“Shaded young forest by a creek and beautiful rocky cliffs. Photographers, bring your camera gear!”
— Heather Pruner
Don't let the very short length of this trail make you think it not worth your time: visit it if you are anywhere near Roswell! There are some beautiful moss and fern-covered rock cliffs in this forest by the creek, and it is minutes from the Vickery Creek trail system, so you can make a day of it and run one trail after another if you wish!
The trail here is very accessible and mostly flat with the exception of one big set of wooden stairs.
Need to Know
The entrance to the parking area off of South Atlanta Street is easy to miss. It is a gravel/dirt road with a small black sign with white lettering (you'll see the sign and entrance on the right if you are heading North from Azalea Dr/Riverside Rd).
Don't forget the $3.00 exact cash for the parking pay station! (Or get a $35 annual pass from Island Ford visitors center before you go.)
You may want to plan on running into Vickery Creek or exploring historic downtown Roswell while you're in the area if you want to make a day of it.
On the trail, there are a couple of unmarked forks, noted in the description, so keep your wits about you.
Start at AL 1 near the parking lot and head past the house (which will be on your Left) to AL 2. Continue down a set of wooden stairs sunken into the ground to AL 3. If you continue straight, there is a fork immediately ahead, both sides dead-ending at a rocky cliff overlooking the forest and river below. The right-hand fork is where you'll find the AL 4 marker. Enjoy this lovely spot for a while, or savor it at the end, because you'll pass through this area again on the way out.
Turn around and make a left past AL 3 to head towards AL 5. This section slowly descends along the ridge through the woods, the creek visible below on the left.
At AL 5, keep Left.
***A littler further along, there is an unmarked fork. Keep left here, as the right fork dead-ends near the road.***
Continue to the set of wooden stairs that bring you the rest of the way down to the level of the riverbank. You are now at AL 6.
If you want a slightly longer outing (and you might, because this trail is very short), turn right here. Follow the trail through this relatively open section next to the creek on your left (although it is screened from sight by young trees and vegetation). Once you reach AL 7, the trail dead-ends here and you must turn back and go back to AL 6.
Go straight past AL 6 heading in the opposite direction for about the same distance (roughly a quarter mile).
***The trail appears to fork at one point on this stretch. You can stay closer to the creek by staying right, but the 2 paths come back together shortly either way. The left side is a bit wider.***
You'll soon find the reason you came; You'll probably be enjoying the views across the creek to the right, when you look left and realize you are standing at the bottom of the same cliffs from AL 4. This area is a photographer's dream, but don't forget to take it in through your own eyes as well!
This area is where you'll find the sign for AL 8, where the trail ends near the bottom of the cliffs. Head back the way you came and take the wooden stairs back up from AL 6. Keep climbing the gentle ridge, retracing your steps and maybe stop by the top of those cliffs one more time (AL 4).
Go back up the stairs from AL 3 and past AL 2 and 1 to end up back at the parking lot.
History & Background
The house at Allenbrook was built in the late 1800's and served as the home and office of the Laurel Woolen Mill. This mill produced woolen textiles for the Confederate Army uniforms among other woolen goods. After the GA Power Company built Morgan Falls Dam in the early 1900's, Laurel Mill began to experience flooding issues and was eventually abandoned in 1916.