The Hidden Heart at Fort Mountain State Park in Chatsworth, Georgia
Hidden Heart at Fort Mountain State Park
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.
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 and Sunday 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 is also a popular destination for weekend getaways and longer vacations. 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.
Before your trip, review the park's COVID-19 precautions.