6 Notes on Visiting Red Top Mountain State Park

Red Top Mtn SP

I was able to visit Red Top Mountain State Park in Cartersville, GA in October. Even though it was incredibly close to Atlanta, it was my first time staying in and really exploring the park.

Hiking Options from Beginner to Advanced

Red Top Mountain has excellent hiking. But more than that, it has diverse hiking trails. They have everything from ADA accessible to flat hikes for kids to more advanced hikes. And if you want to stitch together and up and down 10+ miler, you can. The mix made for a good trip.

Brand New Cabins

As of 2023, Red Top Mountain has renovated or built from scratch their cabins. And they are really nice. They are definitely a hidden gem. They’re nestled on their own peninsula with their own playground and water access.

Lots of Boating Opportunities

I knew that the Park was on Lake Allatoona, but I did not realize that it is surrounded by Lake Allatoona and has its own boat ramp and has its own marina and everything. There are kayaks & canoes to rent and so many spots to put in.

Large, Nestled Beach for Summer Swimming

Some State Park beaches are a bit hit or miss. Red Top Mountain’s beach is large, recently renovated and nice. The bathrooms are all new. And I love how it’s tucked into this cove that is completely away from boat & fishing traffic.

Beautiful Hardwoods & Landscape

The Park was acquired back in the 1950s from an iron mining firm. On the downside, the land was pretty ugly and abused at the time. However, the DNR foresters were able to re-forest the Park with native hardwoods, mixed with some pine. The whole Park has had more than 70 years to recover. So even though it’s not as settled or recovered as some of Georgia’s 1930s CCC Parks like Vogel, FDR, and Fort Mountain, Red Top does have a much more settled feel than some of the newer Parks like Don Carter.

Interesting History & Location

I had no idea that the peninsula of the Park was so intensively used. It had one of the largest iron mines in the Eastern US in addition to a mix of settler farms. Later on, it also had a large iron smelting enterprise. And all that before most of the area was flooded to make way for Lake Allatoona. The park has preserved a settler cabin, along with a bunch of old equipment and sites.

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