About the area
The 18-acre lake that is the centerpiece of the park is the headwater of Cooper Creek, which winds from the lake to the Toccoa River. Two roads provide access to the park, although one (the north entrance) is only for lake access. The other allows access to the summer home area, hiking trails, and lakeshore facilities including a boat launch, dock and swimming area. A modest fee is required.
Campsites are large and wooded. Each has a picnic table, grill, and fire ring. The 36 sites are divided into two areas.
Sometime before 1755 a battle occurred near the present-day lake that gave rise to many of the area names -- Blood Mountain, Slaughter Creek, Slaughter Gap. While details of the battle are sketchy, archeological evidence exists that such a battle did take place.
Union County was one of the original ten counties created form the land taken from the Cherokee during the Land Lottery of 1832. In 1838, these American Indians were forced to move west against their will in a travesty of justice know as "The Trail of Tears." It was General Scott who was the federal officer in charge of the removal. For fifty years the land was home to subsistence farmers and sawmills. In the 1880's lumber companies began to strip most of the land of its trees.
Suches native Arthur Woody was personally responsible for building the road that runs past Lake Winfield Scott and was the Forest Ranger in charge of the area until his death in 1947. Woody lived in Suches and worked with the CCC boys in Camp Woody (Georgia Company 1401) to build the structures in the park. It was the last CCC project in the state and one of the last in country, completed early in 1942. The United States had just declared war on Japan and Germany.
Today the park remains a nearly complete example of the work of the Corps. From the stone masonry of the buildings and walls to the roads they built, the original work of these men is still predominant today. The craftsmanship is remarkable and evident.
There are essentially four trails in the area, if you include the Lakeshore Trail. This short, flat trail connects the northern entrance to the trailhead parking lot and continues on around the lake to the facilities. Its total length is .4 miles, according to the U.S. Forest Service (site). Jarrard Gap Trail allows access to the Appalachian Trail, as does the Slaughter Creek Trail. Jarrard Gap is a short 1 mile trail that climbs easily to the AT. Slaughter Creek is an easy 2.7 mile climb that we always enjoy and walk at least once a year. Additionally, the Duncan Ridge Trail ends near Slaughter Gap . This strenuous trail features some of the toughest hiking east of the Mississippi.
The combination of trails offers some great day hikes. If you can handle 8-10 miles in a day, try combining the Slaughter Gap Trail, the AT and Jarrard Gap for a loop totaling just over 8 miles. For something a little longer take the Slaughter Gap Trail up to AT, then follow it to Blood Mountain for some great views year-round. The Blood Mountain shelter, a stone cabin, is on the National Register of Historic Places and was built by the CCC. This trail climbs about 1400 feet in just over 4 miles, but it is well-done and rarely more than moderate. Bring your camera.
In addition to the trailside camping, there are two developed camping areas within the park itself with a total of 36 campsites. Fishing and swimming are permitted in the lake, as are boats with electric motors.
Also in the area
Visiting Lake Winfield Scott
This beautiful cove is a wonderful place to become acquainted with the wildflowers of north Georgia
Coosa Backcountry Trail Another great hike
Vogel State Park
Named for a local saw-mill operator who donated the land which now comprises the park, Vogel is the 2nd oldest state park in Georgia.
Georgia's high point, Brasstown Bald offers hiking, picnicking and a great museum after a moderate half-mile hike.
Access to the park is via State Road 180. This winding mountain road can be dangerous in times of inclement weather. To get to the park from Atlanta take Georgia 400 north to Dahlonega. Turn left and follow State Road 60 to Stonepile Gap. Turn left (still on GA 60). At Suches, turn right on GA 180 and continue for 4.5 miles. Turn in to the first entrance on the right.
Take a day to visit one of these national, state or local parks in the state of Georgia
Civilian Conservation Corps
Coosa Backcountry Trail
Jarrard Gap Trail
Slaughter Creek Trail
Vogel State Park