike just outside the Atlanta perimeter follows Sweetwater Creek, beautiful anytime of the year and quite impressive after heavy rainfall. With several trail options totaling 9 miles and an information rich and environmentally sensitive Visitor Center, Sweetwater Creek State Park is a perfect outing for family or hikers seeking a short relaxing walk.



The Red trail begins at the end of the parking lot away from the Visitor Center. There are restrooms and vending machines at this end as well. Although the parking lot is a decent size, it fills up fast on weekends. Head down the trail and almost immediately you will come upon a three-way split; turn right to stay on the Red trail. Straight will take you along the Yellow trail and left will circle back to the parking lot. This first half of the Red trail is easy, dropping down to the side of Sweetwater Creek on the way to the New Manchester Mill ruins.



At .4 miles a bridge leading to a side trail to the left will take you on a pleasant detour closer along the river and the increasing rapids. Just after this are the Mill ruins and the first intersection with the Blue trail. To make a shorter trip, take the Blue trail heading off to the right from here, which will take to back to the Visitor Center. For the longer double loop hike, continue on past the two viewing platforms and take the steps down to the base of ruins. A fence surrounds the Mill so inquire about the guided tours if you want to explore further.



From here, the Red trail follows closely with the water’s edge. This section is by far the most difficult part, becoming very rocky with short steep inclines and declines. At times it won’t feel like a maintained path at all, but the occasional red blaze will confirm it is. Just after 1 mile, a set of steps will lead up to the top of a bluff overlooking “the falls”, more a series of rapids than a waterfall. Immediately after this, the Red trail will end at the intersection with the Blue and White trails. For this loop, take the Blue trail.



Heading uphill and above the creek, the Blue trail is easily followed and generously blazed. Especially during winter, the soothing sounds of the rapids are never out of earshot. Once you arrive back at the first intersection with the Red trail at the Mill, continue to follow the blue blazes. This last section of trail is easy, meandering between 900 and 950 feet in elevation, crossing a couple small streams, and arriving at the back of the Visitor Center. Check out the information displays, gift shop, and roof-top garden before finishing out the loop by way of the short paved path back to the parking lot.

IMAGES & VIDEO
Click on the thumbnails below to view the full size image or video.
  • Rapids Along the Red Trail
  • Sweetwater Creek Rapids, Mill ruins, and the Falls in Spring
TERRAIN MAP
Green MarkerTrailhead   Blue MarkerPoint of Interest   Yellow MarkerDirections
ELEVATION PROFILE
0,959:0.0172343255723346,950:0.036525384807311,942:0.0494637066879005,940:0.0582179503944986,940:0.0707756697389896,932:0.0832076760341764,923:0.0968591807312292,918:0.110202204566759,909:0.124664151882965,904:0.134494265549296,896:0.146106702577639,887:0.155247162314335,891:0.166700491250101,890:0.178943271782232,893:0.187819889805009,890:0.198822254095022,893:0.210976397857758,891:0.21819256360653,895:0.229709937878322,901:0.241878120976828,901:0.258449856386377,891:0.268734849864059,890:0.280705871017851,890:0.292833238020752,887:0.30326190861184,887:0.313665716649585,885:0.321457646282706,885:0.330710888598375,884:0.341756459403608,882:0.35437990183158,885:0.365101665396571,887:0.377936027313759,876:0.390490539437066,876:0.401464189320936,874:0.412723784070964,873:0.424612138693156,869:0.437647437673603,871:0.447800741838983,868:0.462253064637334,869:0.472359585611147,871:0.48637414920227,874:0.504614123195901,874:0.514494926648136,873:0.524992149643217,874:0.536381960954479,876:0.545859394603837,876:0.557279323137003,863:0.562038717603543,861:0.579922549777619,877:0.592102741208244,877:0.602918048709214,876:0.616206565186388,861:0.628127073884595,849:0.636726985618524,838:0.641214455887075,838:0.648624313325134,832:0.662231150120991,828:0.680726315493736,830:0.692504494673305,825:0.704443295682485,822:0.719655873147074,819:0.738140535386827,822:0.754527379796268,820:0.776426420139773,811:0.785252130005878,811:0.79382521570622,833:0.80125464162689,838:0.834498929111113,806:0.846370197125715,798:0.865228104031071,795:0.890083847606082,794:0.909472969988477,794:0.921276800262768,795:0.941342806567007,795:0.962096483317363,789:0.980974860262747,800:0.995367230885155,797:1.01347844776185,795:1.02836577118659,797:1.04612327154577,803:1.05632510318763,795:1.06348595035203,808:1.06819029847643,808:1.07560502539118,816:1.09323061569506,839:1.1119693926568,863:1.13054082812813,877:1.14643344595372,893:1.16777362509229,899:1.18497090755974,895:1.20150711236331,885:1.21786818004724,888:1.23951657120895,896:1.25625966038756,901:1.28459206387222,914:1.29743624193806,920:1.31269523708179,917:1.32638296904273,917:1.35240650859878,937:1.37391892403431,937:1.39491780876338,939:1.41240370951255,940:1.42564599178714,934:1.45121576591148,937:1.46866638755906,934:1.48267889488996,932:1.49394646700572,929:1.50482820083486,923:1.52396898321768,918:1.53881426483462,915:1.55150824056434,920:1.56520711971982,915:1.56926800998835,914:1.58294834428878,912:1.59735272246484,904:1.6139688842869,901:1.62740465937637,898:1.64089742510268,896:1.65826163508651,893:1.67548027387852,893:1.68138897820025,904:1.69676091697896,910:1.7115078723029,910:1.72435105150468,910:1.74077613221593,907:1.76568630453197,898:1.78392042826658,888:1.8076372306385,882:1.82963791140636,877:1.85021108472841,880:1.8652250857076,887:1.88068485787107,893:1.89449718333483,898:1.91167044046101,909:1.92849429794457,917:1.95054567870719,925:1.96750234997724,926:1.98605307447298,929:1.9994714118267,932:2.01774102517848,926:2.03780147090403,926:2.06631979266707,928:2.08024363455926,929:2.10649851225334,925:2.11383307671176,920:2.1276988368585,915:2.14393211381043,910:2.15727747166276,907:2.17075827440532,906:2.18652503902087,901:2.19868788699298,901:2.2088733962672,898:2.22442311302202,898:2.23594704402009,899:2.24961679083816,906:2.26458703058868,910:2.27934657676113,917:2.29406838582058,918:2.31465463258042,931:2.33424877074835,953:2.35310540526773,959:2.3715264731215,951:2.39033476963192,932:2.40775841765871,928:2.43506703405087,918:2.45065397507828,926:2.47017074331879,937:2.48659207532711,931:2.50381466409479,925:2.5287605940108,928:2.55507231166001,939:2.5750678208486,939:2.59524984853379,943:2.61224800258976,940:2.63795197612575,929:2.66758069756326,918:2.68731606922392,907:2.70303602987954,907:2.71546606098217,904:2.72960517516276,902:2.74475030363924,898:2.76061885139202,898:2.78223759522578,901:2.80256175499709,909:2.81823852362264,915:2.83372304524749,920:2.85490792088524,929:2.87322387429099,929:2.88829105221248,934:2.8930705230496,928:2.90586879119451,932:2.92136032763134,937:2.93317784001718,940:2.94248799864352,942:2.94893941717754,937:2.96000885601255,936 700 1100 50 250
GETTING THERE
Trailhead Coordinates
33.753443, -84.628394 (Degree Decimal, DegDec)
N 33°45.21, W 84°37.7 (Degree Minutes, MinDec)
N 33°45'12'', W 84°37'42'' (Degree Minutes Seconds, DMS)

Google Map It

Most auto GPS units use the Degree Minutes format as the default.



Further Directions
Once in the park, drive straight until you enter the parking lot at the end of the road. The Visitor's Center is to the right of the parking lot.

ADDITIONAL INFO

Ranger District Information
Sweetwater Creek State Park
1750 Mt. Vernon Road, Lithia Springs, GA 30122
770-732-5871



Cautions & Warnings
The second half of the Red trail is more strenuous than the rest of the trails for this loop. Caution should be taken especially for children due to very rocky terrain, slick rocks, and steep drop offs.



Other Information
For more information about the park, visit:
http://www.gastateparks.org/SweetwaterCreek
http://friendsofsweetwatercreek.org/