|From John Birch Dam|
Occasionally, if you’re lucky, you stumble upon a place of great wonder and beauty without really trying. You’ve done no research, you don’t really know what your looking for, but you find it nonetheless. That happened to me the last time I went to Juliette, Georgia .
Now on a quiet day in Juliette, and most of them are, you can hear in the distance the roar of water. After loading up on Fried Green Tomatoes , we went off in search of what was making that noise, with visions of tremendous whitewater or an unknown waterfall dancing in our heads.
What we found, after crossing the Ocmulgee River on a bridge on Juliette Road into East Juliette , was a man made phenomena, but majestic nonetheless, which I found out later was called the John Birch Dam.
This dam must be over 100 feet long, though the fall can’t be more than 12 or 15 feet, and thus it creates a rush of water, an echoing of current, and an amazing sight to behold. There is even the remains of the East Juliette Gristmill on the Western shore.
Now, there were conflicting signs posted, at least one said “No Trespassing,” but another said Boat Ramp this way, and there was parking. The parking is off a dirt path of Old River Road. We learned later that this is a frequently used water access point and the fishing is supposedly terrific. There was a path that leads you right to the gristmill and brings you within a few feet of the dam’s theatrics. There’s even a concrete slab you can carefully walk out onto to get a better view (its probably 40 or 50 feet long and about a foot wide, so I do mean carefully).
I wouldn’t call this a hike, but it was a fun adventure. I would say it was hard exercise, but its not for the weak of body. But it was a beautiful spot in Georgia that I am pretty sure is almost always overlooked. Next time you are over Juliette way, take 30 minutes to enjoy the old grist mill and this fantastic panoramic water show.