Hidden Heart at Fort Mountain State Park

  • The Hidden Heart

Just two hours north of Atlanta is a gorgeous state park with a romantic twist. Fort Mountain State Park may be best known for its mysterious rock wall, but only those with a keen eye will find its heart-shaped stone. It’s the perfect Valentine’s Day destination for active couples.

During the Great Depression, the Civilian Conservation Corps was tasked with building a 38-foot fire tower atop Fort Mountain. A young stone mason named Arnold Bailey led the team while missing his sweetheart back home. To show his love, he carved a heart-shaped stone and centered it above a window. His romantic gesture must have won Margaret Reece’s heart, because they were married 59 years until his death in 1994.

Fort Mountain State Park, Chatsworth
Fort Mountain State Park, Chatsworth

Today, park visitors can hike lush mountain trails to where the fire tower still stands. Along the way, they’ll pass an ancient stone wall with an unknown origin. (Be sure to read about the “moon-eyed people” theory!) On Saturday afternoons, the tower is open so visitors can climb to the top. Eighty years later, the historic fire tower is still the perfect spot for stealing a kiss.

Fort Mountain State Park, Chatsworth
Fort Mountain State Park, Chatsworth

Fort Mountain State Park is also a popular destination for weekend getaways and longer vacations. Newly renovated cabins have lake or forest views, while a campground offers hot showers and cozy campfires. The park features 14 miles of trails, ranging from an easy lake loop to a challenging backcountry trek. Mountain bikers can show off their skills on some of the top singletrack in Georgia. During summer, guests can also enjoy a sandy swimming beach and boat rentals at the small lake.

Click here or call 706-422-1932 to learn more about this 3,712-acre park near Chatsworth. Fort Mountain State Park is open daily, and parking is just $5.

Kim Hatcher

Kim Hatcher has handled media relations for Georgia’s State Parks and Historic Sites since 1993. She grew up in Smyrna, Ga., and earned her journalism degree from the University of Georgia. She and her husband enjoy camping, hiking, paddling and exploring the great outdoors. Kim works with reporters and travel writers, manages the park system’s Facebook and Twitter accounts, and serves as a spokesperson for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

Mentioned in this Post