What Is Red Top Mountain State Park?

Angie Pollock

Red Top Mountain State Park is a state park bounded by Lake Allatoona in the United States. Located near Cartersville, Georgia, the park is east of Interstate 75 approximately 25 miles (40 km) north-northwest of the state’s capital of Atlanta. Red Top Mountain is one of Georgia’s more popular state parks offering visitors many outdoor recreational opportunities.

There are more than 10 miles worth of hiking trails in Red Top Mountain State Park.
There are more than 10 miles worth of hiking trails in Red Top Mountain State Park.

Receiving its name from the iron ore once mined around the mountain, Red Top Mountain State Park’s more attractive feature is Lake Allatoona. The man-made lake was formed from damming of the Etowah River in the late 1940s. Lake Allatoona frames the park on three sides and encompasses about 12,000 acres (18.75 square miles).

Skiing is a popular activity at Red Top Mountain State Park.
Skiing is a popular activity at Red Top Mountain State Park.

Fishing, skiing, and boating are popular lake activities. Boat ramps, docks, and boat rentals are available at the nearby marina. At about 11 miles (18 km) in length, the lake has numerous bank fishing locations and jetties for non-boaters. There is a variety of fish species available to anglers including bass, crappie, and catfish.

Camping in Red Top Mountain State Park is a popular outdoor activity at the state park. Large campsites for tent, trailer, and RV camping are available. Two-bedroom cottages are offered for non-campers visiting the park. The park’s popular lodge, which offered lodging and a restaurant, was permanently closed in June of 2010 after it was acquired by the Department of Natural Resources.

Hikers are provided more than 10 miles (16 km) of wooded hiking trails. The trail accesses the park’s reconstructed homestead that is representative of homes built in the area during the 1860s. During the 1860s, the location at the base of the mountain was a growing industrial community. The town was destroyed during the American Civil War as part of the Atlanta Campaign carried out by Union forces.

A section of the hiking trail in Red Top Mountain State Park is dually utilized by both hikers and bikers. This portion of the trail, known as the Iron Hill Bike Trail, extends roughly 4 miles (6 km) and borders a portion of Lake Allatoona. The graveled trail loops from the park’s parking lot, along the lake’s bank, and through the rebuilt homestead.

Various other recreational opportunities are offered at Red Top Mountain State Park, including geocaching, picnicking, and swimming. The park offers programs such as wilderness survival school and ranger-led events like nature night. The on-site Mountain Cove Discovery Room has many exhibits, as well as events for the public. The activities extend to the park’s miniature golf course, tennis court, and children’s playground.

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