Arielle Fischer, Campus Carrier features editor
What better place to find outdoor excitement than in your own backyard? With 27,000 acres to explore, Berry College provides captivating trails and stunning, picturesque views. From a stroll through the wooded mountains, a kayak adventure or even a hike up to the famous House of Dreams, Berry College has plenty of options for outdoor fun!
One of the main outdoor attractions at Berry is Viking Trail. This 3.5 mile trail, on the back side of campus, is perfect for a quick run, pleasant bike ride or casual morning walk. Viking Trail travels through some of Berry’s luscious woodlands and is a great way to see some other locals, the Berry deer, in the wild. Additionally, this trail is paved for those who find a paved road easier than hiking on the forest trails. On Berry’s recreation website, the trail map labels Viking Trail as a level one out of five on the difficulty scale, illustrating that this trail is more accessible compared to others.
Some other unique attractions are Berry’s disc golf courses. With one course behind the main log cabins, and the other atop Mountain Campus near the shaded WinShape tennis courts, residents can spend the day having a friendly disc golf competition with their peers. Students and staff can check out discs anytime from the Recreation desk located in the Cage Athletic Center on the first floor.
Cloudland Canyon State Park:
About an hour away from Berry, Cloudland Canyon State Park is a spectacular place to spend the day. Located on the edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Cloudland Canyon is a popular spot among students and staff who love to experience the outdoors. With dozens of amenities, like camping, hiking, fishing, kayaking and climbing down a canyon, this state park is a hidden gem of Northwest Georgia.
According to the park’s website, two of the most popular attractions are the waterfalls: Hemlock and Cherokee Falls. These stunning waterfalls, found at the end of short hikes, are perfect for an afternoon swim, some peaceful reflection or to capture breathtaking photos. Also, hikes are open all year, so park-goers can experience the waterfalls in every season. The website also features a gallery filled with stunning photographs taken by campers. Be sure to check out this location to see what the best scenery and views are in the canyon.
Cloudland Canyon also features several types of camping. Filled with lodges, cabins, yurts and large campgrounds, campers can stay in whatever housing they please. Lodging is available throughout the park in both the upper and lower areas of the canyon. Similar to Berry’s disc golf check-out, students and staff of Berry can rent camping gear for a weekend getaway in the forest.
No matter how one drives to Berry College, they’ve probably gone across a bridge that stretches across the Etowah River. This vast river extends across nearly half of Georgia, feeding into tributaries, waterfalls and lakes that span across the state. Flowing from Lake Allatoona through Central Rome, the Etowah provides a plethora of activities for spending the day on or by the water.
According to the Etowah River Water Trails website, the main feature activities on the river are kayaking and canoeing. The 164-mile-long river is perfect for both novice and experienced boaters. Each stretch of the river is labeled in varying difficulty on the previously mentioned website; therefore, travelers can choose the segment of river that suits both their interests and skill level best. On some larger parts of the river, motor-boats are allowed and can be towed from the main roads.
In addition to the standard boating, the Etowah also provides areas for swimming, fishing and hiking alongside the mighty river. Underneath the shade of overhanging trees and relaxing in the chilly freshwater could be a great way to cool off in the boiling summer heat. The Etowah River outposts provide both rentals and purchases of boating equipment, and Berry does provide rentals through the college.
Cedar Creek Park:
On the West side of Rome, close to the Alabama border, Cedar Creek Park is a great place to enjoy some fun in the sun. While the recreation area receives some fame for being a popular RV park and campground, there are plenty other unique activities, exclusive to Cedar Creek, that set it apart from other outdoor attractions. This park not only accommodates typical camping pastimes, but also possesses antique stores, multiple styles of fishing and going on a tour to explore an underground spring.
According to Cedar Creek Park’s website, one of the area’s highlights is their professional driving range. Tucked away between the hills, Cedar Creek Park owns a driving range open to anyone. With an online reservation, visitors and campers alike can enjoy an afternoon of teeing off and relaxing by Weiss Lake. Any equipment needed for golfing can be rented or purchased from the driving range’s shack. Otherwise, guests are welcome to bring their own clubs and golf balls.
Another feature both Cedar Creek Park’s website and Rome, Georgia’s attraction website suggest are activities available around and on the waterways. The park accommodates both kayak and canoe rentals and purchases throughout the year, but also provides both float trips and shuttles down the Coosa River and Cedar Creek. In addition to boat excursions, the park boasts of its many varieties of fishing. Two of its most well-known are fly fishing, which uses an insect-like lure to attract fish above the water, and striper fishing, a rigorous sport-style of fishing for freshwater bass. For those who enjoy fishing or golfing, this local attraction is a great spot for a weekend getaway.