|Trail Length: 2.0 miles||Type of trail: In and out|
|County: Douglas County, GA||Our rating: E|
|Features: scenic, picnicking, historic, canoeing, bathrooms, 60hikes||Your rating:|
|Usage: Heavy||Added on: January 01, 1995|
|Last hiked: September 16, 2015||Updated on: September 27, 2015|
|About these ratings|
Hiking trails in Douglas County, GA
Sweetwater Red, also known as Sweetwater Historic Trail follows Sweetwater Creek down to New Manchester Mill, a four story structure that was the tallest building in the Atlanta area at the time construction was complete. The top floor was a wooden addition that burned in 1864. At the mill the red trail intersects with the Sweetwater White Trail, also known as the Sweetwater White Non-game wildlife Trail. In 2012, the Sweetwater Blue trail was combined with the Sweetwater White to make a complete loop. From this point Sweetwater Red, which follows Sweetwater Creek south, becomes rocky and heavily rooted to Sweetwater Falls, a series of cascades formed by the Brevard Fault Line. Sweetwater Red ends at a wooden overlook at the bottom of a set of wooden steps.
Sweetwater Red Trail Narrative
The first half-mile of this trail is sometimes called the "Factory Ruins Trail." This portion of the historic footpath is heavily traveled and well-maintained. Beginning on the east side of the Visitors Center (to the left as you face the Visitors Center), a bulletin board and brown sign marks the start of the footpath. The trail turns twice and drops about 70 feet in under 0.2 miles to get to the banks of Sweetwater Creek.
Sweetwater Creek is a tributary of the Chattahoochee River. The trail "T's" at the river. Turn right to see the ruins or turn left for the recently added Sweetwater Yellow Trail to see the remains of a grist mill and a bridge used to access the burgeoning town that once existed by the river.
As you continue to the ruins you are walking along a path that once served as the only road for a town of about 400 (or more) men, women, and children. The town was so big that it not only had a general store, tavern, and inn, but also had a U.S. Post Office, built in 1857. For complete details on the area, please see Sweetwater Creek State Park.
After the mill Sweetwater Red bears to the right and descends a set of wooden steps to the river bank as Sweetwater White turns left. Once on the bank of the river, Sweetwater Red makes a decided change. What was an occasionally rocky, compacted dirt treadway becomes an intense experience, trying to maintain stability on a rocky path that can be as high as 50 feet above the river. The falls are more enjoyable, but no more that 10-15 feet high. After a rain they are frequently a cascade. The Sweetwater Red (Historic) Trail ends at a wooden deck overlooking Sweetwater Creek.
One of the best things about Sweetwater Red is the various options open to hikes throughout the trail. If you want to hike the Red trail to the mill and return using the Sweetwater White the hike is 1.1 miles. Or you can follow Sweetwater Red to the end and return using the Sweetwater White at the second observation deck, If you choose to turn right and climb a set of stairs, the total hike will be about 2.2 miles. If you take the trail straight ahead, the hike is nearly 4.0 miles.