Watson Mill Bridge State Park

Quick Facts

Watson Mill Bridge State Park

Georgia

(706) 783-5349

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

Known as one of the most picturesque state parks in Georgia, Watson Mill Bridge contains the longest covered bridge in the state, spanning 229 feet across the South Fork River. Built in 1885 by Washington (W.W.) King, son of freed slave and famous covered bridge builder, Horace King, the bridge is supported by a town lattice truss system held firmly together with wooden pins. At one time, Georgia had more than 200 covered bridges; today, less than 20 remain.

The park is an ideal spot for an afternoon picnic or an overnight stay at the campground. Hiking, biking and horseback riding trails allow visitors to enjoy the thick forest along the river or travel into the park's backcountry. During summer, visitors often play in the cool river shoals just below the bridge.

For reservations, call 1-800-864-7275.

Map of Watson Mill Bridge (GA)

Latitude, Longitude: 34.026344, -83.073034

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Activities

  • Boating

    Seasonal canoe and pedal-boat rentals are available for the five-mile mill pond.

  • Bicycling

    The park provides five miles of biking trails in the park, including the hiking and biking trail, the beaver creek trail, and the ridge loop trail. This six feet wide 2.5-mile loop trail runs along the north side of the South Fork River and is one of the most popular trails for hiking, mountain biking, and jogging. The hiking and biking trail meanders through hardwood and mixed forests and provides one of the best views of the lower shoals of the river. About half way around the loop is an overlook at the edge of what was once a natural beaver pond. For the mountain biker, this trail is not overly technical as it is designed for beginners and intermediates. There are a few fairly steep grades. The entire trail is under shaded canopy. Whether you hike or bike, you will see a lot of biodiversity in the various types of environments the trail covers. The wide Beaver Creek trail runs up Beaver Creek and over a high ridge back through the hardwood forests on its return. The creek was once the site of several beaver ponds. The beavers left this creek area in the mid 1990s after a period of heavy downpours washed away the beaver dams. They now are most often seen in the river. As time goes on, the beavers may return. But even so, this area is an important wetland habitat. Birding opportunities abound on all trails, but especially on the trails on the north side of the river. This trail is for hiking, biking, and jogging. At the head of where the beaver ponds once began, there is a short rocky section and the entire trail is under shaded canopy. The wide heavily wooded ridge loop trail begins in sight of the covered bridge where Beaver Creek dumps into the South Fork River. If you look carefully, to the right of the trail as it begins to climb up the ridge, old wheel ruts from "buggy days" can be seen when a horse and wagon was the mode of transportation. Ferns can now be seen growing in the old ruts. While this loop is just under a mile, it is also part of the overall trail system that accommodates hikers, mountain bikers, and joggers.

  • Camping

    The park offers 21 Tent, Trailer, RV Campsites.

  • Fishing

    Fishing for catfish, bass, and bream is available in the park's five-mile mill pond.

  • Hiking

    Seven miles of hiking trails are available to the public, including nature trails, a biking and hiking trail, the beaver creek trail, and the ridge loop trail. The two miles of nature trails run along the south side of the South Fork River and Big Clouds Creek. Portions of the trails wander through the historical portions of the park along the old powerhouse sluiceway, also know as a raceway. The six feet wide 2.5-mile hiking and biking loop trail runs along the north side of the South Fork River and is one of the most popular trails for hiking. The trail meanders through hardwood and mixed forests and provides one of the best views of the lower shoals of the river. About half way around the loop is an overlook at the edge of what was once a natural beaver pond. The beaver creek trail consists of a six feet wide 1.5-mile loop trail runs up Beaver Creek and over a high ridge back through the hardwood forests on its return. The creek was once the site of several beaver ponds. The six feet wide .75 mile ridge loop trail begins in sight of the covered bridge where Beaver Creek dumps into the South Fork River. If you look carefully, to the right of the trail as it begins to climb up the ridge, old wheel ruts from "buggy days" can be seen when a horse and wagon was the mode of transportation.

  • Horseback Riding

    Presently, there are 12 miles of horse trails in the park. These trails are designed for equestrians. Bicycles are not allowed on these trails. Dogs are also not allowed on horse trails. The park charges a trail use fee per horse; however, the park does not rent horses to the public. Stalls are available to fent. Horse trails and Park Office open at 8am. Current negative coggins test must be presented at park office before entering trails. The horse trails go through a variety of environments.

  • Picnicking

    Three open-sided picnic shelters are each available offering water, electricity and grills. Two of the shelters (#1 and 2) are located close to the playground and restrooms. Please note that shelter #2 is not accessible and requires crossing three steps. Shelter #3 provides close view of shoals below dam and covered bridge. All visitors are required to hold a ParkPass.

  • RVing

    Twenty-one RV campsites are available to visitors for a fee.

Seasonality/Weather

The park maintains mild winters and warm summers; though, be prepared for cold spells during the winter season. Canoe and pedal-boat rentals are offered seasonally.

Directions

Driving

Located 3 miles south of Comer off Ga. Hwy. 22.

From Atlanta, take I-85 to exit 106, GA 316 East (21 miles from the I-75, I-85 split). Travel 316 East for 40 miles to the Athens loop (if you take the southern arc, its 17 miles to the exit for GA 72). Head east on GA72 to Comer (18 miles). Continue through Comer to Newtown Church Road. Turn right, then a quick left on GA 426 (Old Fork Cemetery Road). Follow this to Covered Bridge Road and turn right. Follow to Watson Mill Bridge State Park

Phone Numbers

Primary

(706) 783-5349

Links