As a photographer and a long-time resident of Dunwoody, I have spent a lot of time in the various National Parks that make up the Chattahoochee River National Park Area. I spent many hours hiking through the one from the Island Ford Visitor Center just south of the river. But I never paid much attention to the one that borders Hwy 9 in Roswell, Georgia, that runs from Riverside Road up to Oxbo Road. That is until one day when I got turned around.
I was trying to find parking to access an event at the Roswell, Georgia town square when I turned onto Mill Street, where Hwy 120 intersects Hwy 9. Traffic was heavy, and parking was scarce, so I continued down Mill Street past closed office parks full of cars until I came to a large lot outside two old red buildings. The parking was almost gone even down here, so I found a place at the far end of the lot and took the long walk back uphill to the town square.
When I returned, I paid more attention to my surroundings. The old red buildings turned out to be Ivy Hall. It was initially built in 1838 as a mill. It was destroyed in 1864 along with the rest of the area by fire in the Civil War, then rebuilt in 1882. After standing vacant for decades, it has been a venue for events and catering since 1991. It was interesting and worthy of a few shots, but it was the view when I got back to my car that made the trip serendipitous.
I was parked along the edge of the lot over a steep precipice. Looking down, I saw an old brick building partially covered in vines. This was the old machine shop, also built in the 1800s, that was part of the mill run by the Roswell Manufacturing Company. Wow. What a find.
But wait, there's more.
As my eyes rose beyond the building, I caught sight of the structure that would bring me back to this park dozens of times and lead me to some of the best hiking in the area. What I saw was the Vickery Creek Covered Pedestrian Bridge. Although it looks old, it was built in 2005 to connect the Roswell, Georgia Historic district with the Chattahoochee River National Park. It is still the newest covered bridge in Georgia, and its 161-foot span is constructed from Douglas Fir.
I returned soon after that and spent a couple of hours photographing every angle and detail of the bridge. Even though it is new, the massive timbers and the craftsmanship gives it an old feel. Of course, I also had to shoot the old machine shop building.
On subsequent trips, I crossed the bridge and followed each of the three paths leading away. I still have yet to follow the southern paths very far that lead all the way to the parking lot off of Riverside Road. Two trails run primarily downhill through the forest to the parking lot, both about a mile in length. It was the knowledge that the return trip would be all uphill, led to my hesitation.
It was the third path that attracted my attention. It runs parallel to Vickery Creek from the bridge and leads up to the waterfall that used to power the old mill. As much as I've hiked this and other trails in the Chattahoochee River National Parks around Roswell, Georgia, it always amazes me how much cooler it is, even in the middle of summer.
If you are anywhere near Roswell, Georgia, and need a pleasant place to hike or a fantastic backdrop for your photography, don't forget about the Old Mill Historic area and the covered bridge. You won't be disappointed.