(Atlanta, GA.) Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites launched their newest dog walking club, “Tails on Trails,” in June 2016. Hikers and their four-legged companions are challenged to hike seven trails at Georgia State Parks and upon completion, dogs earn a bandana and their owners earn a t-shirt for logging the miles.
Complete with backcountry trails and cascading waterfalls, Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites are characterized by many diverse and scenic hiking trails in the state. Dog walkers have always been welcome in Georgia State Parks, and the Tails on Trails club offers a way for owners and their dogs to accomplish designated hikes. Those who would like to join can purchase a $15 membership card at any of the seven participating parks’ visitor centers or online at GaStateParks.org/TailsOnTrails. Membership cards are also available by calling 770-389-7401 or by sending an email to CustomerService@GaStateParks.org. Upon completing all seven trails, dogs and their owners will receive bragging rights, and a t-shirt with matching bandana for the pup.
Owners must abide by state parks rules: keep dogs on a leash no more than 6-feet, clean up after dogs, and never leave dogs unattended in campsites, cottages or vehicles. Georgia State Parks offer several dog-friendly cottages, which are available to book online at GaStateParks.org/TailsOnTrails. These select cottages often fill quickly, so reservations are highly recommended. A $45 fee per dog (limit 2) is charged.
The following seven trails are part of Georgia State Parks’ Tails on Trails club. Additional Georgia State Parks with dog trails are listed at GaStateParks.org/Dog-Walking.
Fort Mountain State Park – Lake Trail (1.1-mile loop)
Explore a shaded forest and a serene creek valley along the 1.1-mile stretch of Fort Mountain’s Lake Trail. The trail is short and mostly flat, making a great running loop for owners and their dog.
F.D. Roosevelt State Park – Mountain Creek Trail (3.2-mile loop)
Dogs will enjoy roaming on the gentle, rolling mountains of F.D. Roosevelt, Georgia’s largest state park. The Mountain Creek Trail is one of the most scenic and passes through several plant habitats such as pine and hardwood forests.
Don Carter State Park – Woodland Loop and Lakeview Loop Trails (1.5 miles)
The hike on the Lakeview Loop Trail showcases Don Carter State Park’s prime location on the 38,000-acre Lake Lanier, and is a paved for stroller and wheelchair accessibility. Dog owners who are seeking shade can venture into the forest to hike the Woodland Loop Trail.
Sweetwater Creek State Park – Red Trail (2 miles) and White Trail (5-mile loop)
Sweetwater Creek features two trails for Tails on Trails club members, and both lead to the ruins from the New Manchester Manufacturing Company. The Red Trail, 2 miles, is the most frequently used trail and leads directly to the mill ruins. For a longer hike through the park’s wildlife and plant communities, members can hike along Sweetwater Creek’s rocky banks on the 5-mile White Trail Loop.
High Falls State Park – Falls Trail (1.5-mile loop)
Dogs can frolic along the Towliga River accompanied by the sound of the upcoming High Falls. The 1.5 mile Falls Trail is a moderately challenging trek through hilly forests that offers a rewarding waterfall view.
Fort McAllister State Park – Redbird Creek Trail (3.1-mile loop)
Stroll on the 3.1-mile Redbird Creek Trail under the cover of Spanish Moss and discover scenic views of salt marshes, coastal wetlands and nature viewing opportunities at Fort McAllister State Park.
Red Top Mountain State Park – White Tail Trail (1-mile loop)
The White Tail Trail of Red Top Mountain State Park meanders through hardwood forest to a beautiful overlook of Lake Allatoona.
Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites offers several additional clubs for all types of outdoor lovers, including the Park Paddlers Club for canoe and kayak enthusiasts, the Muddy Spokes Club for mountain bikers and casual cyclists, and the Canyon Climbers Club for hikers. Other activities and programs include the First-Time Camper Program, Parks GeoTour and the RV Club. To learn more about Georgia State Parks’ clubs, visit www.GaStateParks.org/ParkClubs or call 770-389-7401.
About Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites
Georgia’s State Parks are affordable destinations for vacations and quick getaways. Waterfalls and lakes, salt marsh and mountains are just some of the beautiful environments of the state parks. Georgia State Park Golf Courses offer the best variety and value around. With eight golf courses to choose from, each features natural settings and picturesque surroundings, as well as fun and challenging play. Most state parks offer fishing, boating, hiking, camping, geocaching, birding and more. Accommodations include campsites, cabins, lodges, even yurts, and vary by park. Among the Georgia State Historic Sites are presidential homes, ancient Indian mounds, battlefields, plantations and even a gold museum. Georgia’s public libraries have ParkPasses and Historic Site Passes that can be checked out like a book. GaStateParks.org/ThingsToKnow.