Outdoors,  State Parks

Red Top Mountain: State Parks Within 60 Miles of Atlanta

The third park on our list of state parks within 60 miles of Atlanta is Red Top Mountain. This park is about thirty-six miles north of downtown on Lake Allatoona. The 1,776-acre park was established in 1950 to preserve the history of the area and boost Bartow County’s growth and agricultural economy. Named for its rich red soil caused by the high iron content, Red Top Mountain was once a prominent mining area. Ironmaster Jacob Stroup built the Allatoona Iron Furnace on Allatoona Creek in 1844. The furnace had several owners after Stroup’s death in 1846 but continued operation until Union soldiers destroyed it during the Civil War. Red Top Mountain State Park maintains the historic grounds from the Battle of Allatoona Pass, which took place on October 5, 1864, following the fall of Atlanta. The Battle of Allatoona Pass was one of the Civil War’s bloodiest battles, resulting in a causality rate of 30%. The earthwork and trenches are still visible. Besides visiting the historic battlefield, guests to the park can enjoy camping, cottages, biking, hiking, fishing, boating, Geocaching, swimming, water skiing, and tennis.

Lake Allatoona

Red Top Mountain has about 15 miles of hiking trails. When my mom and I visited in December, we decided to hike the Homestead Trail, blazed yellow. This trail is 5.5 miles round trip with a 3.5-mile loop that follows the lakeshore for half of the length. We, however, started in the wrong direction, making our trip slightly longer than we intended. Despite this, we had a pleasant hike. The weather was perfect. I initially wore a fleece jacket over my long-sleeved athletic shirt but removed it shortly after we started. The intensity of the trail was moderate, with gentle slopes through the woods. Halfway along the loop, we caught glimpses of Lake Allatoona between the trees. As we got closer to the lake, we noticed that the water level was relatively low. After a short chat with a regular to the park, we found out that the Allatoona dam gates are closed for the winter. However, the lake still offered plenty of beautiful photo ops. One hiker showed us the perfect spot to capture a posed picture in front of the lake. Red Top Mountain is a lovely park, and I plan to visit again in the spring when water levels are back to normal.  

Red Top Mountain State Park website:


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