Hiker In Awe of Majestic Mountain View

FD Roosevelt State Park - Great Deep South Views

Roosevelt State Park is a great destination for both hikers and horseback riders. Of course, the campgrounds are everything you would at a Georgia state park. However, it's the trails that set this park apart from the rest. Day hikers and backpackers love the 42 miles (68 km) of trails. Equestrian users love the stables and 28 miles (45 km) of horse trails.

Located about 80 miles (129 km) south-southwest of Atlanta, this area was popular with President Franklin D. Roosevelt. He built Roosevelt's Little White House, now a state historic site, in nearby Warm Springs, GA. Before that, he built the McCarthy Cottage, which burned to the ground on August 9, 2011. Roosevelt was attracted to the area by the natural warm spring waters, which gave relief to his polio stricken body. He used to enjoy swimming in the park and picnicking at Dowdell's Knob.

Roosevelt's Little White House Historic State Park
At 9049 acres, F.D. Roosevelt State Park is the largest of Georgia state parks. In this west central Georgia location near Alabama, many people do not expect to find the mountainous terrain that is enjoyed here. But these are not the rugged mountains of north Georgia. These are gentle, rolling mountains. The pines and hardwood forests put on a beautiful display in the fall.

Another surprise of Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park is the birding. The Pine Mountain Ridge area supports many species of birds, so many that the Audubon Society has recognized this as an Important Bird Area. Roosevelt himself was an avid bird watcher throughout his entire life. The excellent birding in the area just gave him another reason to spend time at the Little White House.

Roosevelt State Park Liberty Bell Pool
There are two lakes in the park for water based activities, Lake Delano and Lake Franklin. Typical of Georgia, fishing is excellent. The park rents boats for anglers that want to get onto the water. They also rent canoes for others that simply enjoy paddling. The historic Liberty Bell Pool, built in the 1930's by the Civilian Conservation Corps, is available for swimming.

If you want to spend some serious time at Roosevelt State Park, there are several overnight options ranging from cottages to primitive backcountry campsites. The 22 cottages are one and two bedroom cabins, sleeping anywhere from two to eight people. The kitchens are fully equipped. There's heat and air, but no phone or TV. Do you really need a TV when you're surrounded by nature's entertainment?

Roosevelt State Park Old Trading Post
The campground has 140 wooded campsites that can handle a trailer or RV up to 40 feet in length. There are water and electric hookups, along with grills and picnic tables. You'll need to buy firewood for the fire ring. Each camping loop has a restroom with hot showers. Laundry facilities are available.

The 28 miles (45 km) of equestrian trails at Roosevelt State Park are managed by a third party, Roosevelt Stables. You don't even need your own horse. They have the horses and do guided tours for all levels of experience. There are a variety of trails over a variety of terrain. They even offer an overnight ride, sleeping under the stars. A campfire cooked dinner and breakfast are provided.

You can bring your own horse to ride the trails. You'll need proof of a negative Coggins test. You may not be able to take your own horse on their guided tours. Just ask. They will provide you a trail map so you can find your way around.

Roosevelt State Park Hiking

The 40 plus miles (64 km) of trails have a reputation for being well maintained and easy to follow. They cross varied terrain. The mountain views and waterfalls are a backdrop for some of the best hiking in the southeast. Day hikers will find shorter trails and loops. Those on a multi-day backpacking trip have miles of trails across Pine Mountain Ridge and a total of 14 primitive campsites to choose from in the backcountry.

There are several trails around the campgrounds by Lake Delano. Mountain Creek Loop Trail is a 3.2 mile (5.2 km) nature hike around the lake. There's a nice brochure available to identify plant life. There's also the 0.7 mile (1.1 km) Delano Trail and the 1.8 mile (2.9 km) Pool Trail.

Roosevelt State Park Dowdell's Knob View
Roosevelt State Park Dowdell's Knob Statue of FDR

Dowdell's Knob Trail is another nature trail with a good brochure available. It's 1.0 mile (1.6 km) one way path leads along the ridge of Dowdell's Knob. A statue of Roosevelt is on Dowdell's Knob, where he liked to picnic and enjoy the view. The trail ends at a waterfall.

Roosevelt State Park Trail Sign
The trail that really attracts hiking enthusiasts is the 23 mile (37 km) Pine Mountain Trail. This trail anchors a number of side trails, such as the beautiful 6.5 mile (10.5 km) Wolfden Loop. There are plenty of entry points, making this pathway suitable for both a day hike, or an extended overnight backpacking journey. This moderately difficult tail features waterfalls and fantastic views.

The park office can provide you with the trail maps and guides for the extensive trail system. Rangers are very knowledge and can help you plan your time at FDR State Park.

Callaway Gardens Near Roosevelt State Park
Be aware, if you visit in the winter, the weather can sometimes be quite cold, and even snowy. Pine Mountain Ridge can be windy. Keep an eye on the weather forecast. Even though you're in the deep south, brush up on your winter hiking tips before visiting FD Roosevelt State Park between November and March. Make sure you're well prepared.

While you're in the west central Georgia Pine Mountain region, consider a visit to nearby Callaway Gardens. This amazing 13,000 acre resort attracts visitors with their floral displays, vast collection of azaleas, vegetable garden, and championship golf course. You can tour the resort using the 10 mile bike trail, or simply drive. There are many nature trails to enjoy all that this private park has to offer.

Roosevelt State Park is truly a hidden treasure. If you're in the Atlanta area, take a trip south on I-85 to I-185, not far from LaGrange. You'll find this park on US Highway 27. Discover what Roosevelt found here many years ago, a beautiful, refreshing getaway from the daily stresses of life.

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