|From Etowah Mounds|
Just outside of Cartersville and not too far from the Allatoona Pass site, stands a legacy to the culture that came before: the Indians. We’ve seen their last greatest moments on our visit to New Echota, but their beginnings are best reflected in the monuments built by the Mississippian Moundbuilders, the Etowah Mounds.
The Moundbuilder culture left several of these testaments to their civilization, the three major ones stand here in Etowah, along with Ocmulgee near Macon and Kolomoki in SW Georgia (There’s also a curious single mound outside of Helen surrounded by cows). The Etowah Mounds are thought to be a center of commerce and considered the largest community of its kind around 1000 AD.
According to their literature, Etowah consists of 6 mounds, labeled A-F. Realistically, there are three major mounds A, B, & C, and three barely visible mounds D, E, & F. Mound A, thought to be the site of Tribal Leadership stands over 60 feet high and spans three acres. Mounds B & C are a bit smaller but still very impressive to view.
You are allowed to walk up the stairs to the tops of the mound and view the surrounding area. If you look to the North you will see a Nuclear Power Plant, and the contrast of time and culture is expressed simply by standing on a 1000 year old dirt hill and viewing the future.
Included in the admission (Parking is Free, admission is $3 2007), is a nice little museum which tells the story of the Etowah Indians and has some interesting unearthed artifacts. The Grounds includes a nice place to sit next to the Etowah River, a nature path built by Boy Scouts along the perimeter, and also the Ditch, thought to be either a defense mechanism or simply where the dirt was retrieved to complete the mounds.
I hesitate to call this a hike because the whole thing is only about a mile and a half round trip, though with the museum you could easily spend a couple of hours here. Its just off highway 75, and would be an excellent hour stop on a long road trip. It would be a nice place for a picnic, but they don’t allow food on the grounds. If you want to stop and eat there is an unnamed park with benches just across from the entrance to the site.