The annual “Hills of Iron” celebration will be held at Red Top Mountain State Park on Saturday, March 16, 2013 from 10 AM until 8 PM.
Hills of Iron recreates Bartow County’s historic iron industry.
Activities begin in the morning with hayrides to the Allatoona ore bank located in the Iron Hill Trail area. Rides start at 10:00 am and leave every half hour, the last one departing at 11:30 am. Wagons will be boarded at the Iron Hill Trail parking lot.
At the mine visitors will be given a tour by Park Naturalist Marcus Toft. “This open-cut mine is a great place to talk about the history of the area and of the park,” says Ranger Marcus.
The Friends of Red Top Mountain will begin selling scratch block molds at 2:00 pm behind the Park Office. Later in the evening these molds will be filled with molten iron to create unique works of art. Supplies are limited and arriving early is encouraged. Molds come in regular and extra-large and can be purchased for $8 and $15. All proceeds go to the non-profit Friends group.
President of the Friends of Red Top Mountain Damon Kirkpatrick says, “An exciting and much-anticipated addition this year is a silent auction for a Red Top Mountain cast iron skillet, made at last November’s Iron Pour.” Visitors can begin placing bids at 8:00 am in the Park Office.
Additional activities include an iron industry exhibit at the Park Office and demonstrations at the Vaughan Log Cabin and blacksmith shop, both of which will be open throughout the day.
The grande finale is the Iron Pour at 6 PM. With a few differences, the process used to make cast iron at Red Top is similar to that once done at the much larger Cooper’s Furnace, located near the Allatoona Dam. An emcee will describe and explain this process during the Iron Pour.
Red Top Mountain State Park is one of the busiest state parks in Georgia and is ideal for camping, hiking, biking, swimming, geocaching, fishing, picnicking and more.
The park is located 40 minutes north of Atlanta two miles east of I-75 exit 285. The Park Office address is 50 Lodge Road, Cartersville, GA 30121.
All vehicles must display an annual or $5 daily park pass.
Start 2013 off right with a “First Day Hike” and a commitment to a healthier lifestyle in the New Year.
In Georgia, several state parks have planned guided hikes where families can connect with nature and each other. Last year, more than 600 Georgians kicked off 2012 on these guided hikes — a nationwide event sponsored by America’s State Parks.
According to state park officials, winter is a particularly scenic time for hiking because the open canopy means people can see farther through the woods.
“In winter, you can appreciate the unusual and beautiful shapes of trees and their branches,” said Georgia State Parks Director Becky Kelley. “You’ll notice moss-covered boulders and small waterfalls that are normally hidden behind by the forest. Plus, it’s fun for families to look for deer and other wildlife.”
Kicking off the New Year with an invigorating hike fits into the mission of the Georgia State Parks “Tons of Fun Initiative” — to encourage citizens to lead healthier lifestyles through outdoor recreation. The TonsofFun.org website includes exercise ideas, healthy recipes, nutritionist and personal trainer advice, and more.
First-Day Hikes in Georgia’s State Parks for New Year’s Day 2013
North Georgia Mountains
Amicalola Falls State Park and Lodge – Dawsonville, GA New Year’s Day Hike at Amicalola Falls January 1, 2013 10 – 11 a.m. Start 2013 off with a brisk walk full of winter views to the highest cascading waterfall east of the Mississippi River. Meet at the West Ridge Falls Access Trailhead. Distance is 0.6 of a mile roundtrip. $5 parking. 706-265-1969.
Cloudland Canyon State Park – Rising Fawn, GA First Day Hike at Cloudland Canyon January 1, 2013 Call for time. Join guides for a short but challenging hike to Hemlock and Cherokee waterfalls to learn about the unique geology and history of this park. All participants staying in the campground will receive a 25% discount off their stay. Register in advance. $10 hike plus $5 parking. 706-913-7170.
Fort Mountain State Park – Chatsworth, GA First Day Hike January 1, 2013 9 – 10 a.m. Celebrate the first day of 2013 with a short hike guided by our naturalist. $5 parking. 706-422-1932.
Smithgall Woods State Park – Helen, GA First Day Hike at Smithgall Woods January 1, 2013 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Hike 2.6 miles with Smithgall staff to the park’s beautiful cottage facility where hot cider will be waiting. Let the “First Hike” be your first step toward good health, then continue through the year with progressively longer hikes. “A Walk in the Park” brochure offers guidance for hike distance and difficulty. $5 parking.706-878-3087.
Tallulah Gorge State Park – Tallulah Falls, GA First Day Hike at Tallulah January 1, 2013 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Join a ranger on a moderate 3.5-mile hike along the rim and through the woods. Children must be at least 8 years old. Bring water and snacks. $5 plus $5 parking. 706-754-7981.
Unicoi State Park – Helen, GA First Day Hike Along with a Little Luck January 1, 2013 10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Welcome the New Year with a 2 1/2-mile moderate hike around Unicoi Lake. Finish the trail at our campfire where hikers can add a little luck to their year by enjoying a small meal of blackeyed peas, greens and pork cooked in Dutch ovens over an open fire. Register in advance. $5 parking. 706-878-2201 ext. 305.
Vogel State Park – Blairsville, GA First Day Hike at Vogel January 1, 2013 9:15 a.m. Join members of the Georgia Appalachian Trail Club for a healthy hike on New Year’s Day. We’ll explore the 4-mile Bear Hair Gap Trail which has a beautiful overlook with Lake Trahlyta in view. Vogel Volunteers will provide lunch afterward. $5 parking. 706-745-2628.
Panola Mountain State Park – Stockbridge, GA Motivational New Year’s Day Hike January 1, 2013 1 p.m. Hike to the top of Panola Mountain to make a fresh start on the New Year. Join a park ranger on a journey by writing out, then burning, last year’s burdens. Hike to the top of the mountain picturing all the great things you will accomplish in 2013. We will finish around a campfire sharing hot chocolate and our plans for the New Year. Register in advance. $7 plus $5 parking. 770-389-7801.
Sweetwater Creek State Park – Lithia Springs, GA First Day Hike at Sweetwater Creek January 1, 2013 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Join us for a three-hour hike focusing on the first inhabitants of our area, the Native Americans or American Indians. We’ll explore some seldom-visited areas on the eastside, which includes a trip to the “Indian Cave.” $5 plus $5 parking. 770-732-5871.
Fort Yargo State Park – Winder, GA First Day Hike at Fort Yargo January 1, 2013 1 p.m. Start off the New Year by going for a moderate, 2.5-mile excursion along the lake and on our new trail, Turtle Creek. Bring water and snacks. Meet at the Nature Center. $5 parking. 770-867-3489. Middle & Southern Georgia
F.D. Roosevelt State Park – Pine Mountain, GA First Day Hike on the Pine Mountain Trail January 1, 2013 1 p.m. Bring your friends and family to explore the woodlands along the Mountain Creek Trail with guides from Pine Mountain Trail Association and Roosevelt State Park. This easy, 3.2-mile trail will begin at the Training Post in the campground. Wear comfortable walking shoes and bring water. $5 parking. 706-663-4858.
General Coffee State Park – Nicholls, GA Kids Hike at General Coffee January 1, 2013 10 – 11 a.m. Start your year off with a rousing guided hike along our new kids’ fitness trail. $5 parking. 912-384-7082.
Reed Bingham State Park – Adel, GA First Day Hike January 1, 2013 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Start off the New Year in a healthy way by taking a ranger-led hike. Reservations required. The nature nook will be open from 10:30-11 a.m. before the hike. $1 for nature nook. $5 parking. 229-896-3551.
High Falls State Park – Jackson, GA First Day Hike at High Falls January 1, 2013 10 a.m. – Noon This staff-led, 3.5-mile moderate hike will take you past several scenic and historic sites including the falls, the old powerhouse, and through a mixed pine/hardwood forest. You will learn about the park history and the local ecology. Meet at the park office, wear comfortable shoes, and bring water and a snack. $5 parking. 478-993-3053.
Kolomoki Mounds Historic Park – Blakely, GA New Years Day Hike near the Mounds January 1, 2013 2 – 4 p.m. The New Year inspires reflection on the year past and hopeful resolution for the things to come. Start off right with a ranger-led hike on our Trillium Trail. The hike will focus on the new beginnings in the natural world. Appropriate clothing is recommended. Meet at Picnic Shelter 3. Warm drinks and sweet treats will be provided. Sponsored by the Friends of Kolomoki. $5 parking. 229-724-2150.
Stephen C. Foster State Park – Fargo, GA First Day Hike on Billy’s Island January 1, 2013 10 a.m. to Noon Take a guided boat tour to Billy’s Island. See turtles and alligators basking on the logs. Keep your fingers crossed for a river otter sighting. Once we arrive, we will tour the island. You’ll see how the Hebbard Cypress Company once had their boom town laid out. You’ll also be able to see the Lee Family Cemetery. $5 parking. (912) 637-5274.
Crooked River State Park – St. Marys, GA First Day Hike January 1, 2013 1 – 2:30 p.m. Greet the New Year with a “First Day” hike. Meet at the Nature Center for a walk on the Bay Boardwalk trail. Vistas include wetland habitats plus our unique longleaf pine/saw palmetto ecosystem. Enjoy the great outdoors, camaraderie on the trail plus cookies, hot apple cider and party hats. $2 plus $5 parking. 912-882-5256.
In honor of Veterans Day, the U.S. Forest Service is waiving fees at most of its day-use recreation sites during the Veterans Day holiday weekend, November 10th – 12th, 2012.
The fee waivers are part of the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act. Day-use fees will be waived at all sites operated by the Forest Service. Day-use sites operated by concessionaires might not be included in the waiver.
Visitors may check with their local Forest Service office to find out in advance about specific sites.
U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell said, “This is our way of saying thanks to the brave men and women – past and present – who put their lives on the line every day to keep us safe at home. We encourage veterans, their families and all visitors to take time out over the holiday weekend to enjoy the benefits that nature provides at forests and grasslands throughout the country.”
The Forest Service operates approximately 17,000 recreation sites nationwide. Of those, approximately 6,000 require recreation fees, which are used to provide visitor services, repairs and replacements, and facilities maintenance. Traditionally, fees are not charged on 98 percent of national forests and grasslands and over two-thirds of developed recreation sites in national forests and grasslands can be used for free. Many recreation opportunities such as camping, sightseeing and hiking can be enjoyed throughout the year at no cost.
The Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests provide the finest outdoor recreation opportunities and natural resources in Georgia. Featuring nearly 867,000 acres across 26 counties, hundreds of miles of clear-running streams and rivers, approximately 850 miles of recreation trails, and dozens of campgrounds, picnic areas, and other recreation activity opportunities, these lands are rich in natural scenery, history and culture.
The mission of the USDA Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests is part of the Southern Region, with the Forest Supervisor’s office in Gainesville, Georgia, managing four District units in Blairsville (Blue Ridge District), Lakemont (Chattooga River District), Chatsworth (Conasauga District), and Eatonton (Oconee District).
OK, it’s Georgia’s only official website for leaf watching. It’s still everything a leaf peeper could hope for!
If you’re one of the bazillion or so people in Georgia who go out and “look at the leaves” rather than watch football, I have good news for you!
“Leaf Watch 2012” — brought to you by Georgia’s State Parks — will keep you posted on where you can find the most beautiful fall foliage.
(For those of us glued to football games, Leaf Watch will help us figure out where the rest of the family went. If we notice they’re missing.)
Whether hiking, biking or simply driving country roads, travelers can check Leaf Watch 2012 for advice on where and when to find the best color in Georgia’s state parks. There will be updates from park rangers, safety tips for hiking and event calendars. Last-minute availability for cabins, yurts, campsites and lodge rooms in the state parks will also be posted.
Typically, North Georgia peaks in late October, but color can be seen as early as September and as late as mid-November.
The best way to track changing leaves and plan autumn getaways is Leaf Watch 2012 from Georgia’s State Parks.
Here are Georgia’s Top Ten State Park for Leaf Watching
Black Rock Mountain
James H. Sloppy Floyd
Georgia has nearly 50 state parks, providing affordable “staycations” to residents and a not-so-far-away mountain escapes for Floridians. Park rangers advise guests to make reservations as soon as possible. It is not uncommon for the most sought-after cabins to be reserved 13 months in advance, and many campgrounds fill up early on pretty weekends.
Reservations can be made by calling 1-800-864-7275.