In northwestern Georgia, Red Top Mountain State Park has a plethora of natural beauty and exciting activities to enjoy all year long. The park got its name from the rich red color of the soil from its high iron-ore content. In fact, it used to be a major mining area. Nowadays, most people come to the park for water sports on the 12,000-acre lake or hiking and biking on the 15 miles of trails. You can also find several outdoor games such as tennis, pickleball, and miniature golf.
Practice your archery skills, enjoy an educational interpretive program with the kids, or go geocaching. Who hasn’t dreamed of finding a hidden treasure, right? Swimming is also popular here with a large swimming beach you can enjoy from Memorial Day until Labor Day. If you have a boat, go ahead and bring it with you so you can enjoy some time on the water while visiting Red Top Mountain State Park. They have two boat docks and ramps for public usage.
Bring the whole family for a picnic at one of the picnic shelters, or if you have a large get-together planned, there are two group shelters that can seat 150 to 200 guests. Make Red Top Mountain State Park your home away from home with 89 campsites to choose from.
Red Top Mountain State Park is easy to find whether you are driving a huge motorhome or a small campervan as it's located only 36 miles northwest of Atlanta. Surrounded by I-75 on the south and west, I-575 on the east, and GA-20 to the north, you should have no problem finding your way. As you head into the park, you can stop at one of the many attractions in the area such as the Allatoona Pass Battlefield six miles to the south, the Etowah Indian Mounds less than 10 miles to the west, or the Allatoona Visitor Center and Museum about 11 miles to the northwest.
The roads in and out of the park are well-kept and you should have no trouble getting around in your RV if you are careful and drive slowly. You should do that anyway since there are always a lot of visitors (including children) running around the park. Several of the spots in the campground are made for small trailers 10 feet long and under so make sure you book a site large enough for your rig.
For some more park adventures, check out George Washington Carver Park in Acworth, just about four miles to the southeast. This historical park has boating, picnicking, and swimming on the beautiful Allatoona Lake. If you want to learn more history, stop by Pickett’s Mill Battlefield State Park in Dallas, GA. They have one of the finest maintained Civil War battlegrounds in the country.
Cartersville / Cassville-White KOA is 50 miles north of Atlanta and provides quick access to I-75. Tellus Northwest Georgia Science Museum is just three miles down the road and within an hour’s drive to destinations like Six Flags Over Georgia and Stone Mountain Park. After a day of Georgia explorations, relax at Cartersville / Cassville-White KOA with amenities like Wi-Fi, cable TV, and a seasonal pool or take the pup for a walk in the pet walking area. All sites are pull-through style and can accommodate rigs up to 100 feet.
In the southern section of Red Top Mountain State Park, you can find the campground spread out over a large area along Allatoona Lake. Out of the 89 campsites, 65 of these have water and 30- to 50-amp electric hookups so you will be able to cook indoors or watch the game on TV if you can get a signal. Four host sites additionally feature sewer hookups. If you are wanting to watch the tube, talk to the park staff about which sites have the best reception. But you are here to enjoy the great outdoors, so get outdoors and cook on the provided campfire ring or just relax at the picnic table that seats six.
About half of the sites are located along the water so you won’t have to walk far to take a dip or toss in a line. If you like hiking or biking, the half-mile Campground Trail connects you to several other trails on Red Top Mountain Road, and the 3.9 Iron Hill Bike Trail begins at the campground as well. You will also have access to a comfort station with showers as well as an RV dump station. Reservations are required and can be made up to 13 months in advance. Be sure to check the RV length limits when you book your spot as these range from 10 to 40 feet in length. Your furbaby is allowed to join you as long as you clean up after them and keep them secured at all times during your stay.
If you have a large group or get-together planned and don’t mind roughing it, park the RV and take a hike to the Pioneer Campground. This secluded campground is in its own section of the park where you and up to 99 more people can enjoy tent camping in the woods. The park provides three picnic tables under a pavilion to shade you and keep you safe from the elements. There are also eight benches near the water’s edge where you and a group can fish or just enjoy the scenery around the campfire provided here.
This is primitive camping in the woods of Georgia, so don’t expect running water, showers, or flushing toilets. However, you will have a couple of outhouses to use, and there are potable water spigots for drinking and cooking with. Reservations are a must and can be made up to 13 months in advance. Pets are welcome too, but you have to keep your furbaby restrained and clean up after them.
Have you ever camped in a yurt? The word is Turkish and stands for Year-round Universal Recreation Tent and is basically a round tent with a wooden frame. Leave your RV in the parking lot and your pooch at home if you want to try out the one and only yurt at Red Top Mountain State Park. On the southern end of the campground right on Allatoona Lake, you can find this beautiful structure on a hill with a deck that overlooks the water.
The futon couch folds out to a full-sized bed, and there is a futon bunk bed that has a twin on top and full-sized bed on bottom. Bring your own bedding. Log tables and several windows are provided with screens so you can enjoy the view. They even provide space heaters in case it gets chilly at night. Electricity and a ceiling fan are provided as well. Outside, you can cook on the fire ring, but you are also welcomed to bring in your own portable camp stove or grill. The picnic table on the deck makes it easy to enjoy the view of the lake while you eat.
Thinking a night or two indoors might be a nice change? Red Top Mountain State Park has 18 waterfront cottages to choose from. All of the cottages have two bedrooms with two queen beds in each, full kitchens with a stove, fridge, and microwave oven, and full bathrooms. Eleven of these have two bathrooms and two of them are ADA-accessible.
Bed and bath linens and towels are provided as well as pots, pans, and dishes. There is a table and chairs indoors or you can eat outside on the picnic table. There is also a fire ring outside by the table. The living room has a comfy couch, two padded chairs, a television, and a fireplace. The only thing you need to bring is some food and your pajamas! You should definitely reserve your spot way in advance, especially if you want one of the two cottages that are ADA-accessible or one of the five that allow dogs.
Although there are a few trails you can enjoy on your bike, the one made specifically for mountain bikers is the 3.9-mile Iron Hill Bike Trail. This scenic path will take you in a loop along the banks of Allatoona Lake and through a historical area that was once used for mining ore. Be aware that although it is a bike trail, hikers are allowed to use it as well. This trail begins just off Red Top Mountain Road, or you can start from the spur that leads to the campground.
Although you can enjoy a dip in the lake just about anywhere there is access, the main beach is on Red Top Beach Road. Just take Red Top Mountain Road to the west just north of the campground and south of the cottages. The beach is sandy and clean with several picnic areas, a group shelter, and a comfort station with changing rooms. The miniature golf area is also along this road. There is no lifeguard on duty so you will be swimming at your own risk. Don’t forget the towels and sunscreen.
From tennis to miniature golf to pickleball, you can find all sorts of games to enjoy at Red Top Mountain State Park. Pickleball is a game that combines ping-pong, badminton, and tennis into one sport. The game is played on a tennis-style court with paddles similar to ping-pong only larger. The ball is like a large ping pong ball with holes in it like a whiffle ball. You basically hit the ball back and forth over a net like tennis until someone misses the ball and the other team scores one point. Games are typically played until one team reaches 11 points, and it may be played with a two-person team or one on one.
Allatoona Lake is well-known for its bass species including largemouth, striped, and spotted bass although carp, crappie, and both channel and flathead catfish are plentiful as well. Large bass have been known to hit on fly fishing techniques with spinners or poppers. You can also catch some whoppers with crankbaits, bright-colored artificial worms, and swimbaits. For the bottom feeders like catfish, live bait with a sinker works best. The key is that you have to be patient. Toss in your line and sit back and relax while you wait for the fish to find your bait. You will need to have a Georgia fishing license and keep it with you at all times.
If you plan to take advantage of the 15 miles of trails at Red Top Mountain State Park, make sure you pack the walking shoes in your RV. Although the 0.75-mile Lakeside Trail is paved and rated as easy, the other trails are rated as moderate and will require some hiking gear. The longest trail made for hiking is the 5.5-mile Homestead Loop Trail. You will start at the Visitor Center and enjoy a trek through the most scenic parts of the park, including about two miles along the Etowah River, which is what feeds the lake. The trail is named for the homesteads that used to be located along the loop.
If you like looking for hidden treasures (and who doesn’t?), you are going to love geocaching. All you need is a cell phone or another device that has GPS, and some comfortable walking shoes. A geocache is a waterproof container with a logbook, pen, and hidden treasures inside. The hidden treasures are typically small toys like erasers, marbles, or other small trinkets. If you plan to take one of the treasures, make sure you bring your own to replace what you take. And always put the geocache back exactly where you found it so others can find it too. There are several hidden in Red Top Mountain State Park. One is by the Visitor Center Parking Lot and there are others along the trails and in the meadows. Just follow where your GPS takes you.