Georgia is one of the oldest states in the United States with one of the longest colonial histories in the country. There are many ghost towns and abandoned settlements to explore. While many think of ghost towns in a dry Wild West boomtown, Georgia is a lush and green state. This means many of the ghost towns may soon be reclaimed from the forests.
Discovering the Georgia ruins hidden and lost in the forests and fields around the state can be a fun activity. Maybe you get the vibe of Angkor Wat (although nothing in the world is quite as spectacular as this ancient city lost in the jungle).
Atlanta’s Sope Creek Trail & Ruins
One place to see ruins is along the Sope Creek Trail right in the Atlanta metropolitan area. It leads to the ruins of a Civil War-era stone paper mill called the Marietta Paper Mill. The mill was built in 1855 and burned down in 1864.
The old paper mill was destroyed during the bloody war by advancing Union troops (maybe you will have it too Blown by the wind mood there). The ruins stand crumbling today; they are multi-storey and castle-like.
- Length: 1.5 Round trip
- Difficulty: Easy to moderate
- Ruins: Paper mill destroyed in the civil war
- Parking Fees: $5.00
Sope Creek Park is in a high-end area just outside of Atlanta. The view is beautiful as the trail leads to a tranquil pond on the Chattahoochee River. The pond usually has clear water and is home to turtles and large fish. It’s less crowded than some fairly busy trails in Atlanta.
The mysterious Fort Mountain of Fort Mountain State Park
In the far north of the state of Georgia is Fort Mountain State Park, located between Chatsworth and Ellijay on Fort Mountain. It is close to the stunning Cohutta Wilderness and has 60 miles of recreational trails.
What makes this state park special is a mysterious 900-foot rock face. The wall is shrouded in mystery. The wall is old; it zigzags and was built from stones collected from the top of the mountain. But more is not known – nobody seems to know who built it.
- Ruins: Ancient mysterious 885 foot rock face
- Parking Fees: $5.00
Park opening times:
- Park: 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m
- Office: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m
The park is named after the wall (commonly called the Rock Fort). Old theories say it was built by Spanish conquistador Hernando de Soto – but now that theory seems to have been disproved. It is likely that Native Americans built it perhaps around the time of the sixth century and perhaps for religious ceremonies. But really, no one knows — suggestions have been as speculative as honeymoon paradise for Cherokee newlyweds.
Fort Mountain State Park was opened in 1936 and today covers 15.02 km2.
In addition to the wall, there are numerous pits scattered along the wall and a ruined gate.
Historic mill ruins of the Vickery Creek Trail
Another glimpse into Georgia’s Civil War history is the Vickery Creek Trail in Atlanta’s Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area. The trail leads to two old Roswell Mills, an overflow and a covered bridge.
Hikers can imagine what the once busy mills looked like as they view the ruins of the mills and a towering waterfall cascading over the historic spillway.
- Length: 5 miles
- Ruins: Mills, historic spillway, historic covered bridge
The walk explores not only the historic Roswell Mill, but also the rolling woods of Roswell.
Other Ruins to Explore in Georgia
There are many other ruins in Georgia – too many to go into detail here, but here are some of the most notable ruins in the state.
A four story house built in 1884 but burned down in 1959.
- Location: Cumberland Island
Big Ferry Trail:
Hike the trail and see Prohibition-era ruins. See booze sills and empty tubs rusting in tall grass.
- Location: Skidaway Island
High Falls State Park:
See the ruins of a once thriving industrial city and see the ruins of a hydroelectric power station.
- Location: High Falls State Park
Stroll around Georgia and check out the many other ruins that dot the state.