Historic creek and mill ruins, wide river waterfall and a great lake for fishing

Near: Lithia Springs, GA

Distance: 2.2 miles round trip

Elevation Gain: 260 ft

Hike Time: 1.5 hours

Difficulty: Easy

Trail Condition: Well maintained trail

Hike Type: Out and Back

The red trail starts near the main office and follows the river down to the old New Manchester Manufacturing Co. ruins and then further to Sweetwater Falls. The hike to the ruins platform is 0.63 miles, and the complete hike to falls is 1.06 miles. The mill is fenced off to help preserve the area and because people were taking bricks from the site. The gate is opened once a year so people can actually go inside the mill. Workers helping to preserve the area found some of the charred fabric inside the mill and display it on the weekend the mill is open. I’ve actually touched it! The mill made uniforms and tent fabric for civil war soldiers. The 5-story mill was seized on July 2, 1864, and was burned to the ground on July 9, 1864. The mill race still has water running through it but is diverted so it does not go through the mill. This mill was one of the few that had an internal water wheel. Sweetwater falls is a nice wide fall and a great stop for a lunch break.

++ Hiking Clothing Guide

Trailhead

Exit I-20 at Thornton Road. Go south. Turn right (west) onto Blairs Bridge Road. Proceed to the stop sign at Mt. Vernon Road. Turn left (south) on Mt. Vernon Road, wind your way past the lake and then go to the main Sweetwater Creek State Park Entrance on the left (just past the bait store entrance). There is a $2.00 per day parking fee, or you need a GA State Parks pass. Once you enter the park, go straight back and follow the signs to the hiking trails. Parking is near the main park office for the park in a loop area. The park office is open daily from 8 AM to 5 PM. The park is open from 7 AM until 10 PM, but the parking area where the hiking trails start from closes at dark. (Lat:33.75365 Lon:-84.62854)