Welcome to Georgia’s largest state park! Just how large, you ask? 9,049 acres and over 40 miles of trails. So if you love to hike this is going to be your place to go. I’ve discovered as I’m progressing through my quests that many will have to be revisited. There are just too many cool things to do at these places for one trip. The park isn’t too far from Atlanta, about 80 miles or so, southwest of the city. Dowdell’s Knob on Pine Mountain was a special interest to me because it was the favorite spot for picnics for President Franklin Roosevelt. Being a history buff, this was just awesome and I couldn’t wait to check it all out. Side note: Check out FDR’s Little White House nearby!
The trail meets up with the Pine Mountain Trail and is a 4.3 mile loop. I drove into the park and had to drive past the street for Dowdell’s Knob to get to the visitor center. The visitor center is really great and there are a lot of fun things to purchase there. I recommend checking it out before you start your hike.
So here’s the quick low down on Dowdell’s Knob in F.D. Roosevelt State Park:
- On April 12, 2007, the park placed a 1,200 pound bronze statue of FDR gazing off into the distance at his favorite picnic spot. The statue shows him sitting on his removable car seat with his leg braces on.
- The trail takes you through hardwood and pine forests and many overlooks that are simply stunning.
- Along the trail, watch out for the Elephant Rock. Don’t worry, there’s a sign. It’s not as amazing as I anticipated but still very cool.
- There are several tent sites, cottages and backcountry camping available.
- Don’t wait for summer, the winter allows for some open views of Pine Mountain Valley.
Between April 25-28, 2011 there was a tornado outbreak, which was the largest and one of the deadliest tornado outbreaks ever recorded. In total, 358 tornadoes were confirmed by the NWS in 21 states. On April 27 alone, there were 211 tornadoes that had touched down. During this outbreak, an EF2 tornado caused severe damage to the park. Even now, you can still see the total destruction as you hike Dowdell’s Knob Trail.
Here’s the Georgia State Park link to F.D. Roosevelt: http://georgiastateparks.org/FDRoosevelt