Discover Red Top Mountain State Park

Red Top Mountain State Park, located on scenic Lake Allatoona, is one of Georgia's most popular state parks. The park is an easy 45 minute drive north of Atlanta on I-75. There are plenty of fun activities to enjoy within the park's 1,700 acres and on Lake Allatoona.

Boating, swimming, and fishing are perhaps the most popular activities. Visitors may bring their own boats and launch at one of the park's two boat ramps or tie up at the docks. A privately owned full service marina is located at the park. Boats can be rented at the marina, and the Ship's Store offers supplies. The marina is open seven days. Fishing is popular in the park's quieter coves. A seasonal swimming beach is located in the park.

Red Top Mountain has 12.5 miles of wooded trails for hiking and mountain biking. Trails wind along the shore of the lake and through hardwood forest. Hikers may be able to observe some of the deer that inhabit the park. The trails are rated moderately difficult except for the easy .75 mile paved Lakeside Trail, which is handicapped accessible. The 4 mile Iron Hill Trail is open to mountain bikers. This moderately difficult gravel loop trail follows along the shore of the lake through an area that was an iron mining community in the mid 1800s. The name of the mountain comes from the high iron content that colors the soil red.

The park's other activities and amenities include camping, rental cottages, picnicking, tennis courts, a playground, and miniature golf for $4 per player. On weekends visitors can explore the reconstructed homestead from the 1800s, which includes a cabin and a blacksmith shop. On Saturday nights during the summer from 8-9pm, the Mountain Music Series is held at the homestead lawn.

Visitors to the area may also want to explore an historic Civil War battlefield located just down the road from Red Top Mountain State Park. The Battle of Allatoona Pass, fought here on October 5, 1864, was one of the bloodiest battles of the war. At this strategic cut along the Western & Atlantic Railroad, Confederate troops made a desperate attempt to disrupt Union supply lines after Atlanta had fallen. The site has remained relatively undisturbed over the years, and visitors can see extensive trenches and earthworks from a star shaped fort as well as the railroad cut through solid rock.

Red Top Mountain State Park is located at 50 Lodge Road SE in Cartersville, Georgia. Visitors should take Exit 285 off I-75. Day use hours are 7am-10pm, and parking is $5. The Allatoona Pass Battlefield is located 1.5 miles east of I-75 at Exit 283.

By: J. Stamps