Fun FREE Things To Do Outdoors in Historic High Country Travel Region
Visit parks, trails, farms, orchards, fishing areas, fish hatcheries, a nature preserve wetlands center, Civil War historic sites and more. They are great for family and groups. Click on blue links below for more info about the listing.
Nature Preserve Wetlands Center
Spring Creek Wetlands Preserve - At this 200-acre wetlands reconstruction project visitors can observe native flora and fauna. Open: Gates are open for self-guided tours on weekends from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The preserve is open by appointment only on weekdays. Free admission and parking. Located in Dalton Georgia.
Local Parks - Trails - Farms & Orchards - Fishing Areas & Fish Hatcheries
Apple Orchard Alley - Gilmer County is Georgia’s apple capital and 11 of the county’s 18 apple orchards are spread across this picturesque valley along GA Hwy 52. Open: Daily. August through December. Free admission and parking.Phone: 706-635-7400 – Address: GA Hwy 52. E., East Ellijay, Georgia 30540
Cohutta National Fish Hatchery Center features tanks displaying the warm-water species raised by the hatchery.The UGA Cohutta Fisheries Center is a 65-acre research and extension facility operated by the Warnell School of Forestry & Natural Resources. The facility operates 36 ponds and 5 raceways with various demonstration and research projects including experimental koi breeding, pond production of channel catfish, and recirculating sturgeon aquaculture. An aquarium is open to the public. The facility staff host numerous school groups, and non-profit organizations including 4-H, Boy Scouts, and Girl Scouts for educational tours and activities focusing on conservation, aquatic ecology, and the importance of sustainable aquaculture. Open: Tues - Sat 9 am - 5 pm and Sun 1-5 pm. Free admission and parking.Phone: 706-694-8830 - Address: 25350 Red Clay Rd., Cohutta, Georgia 30710
Horseshoe Bend River Park - Fish, hike, picnic or trout fish on the banks of the Toccoa River. Located just north of McCaysville. Nestled in a wooded setting along a beautiful bend in the Toccoa River, Horseshoe Bend Park is equipped with playground areas, benches along the river, two picnic shelters for large gatherings, horseshoe pits, volleyball courts, grills, hiking areas, fishing, and adequate restroom facilities. The park is designed to accommodate group gatherings, family reunions, church groups, birthday parties, company get-togethers, and much more. Call for reservations. Open: Daily. Free admission and parking.Amenities: Parking, Restrooms, Accessibility for mobility-impaired, Party Facilities. Phone: 706-632-7696 - Address: 1156 River Road, Mineral Bluff, GA 30559
Mercier Orchards is the largest apple orchard in the SE open to the public. Find more than 30 varieties of apples, plus blueberries, blackberries, peaches and fresh cider. Free admission and parking. Located in Blue Ridge, Georgia
Marshall Forest- Hiking trails crisscross one of the few remaining stands of old-growth forest in the Ridge and Valley Providence, a corridor that runs from Pennsylvania to Alabama. Free admission and parking. Located in Rome, GA
River Right Outfitters - Only outfitter on the Cartecay to provide free river access. Amenities: Kayak rental, campground, and shuttle service (by donation). Open: 9a.m.-dark, winter 10a.m.-dark. Mon.-Thurs. 706-889-2657, Fri.-Sun. Phone: 706-273-7055 – Address: 1354 Lower Cartecay Rd., Ellijay, Georgia 30540
Silver Comet Trail and Riverwalk - The Silver Comet Trail, connecting Atlanta to the Alabama state line, is accessible from downtown Rockmart. Rockmart Trailhead is at mile marker 37.6 on the Silver Comet Trail. Riverwalk Park and The Silver Comet Trail are combined, and travel through downtown Rockmart. Lots of people walk on this curvy section, so please slow down. Nice restrooms are located on the backside of the new depot building, in Seaborn Jones Park. The park is near downtown, just past the last bridge. There are signs that point the way. Open: Daily. Free admission. Amenities: Parking, Restrooms, Accessibility for mobility-impaired, Food, Party Facilities. Phone: 770-875-PATH - Address: 604 Goodyear St., Rockmart, GA 30153
Historic Civil War Sites
Allatoona Pass Battlefield - Fought Oct. 5, 1864, this battle was the beginning of the Nashville Campaign. Two earthen forts, miles of trench works and interpretive trail markers can be seen. Open: Daily. Free admission and parking. In Cartersville, Georgia
Confederate Cemetery and Memorial Wall is the site of 421 Confederate and four Union soldiers’ graves. The cemetery features a Civil-War era Confederate Cemetery with 421 graves and a commemorative wall listing the names of both Confederate and Union soldiers buried there. Architectural features include a Gothic-inspired stone chapel, a reproduction Civil War cannon and a number of exemplary obelisks, pedestals and angels, as well as a Civil War statue known as the Lone Sentinel. Open: Daylight hours. Free admission and parking. Amenities: Accessibility for mobility-impaired. Phone: 706-270-9960 - Address: Ridge St. in West Hill Cemetery, Dalton, Georgia 30720
Confederate Cemetery-Battle of Resaca - This battle was the first major conflict in the Campaign for Atlanta. Self-guided driving tour of battlefield available. Also visit the first Confederate cemetery. Annual Reenactment the third weekend in May. Open: Daily. Free admission and parking. Located in Resaca, Georgia
Dug Gap Battle Park - The rock walls at this monument were used by Civil War soldiers as protection during battle. Breastworks built by Civil War soldiers during the Atlanta Campaign; Scenic view from the top of Dug Gap Mountain hiking trail. Open: Call for appointment to have main gate opened. Can walk on path daily without appointment. Free admission and parking. Amenities: Parking. Phone: 706-278-0217 and toll free 800-331-3258 - Address: W. Dug Gap Battle Rd., Dalton, Georgia 30720 - Directions from I-75: Exit 333-Walnut Ave., west up the mountain 2 miles; park on pull-off on the right at the top of the ridge.
Outdoor Walking & Driving Tours
Backroads Driving Tours - Self-guided tours through beautiful countryside and mountains. Tour time varies from 1.5 to 5 hours. Available free at the Fannin County Welcome Center. Phone: 706-632-5880 and toll-free 800-899-6867 - Address: 3990 Appalachian Hwy., Blue Ridge, Georgia 30513
Cohutta-Chattahoochee Scenic Byway Drive Route - Beginning at historic Prater's Mill in Whitfield County, the Cohutta-Chattahoochee Scenic Byway follows State Route 2 past rolling pastoral lands into Murray County. Breathtaking views of the Cohutta Mountains emerge as the route continues along US 41 and quiet county roads into the Chattahoochee National Forest.
Euharlee Creek Historic Covered Bridge was built in 1886 by Washington King, the bridge is on the Georgia Covered Bridge Trail. and is 138 feet long. Also known as Lowery Bridge. Not open to traffic. Located in Cartersville, Georgia
Ridge Valley Scenic Byway Drive Route - As the name implies, the Ridge and Valley Scenic Byway provides a chance to experience the varied terrain of NW Georgia. Mountain overlooks and fertile farmlands can be found along the 51-mile Byway as it travels U.S. 27, State Highways 156 and 136, and rural county roads. Outdoor activities ranging from hiking, camping, picnicking, fishing, and hunting can be enjoyed at the Keown Falls Scenic Area, the Pocket, and John's Mountain Overlook and Wildlife Management Area. More info, pictures, driving directions and map