The area surrounding Red Top Mountain State Park is rich in both Cherokee Indian and Civil War history. The park however, took its name from the mountains near the confluence of the Etowah River and Stamp Creek, center of the large antebellum Iron Industry district in Bartow County, Georgia.
Today vacationers on Interstate 75 rarely pass up the chance to enjoy the park's day use or overnight facilities. Situated on a 1,428-acre peninsula only one and a half miles east of I75, Red Top Mountain State Park can introduce you to boating, fishing, and swimming in Lake Allatoona or general relaxation in the red clay hills located 40 miles north of Atlanta. Horse trails, hiking trails and a marina are on the grounds.
Deer at Red Top Mountain State Park
Lake Allatoona, built by the Army Corps of Engineers shortly after the end of World War II surrounds the park on 3 sides. In the foothills of the southern Appalachians near Cartersville (History of Cartersville, Georgia, Red Top is one the state's most popular parks because of its proximity to both Atlanta and I75.
When the lake was formed it covered much of the area's history. Through the center of the lake is the original bed of the Etowah River. The sides of the lake, which occasionally turn into steep cliffs under the water, cover the old Hightower Trail, which Cherokee, and later settlers, used for cross-state commerce. The Etowah formed the southern border of land the Cherokee controlled. South of the river the land was frequently shared with the Creek Indians. Here members of either tribe could travel and conduct commerce without fear of reprisals from members of other tribes.
As early as 1830 a significant community began to develop at the foot of the mountain tops that form Red Top State Park. The city of Etowah was an industrial center in the farm-based community of North Georgia. Destroyed by William Tecumseh Sherman during the Atlanta Campaign the town by 1860 covered a major portion of the land beneath the water. Today the only remains are the Cooper Furnace.
The park itself has widely varied resources. In addition to tent and trailer sites and cottages, the park has a 33-room lodge and conference center with a restaurant. Also in the park are a boat ramp, marina, swimming, beach, picnic area and pavilion available for rental.
12 miles of hiking trails include the 5 and a half-mile Homestead Trail, which allows access to a rebuilt 1860's homestead on the park grounds. A new trail, the 3.8 mile Iron Mine Loop Trail is actually a multi-use trail that takes hikers to an open pit iron mine.