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Tips for Visiting Sweetwater Creek State Park

Sweetwater Creek State Park, Lithia Springs, Georgia

Sweetwater Creek State Park is home to 15 miles of hiking trails, camp sites, and a set for The Hunger Games movies. Explore this state park just 19 miles from Atlanta, Georgia.

Sweetwater Creek State Park

Sweetwater Creek State Park in Lithia Springs, Georgia is just a short 30 minute drive from downtown Atlanta, making it a popular hiking destination.

The 2,549 acre state park opened in 1972 and is one of Georgia’s most visited state parks. The park encompasses the 215 acre George Sparks Reservoir, which is a popular fishing spot, as well as its namesake Sweetwater Creek.

The park’s award-winning Visitor Center is one of the most environmentally responsible buildings in the country. It boasts a 37% landscaped roof; rainwater harvested and stored for non-potable uses; composting toilets and water-less urinals; public recycling stations; and more.

Dogs and pets are allowed at all Georgia State Parks as long as they’re leashed.

Parking at Sweetwater Creek State Park costs $5. The park is open daily from 7 a.m. to dark. The park’s office is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

New Manchester Mill Ruins

New Manchester Mill Ruins

The ruins of New Manchester Mill make for a picturesque picnic spot.

The 5-story mill began in 1845 as the Sweetwater Manufacturing Company making cotton, yarn, and fabric. The mill’s name changed to New Manchester Manufacturing Company after the center of British textile industry Manchester, England.

During the Civil War, Union troops captured the mill and arrested all the employees. General Sherman then ordered the mill burnt down.

Now the ruins of the mill provide a popular gathering spot for park visitors. It’s a short and easy hike from the Visitor Center to the ruins.

The ruins were even used as part of the set for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1. The area portrays part of the bombed and destroyed ruins of District 13.

Sweetwater Creek State Park Facilities

Yellow Trail, Sweetwater Creek State Park, Lithia Springs, Georgia

If you’re looking to stay overnight at the park, they have 5 tent campsites and 10 yurts.

If you just want to picnic for the day, they offer 7 picnic shelters, 1 group shelter, and an event room that you can reserve.

There’s plenty of space to play at the park’s 2 playgrounds and to work out on the outdoor fitness equipment.

For those interested in fishing, the park has 2 fishing docks, 1 boat ramp, and a bait shop.

At the Visitor Center, you can explore the museum exhibits on the area’s history and wildlife as well as shop for gifts and snacks in the gift shop.

Sweetwater Creek Hikes

Mill Ruins from the Yellow Trail, Sweetwater Creek State Park, Lithia Springs, Georgia

Sweetwater Creek State Park is a great place for hiking with 15 miles of trails.

  • The 1 mile Red (History) Trail takes you along the rapids of Sweetwater Creek to the New Manchester mill ruins.
  • The 5.2 mile loop White Trail takes you through the remote areas of the park and is perfect for seeing the park’s wildlife.
  • The 3 mile loop Yellow (East Side) Trail crosses the creek and explores an area where Native Americans used to shelter.
  • The 2.3 mile lollipop loop Orange Trail branches off of the Yellow Trail and offers great views of the Atlanta skyline.
  • The 1.44 mile loop Blue Trail branches off the Yellow Trail and explores the northeastern part of the park.
  • The 1.2 mile Brown Connector Trail creates a shortcut through the White Trail before branching off following along the creek.
  • The 0.72 mile Green Connector Trail creates a shortcut through the White Trail.

Hiking Essentials

Come prepared for your hike by making sure you pack the essentials. Check out this must-have hiking gear before you set off on the trails:

More Things To Do at Sweetwater Creek State Park

New Manchester Mill Ruins

There are even more fun things to do and see at this Georgia State Park.

The park is great for checking out the wildlife through birding and fishing. You can explore the park even further through interpretive programs and geocaching.

In the summer, you can rent boats, kayaks, canoes, paddleboards, and aquacycles for fun out on the lake. Don’t forget to join the Park Paddlers Club.

You can also rent space out for your wedding or a for a family reunion.

Nearby Attractions

After your hike or your day at the lake, check out these other great things to do near Sweetwater Creek State Park.

Ready to visit Atlanta, Georgia? Plan your trip with these tips.

  • Get Familiar With the City: Check out my Ultimate Guide to Atlanta to help plan your trip!
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  • Save on Attractions: Save 46% on admission to Atlanta’s top attractions using the Atlanta CityPASS.



Tips for Visiting Sweetwater Creek State Park

Have you visited Sweetwater Creek State Park in Atlanta, Georgia? Let me know in the comments.

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