Supported by a local Friends chapter, Georgia’s largest state park is a hiker’s and backpacker’s haven. More than 40 miles of trails, including the popular 23-mile Pine Mountain Trail, wind through hardwood and pines, over creeks and past small waterfalls. Many visitors are surprised to find rolling mountains 80 miles southeast of Atlanta. Above King’s Gap is Dowdell’s Knob where President Franklin D. Roosevelt sometimes picnicked and pondered world affairs. A life-size sculpture of the president now welcomes visitors to the overlook.
Several park amenities were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the Great Depression, including cottages and the Liberty Bell Swimming Pool fed by cool springs. A wooded campground sits near the edge of a small fishing lake, and privately operated stables offer guided horseback rides. In 1921, FDR came to this part of Georgia to swim in naturally warm springs that offered relief from polio. Today, nearby Roosevelt’s Little White House Historic Site invites visitors to see his modest home, a museum and the pools that first drew him here.