F.D. Roosevelt State Park: Georgia

At this Georgia state park, recreation is not limited to that busy season between Memorial
Day and Labor Day. Outdoor activities thrive year-round, and the only limitation may lie in
just how much peace and quiet a visitor desires. This richly forested 9,049-acre preserve
is set in the foothills of the Appalachians in west-central Georgia, where the climate is
mild year-round. Unlike many national and state parks, this one’s spacious campsites and
vast countryside offer ample solitude. In fact, for rest and relaxation, few places may
compare to this state park. In addition to its recreational activities and rich natural
offerings, the park’s popularity stems from its historical significance. The influence of
the former president and his Civilian Conservation Corps is found in unique cabins, a stone
swimming pool and group camps. Here, campsites are diverse. Motorhomes may be set up beside
Delano Lake, which is stocked with a variety of fish. Anglers cast flies from grassy,
tree-shaded banks, busy with ducks and geese waddling and swimming along the shore. For a
more remote setting, there are backcountry spots deep within lush woodlands. Once set up,
visitors may pursue a number of activities. From most campsites, hiking opportunities are
popular. The park’s trail system is ranked as the Southeast’s finest. Short walks or long
Herculean backpacking treks are options along the 37 miles of trails. A $2 day use parking
permit, required for access points beyond campsites, may be purchased at the visitor
center. For a short nature walk, start at any of the trail crossings near the information
center. The Mountain Creek Trail’s terrain, accessible from the RV campground, is
considered moderate. Nearby, the Pool Trail is also designed for short jaunts. Farther up
Pine Mountain is Dowdell Knob Trail. Its semi-level terrain is recommended for the
less-experienced hiker. The east end leads to picturesque falls. Ambitious hikers scout out
Pine Mountain Trail, which is used for both full-day hikes and overnight camping. Wolfden
Loop, six miles long, is known as the park’s most scenic trail and is accessed from the
mile-18 parking area on State Highway 190. Big Poplar Loop, eight miles long, is the park’s
most popular trail. Distinctive rock formations, tiny trickling creeks and an ancient
poplar tree at the 10-mile juncture may account for this trail’s attraction. Trailhead
access is from mile 6 or mile 11 on State Highway 190. To explore the backcountry by horse,
check out the park’s stables. Visitors mosey on over to the barns to hook up with guides
who lead the gentle, trail-wise horses across rugged Pine Mountain paths. Stately pines and
oaks are seen along the way, as well as colorful native flora, including mountain laurel,
dogwood and rhododendron. Water-related activities are readily available throughout Pine
Mountain. Lake Franklin and Lake Delano offer year-round boat or bank fishing for bass and
catfish. The nearby Chattahoochee and Flint rivers provide excellent fishing, boating and
canoeing. A fishing license may be obtained at the visitor center. A couple of miles east,
on State Route 190, is FDR’s favorite picnic spot, Dowdell’s Knob. It is the highest point
in the park, cresting at 1,395 feet above sea level. Views from this promontory overlook a
vast, forested valley of vivid green that changes to brilliant colors in fall. Inviting
picnic tables and outdoor grills stand near a historic fireplace that displays a plaque
commemorating the former president. From here, State Route 85 West leads to FDR’s Little
White House, which was his vacation residence. It was built for $9,000 in 1932. The d├ęcor
remains as it was in 1945 when the president made his 41st and final visit. The famous
Unfinished Portrait stands on display in the living room where he had been posing for it
shortly before he died after a stroke. A museum adjacent to the house presents a historic
film and displays memorabilia from the era. The guest house, servants’ quarters and the
president’s 1938 roadster are also viewed on the tour. The naturally hot pools located a
quarter-mile farther south on State Highway 27A first attracted the three-term president to
the area. The pools’ spring waters are a constant 88 F, winter and summer, and are said to
be medicinal. FDR, a victim of polio, found relief in the waters. Daily tours are
available. When returning to the park, visitors may detour by taking State Route 190 west
to State Route 27 north, which leads to Callaway Gardens, a 14,000-acre horticulture
bonanza. There are 700 kinds of azaleas that bloom from spring until fall, a golf course, a
shooting range, performing birds of prey and the nation’s largest indoor tropical
conservatory for live butterflies. An early-1800s pioneer log cabin, where guides in period
attire give private tours, also stands along the route. Close by, modern cabins are
situated deep in the woods, complete with fireplaces, cable televisions and decks with
grills. Ardent campers, however, return via State Route 190 to the peace and solitude of
F.D. Roosevelt State Park and Pine Mountain.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here