Color me moderately impressed…
I started on red trail by creek (down long wooden stairs), then white trail, then continued (off trail) south along creek for another 2 miles, then back to white trail, thru “detours”, to blue trail & back to trailhead.
Not “difficult” but was enjoyable ‘aka not boring’. red trail by water was nice – you have to pay attention to rocks.
Saw a large crane
and a lizard
& a HUGE cottonmouth in rock crevice.
The white trail that continues along the creek shows remnants of “September 09” flood. Lots of debris – not pretty,
but I continued on beyond “warning sign” about “not part of white trail” trail. I’m naughty…
After a while, I encountered green trail markers for bike trail and walking trail – followed that for a while. I ended up finding a nice sandbar, sat still & saw 3 deer come to drink out of creek about 30yards away. Was a treat.
I reconnected w/ white trail, which borders a pretty stream. Then up a long hill (Yay!). Then trail is part of a road, I encountered a sign indicating “detour” – was REALLY confusing as no temporary trailmarkers. Eventually reconnected with blue trail,
passed by “mill ruins” again, then 1.1 miles (per sign) back to trailhead.
Advice: print out trail map. There are no trail maps/markers on the route. *Just lots of sorta lame “markers” showing pics of Sweetgum tree, etc. There are no markers to coordinate with trail map w ie “12” in white, and there is no reference on map, ditto w/ waypoints like bridges. (Yes, they mark the mill… but that’s it) It was challenging to eyeball map for location. However, trails are well-marked (other than detour) and intuitive to follow.
There are man-made stairs in numerous locations, but due to erosion, they seemed routes to avoid at times. The paths are well-traveled, but I imagine after a good rain, they will be quite “red clay muddy”.
Paths were not challenging to navigate, many sections would be ideal for trail running – but some were a bit too “rooty” for me to risk. I did jog back in some parts, merely because i was concerned about getting back to my car by dark. I did encounter several men heading into the trail at 4:45ish to run – it would be dark at 5:30… so not sure if the park really does close at dark or not.
I found the variety of rocks fascinating as well as the textures.
Despite not having “a good rain” in a few weeks, the creek was really moving. I slowed at times to note the path of the water, collecting in some areas while rushing in “mini waterfalls and rapids” in other areas.
I encountered about 5 people on the trail during the week. Most (but not all) dogs were leashed. There is a bathroom at trailhead. Enjoyed it a lot & I will definitely return.
I recommend printing a map out ahead of time because there are no maps on the markers. Here’s a link to Georgia State Parks’ Sweetwater Creek Page:
Here’s my (screwed up) track on Google Maps: