Pickett’s Mill Battlefield Historic Site is located an hour northwest of Atlanta and is one of the closest state parks to the metropolitan area. There are plenty of trees and plants in this little pocket of wilderness, but the draw of this historic site is the Civil War battle that was fought here in 1864. In the spring of that year, the Union troops were advancing toward Atlanta. Confederate troops entrenched themselves at Pickett’s Mill and halted the Union advance, causing a large number of casualties and delaying the Union advance on Atlanta for a week. Pickett’s Mill still displays the marks of this battle as the site contains well-preserved earthworks and trenches from the battle. The battlefield also underscores the diversity of the Georgia State Parks-in addition to the plethora of natural areas preserved by the state park system, there are also sites that conserve places of cultural and historical significance.
We visited Pickett’s Mill after a dusting of snow, which gave the scenery a soft touch and made our visit a solitary one. We went on a 3 mile hike, but there are several other trail options to make your visit shorter or longer. Visitors can stop at the visitors’ center first to watch a short film on the battle and to get trail maps that mark some of the interesting sites along the trail. These maps were helpful in explaining the remnants of the earthworks during our hike, so make sure you pick some up.
Our hike took us through a lovely forest, down to a stream, and back up to the visitors’ center next to a few fields. Along the way we passed several earthworks, which helped give us a sense for how they were constructed and how the battle might have looked. While seeing the earthworks and understanding the history of the place gave a bit of a somber atmosphere to the site, the beauty of the forest along with the serenity of the snow made for a fun-filled and peaceful hike.