An abandoned mine, an above ground cave, a serene waterfall, a glassy lake, and an unforgettable sunset…who knew you could find all these things at one place in Georgia?!
There’s a trail at James H. (Sloppy) Floyd State Park that’s worth taking a drive just south of Cloudland Canyon. It’s in Summerville, Georgia in the northwestern part of the state and close to the Alabama state line. Compared to many of the other busy state parks in the area, this one is blissfully quiet and provides a tranquil escape for the whole family.
The Marble Mines Hiking Trail
The Marble Mine Trail is about 1.7 miles round trip and has an “easy” rating. It’s also a dog-friendly trail, so bring along your pup! It’s great for beginners and an excellent opportunity to teach your kids something about history and nature at the same time.
This area was once home to marble mining operations in the 1960s and 1970s, and some of the mine still exists inside the state park today. You’ll likely see lots of different plants and animals along the way, such as turtles, rabbits, and deer. If possible, plan to do this hike in the fall at sunset because the colorful leaves really add to the amazing beauty of this trail.
Further along and nearly a mile in, you’ll reach the entrance of the old mine where an exposed rock outcropping meets a mysterious cave. After spending some time admiring the waterfall at the end of the trail, you’ll start hiking back the same way that you came towards the trailhead.
The Beautiful Waterfall
Without a doubt, the highlight of this trail is the stunning waterfall that you’ll find at the end. There is wooden boardwalk at the end of the trail that extends below the rock’s overhang. This means that you can walk underneath the waterfall without getting wet and watch it trickle down to the pool below!
Keep in mind that if the region is experiencing a drought, the flow of the waterfall may become a very slow trickle and look a little less impressive than the photos shown here. But regardless of the conditions, there’s just something serene and magical about standing at the entrance of an aboveground cave while watching and listening to the water flow from above you to 35 feet down below.
Other Things to Do in the State Park
While the waterfall is the main attraction, there’s lots more to do at this state park than just hiking the trail and seeing the waterfall. In fact, this is also an excellent place for fishing, birdwatching, watersports, and camping.
The parking fee is $5 per vehicle to enter the 561-acre James H. (Sloppy) Floyd State Park. In the park, you’ll find 25 campsites, four cottages (one is dog-friendly), two lakes, a boardwalk, four picnic shelters, and two boat ramps. Kayaks, canoes, and pedal boats can be conveniently rented from the state park office. And if the Marble Mines Trail isn’t enough of a hiking challenge, head 1.6 miles down to the 60-mile Pinhoti Trail for an epic backpacking adventure!
James H. Floyd State Park Information:
- Address to James H. Floyd State Park: 2800 Sloppy Floyd Lake Rd, Summerville, GA 30747
- Phone: (706) 857-0826
- Website: gastateparks.org
- Hours: Open Daily from 7AM-10PM