Hurricane Shoals Park

Roaring Waters & Historic Buildings map
From Hurricane Shoals Park
The ideal place for me to visit has a number of different attributes. Two of which are a location within a reasonable distance of my home and something interesting to see. If it is free, then all the better. I was doing a little research on another place when I happened across a location in Jackson County, two counties up from Gwinnett and about an hour and fifteen minutes Northeast of Atlanta, that meets all these criteria. The place is the county’s one and only park, known as Hurricane Shoals Park in Maysville, Georgia.

Now, I work off Hurricane Shoals Road in Lawrenceville and I always wondered how the word Hurricane ever got associated with someplace this far inland in Georgia. And my visit to Hurricane Shoals did answer that. It is a derivation of the Indian Word Yamtrahoochee meaning something like “tumbling or roaring waters.” Over the years, these roaring waters were updated and Anglicized as the more poetic Hurricane Shoals, without any actual Hurricane. Interestingly enough, 90% of the time you would visit you get a peaceful and serene tumbling of water in a most bucolic setting along the North Oconee River. But I tend to chase water after heavy rain, so I got to see first hand what the Indians meant by the name (Video at bottom of post).

The water is the first draw to the park. And there are the ever present picnic spots and playgrounds. They also have one of the nicest Miniature Golf Courses I’ve seen in a public place and a disc golf course also. But the other big attraction is a Pioneer Village, that is one of the nicer collections I have seen in the area. There’s about 15 old buildings, many of which you can walk inside. They include a church, a courthouse, several log cabins, a corn crib, a smokehouse, an outhouse. I would put their collection right up there against most all the villages of this kind I have seen. And the true boon is the general accessibility; we were able to enter at least a half a dozen.

If you want to construct your visit as if it were a hike, it was very reminiscent of New Echota, though the trails are not even laid. If you park by the shoals, you walk up the road, across the covered bridge (did I mention the Covered Bridge? I’ll discuss that at a separate entry), and a short ways up on the left there’s the pioneer village. You make a circle around the buildings then head back to the covered bridge cross and walk across the shoals on a thin bridge. On the other side is the minigolf course and the mill. After heading along the water, where the stone runway is evident, you can recross the bridge and explore the other side of the water’s edge. Walking in this manner will put you above 1 mile but shy of 1.5 miles and you get your exercise. Besides the furious water, there were ducks and other wildlife and plenty of places to sit back and get your fill of nature.

So if you’re a county and you are only going to do one park, my advice is do it big. The folks in Jackson County knew this and built Hurricane Shoals Park for us to enjoy. My understanding is that what I saw was only a small fraction of what was to be seen (I didn’t even make it to the Mill as I had an appointment to make and dawdled a long time marveling at the rushing water). I would like the folks who built this fine park to take this post as my sincere thank you for giving us Georgians something so nice. I promise I will be back.

Trail Essentials
Approximate Time: 1.5 hours
Approximate Distance: 1.5 miles
Features: Ruins, Tumbling Waters, Covered Bridge, Pioneer houses

Overall Rating:

Scenic Quality: A+
Athleticism: C
Solitude: A-
Value: A
Parking: Free
Hours of Operation: April thru October 9am-9pm (March & November 9-6 weekends only
Facilities: throughout the park
Maps: None
County: Jackson

1 comment:

  1. On 9/1/10 while at the park 2 of our tires were slashed. Very disappointing end to a great visit. We were parked across from the church in the gravel parking lot.

    Nothing was taken from the car, it was an act of pure vandalism. It was a bit unnerving though.

    Stay classy Maysville.



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