Between Atlanta and Columbus Georgia, the traveler finds a rolling, hilly land with one exception. Along a fault line, the land turns into Pine Mountain. Here, F.D. Roosevelt use to come to enjoy the warm springs that bubbled up from deep within the earth and enjoy the water falls along the walking paths. F.D. Roosevelt State Park runs along the Ridge of Pine Mountain and has preserved what F.D. Roosevelt loved so much about the land.
F.D. Roosevelt State Park covers 8000 acres of a variety of ecosystems. Volunteers built the current 23 mile trail from long ago horse and walking paths. With so much to see many people choose to hike the whole trail but there are the loops that can be covered in a few hours. For instance, Wolf Den loop is 6.7 miles with several water falls. Cascade falls is the largest of the falls. Big Popular Loop is the longest of the loops with rock forms and several creeks to explore. It got its name from a large Popular Tree found on the trail.
Dowdell’s Knob overlooks eastern Georgia from a height of 1395 feet. Dowdell’s Knob loop starts not far from the overlook. It is an easy hike and a great way to get outside with family and be introduced to the hardwoods and pines that grow in that area. The Pine Mountain Trail Association often leads hikes through F.D. Roosevelt State Park. Check on their web site for dates, times and difficulty of the hikes. They have old timers who know stories about the area. On the Dowdell’s Knob hike, one of the members of the association told a story about an area they were hiking in. A plane had disappeared with the wreckage and dead pilots found years latter. He told the group how pieces of the wreckage could still be found. The members love to share their wealth of knowledge about the plants and animals that live along the trails.
Camping permits are issued for the different campsites on the trails. The campsites are well maintained and a few can handle large groups. If a person does not want to rough it there are sites for RV’s and rental cottages with great views. Boy and Girl Scott groups are welcome and there are several programs to help with earning badges. With few exceptions, the park is open year round.
Georgia summers can be very hot and uncomfortable. The Liberty Bell Swimming pool, located inside the park, is open to the public. The pool is fed by a cool, fresh mountain spring. Even in the hottest part of the summer, the pool can almost be too cold for a lot of people. Shaped like a liberty bell, it is large and roomy. The water, at its deepest, is 10 feet. Life guards are on duty while it is open.
Like to fish and spend a lazy day on a boat, come visit Lake Franklin and Lake Delano. Two lakes nestled in the F.D. Roosevelt State Park are stocked with fish and boat rentals are available. Picnicking, RV camping or just wanting to enjoy being out side, the lakes have something for everyone. At night, the peace and quiet is great for relaxation and for enjoying the outdoors with fellow campers.
People are welcome to bring their own horses but there are horses available for a fair rental fee. Taking a stroll through the woods on horse back allows a chance to see more of the park. What better chance to see the hardwoods changing in the fall or the muscadines in bloom then on horse back. Enjoy traveling like the settlers once did in the recent past.
The Coco Cola Space Science Museum, from Columbus, Georgia, often pulls out the telescopes and has star parties by the F.D. Roosevelt State Park office. The office sits on an overlook providing a great night sky. During the day, bird watchers can be amazed at what they find in the park. The park has been named an Audubon Bird Area because of its variety of types of birds.
For the adventurer, meeting wild turkey and deer, seeing water falls, enjoying great views and finding old trees are all part of the journey. For the people who like to take things slowly there are lakes to sit by and an easy drive to enjoy the grand view from Dowdell’s Knob. Pine Mountain with its F.D. Roosevelt State Park is a gentle mountain that has a place for all visitors.