New Echota State Park – #21 of 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles of Atlanta

Going into New Echota town

Going into New Echota town

This past Sunday I went with a few friends to New Echota State Park to check another hike off the list.  Prior to going I didn’t look up much info as it was a last-minute decision.  I wasn’t aware at the time the historical significance of the area.  From 1825 until the 1830’s New Echota was the capital of the Cherokee Nation.  In the 1830’s the US government began giving the land away via lottery and forcing the Cherokee to leave via The Trail of Tears.  I was surprised at how small and relatively unknown the site is based on the historical significance.  After the removal of the Cherokee people, the site was mostly untouched for almost 100 years.  In 1952 the land was put up for sale and local residents purchased 200 acres and donated it to the state due to the historic significance.  For more reading please follow the highlighted links, there’s a lot more to the history of the area but I won’t cover that here.

From a hiking perspective the trails are pretty simple.  There is a 1 mile nature trail as well as ~1 mile of trails circling the site.  There is a small museum in the main building and there are several original and recreated buildings on site showing the way the town was setup and how each building played its role in daily life and government.  There is a small lake, created by an active beaver dam, and a small creek flowing through the area.  On the day I went there really was not much to be seen along any of the trail.  It was a pleasant and easy walk through a heavily forested area.  A couple points of interest show one of the lowest spots in GA at 630 feet and an area where one side of the trail is new growth pine and the other is older hardwoods, this was caused due to part of the area being cultivated as a farm until he 1940’s.  When it was no longer farmed the fast growing pine quickly took over.  The leaves on the hardwoods were nearing peak fall colors and made of some nice scenery.  Some of the trees had began to lose leaves and made this feel like a true Autumn hike as they crunched under my feet.

Fall colors at New Echota State Park

Fall colors at New Echota State Park

If you’re looking for a quick and easy hike this would be ideal.  I doubt the trail gets very crowded at any time and there is a lot of important Native American history at the site.  The trail is pretty open and very dog-friendly so take your 4-legged friends with you when you go.

This post refers to trail listings in the book 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles of Atlanta.  New Echota Trail is #21/60.

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