In the valley formed by the west side of Taylors' Ridge just south of Summerville-Trion lies serene James H. "Sloppy" Floyd State Park. The loudest thing you'll hear on this lake is the swoosh of a fishing pole and the "plop" of the bait hitting the water, or a soft "glug,glug,glug" from a paddleboat you can rent from the park office. No motorboats are allowed on either of the two lakes in this park, the 16-acre centerpiece just east of Sloppy Floyd State Park Road or the 34-acre overflow lake just west of the road. Only canoes, rowboats and electric powered craft are permitted.
This park is designed for people who want to enjoy a quiet, peaceful picnic, go canoeing, camping or hiking. With a total of more than 500 acres the park is about average in size. There are 25 tent, trailer and RV camping sites, a boardwalk that splits the smaller lake in two, and two playgrounds for the kids. When we were there on Memorial Day, normally a crowded weekend in most Georgia State Parks, Sloppy Floyd was quiet, clean and only about one-half full. We did not have any problems finding the perfect picnic table, and a pleasant stroll to the middle of the lake was a solitary excursion.
One frequently overlooked aspect of this park is the available hiking in and connected to the park. In addition to the three-mile loop Lake Rim Trail that covers both lakes, the recently completed Pinhoti is a multi-use trail developed by the Forest Service and local volunteers. But the highlight of the park for hikers has to be the Marble Mine Trail. This moderate, wide and well-marked trail follows an upgraded road to the entrance of a marble mine that was briefly developed before the park existed. Access to the trail is from the Upper Parking Area or from the Lake Rim Trail.
Who was "Sloppy" Floyd? Powerful head of the Georgia House Appropriations Committee, Floyd was from the nearby city of Trion. He is most noted for being a deeply religious Baptist Democrat. He became nationally known for walking out of the august body when Julian Bond was sworn in (January 10,1966). Bond, the first black member of the Georgia House since Reconstruction, had encouraged dodging the draft four days earlier and Floyd felt that this violated the House oath.
James H. 'Sloppy' Floyd State Park Route 1, Box 291,
Summerville, Georgia 30747
Take I-75 to Exit 306 (GA 140). Turn west (toward Adairsville) and travel 16.0 miles to U.S. 27, the Martha Berry Highway. Turn right and follow US 27 for 11.2 miles. At Sloppy Floyd Lake Road turn left and travel 2.8 miles.