Sandy Creek Park surrounds 260-acre Lake Chapman, which was constructed to preserve the Sandy Creek watershed and act as an emergency water reservoir for Athens, and serve as a recreation site. Healthy populations of catfish, bass, and crappie draw anglers to the lake, while a sandy beach makes this park a popular place to swim and catch some rays. The park features a variety of activities and facilities. Picnic sites, wooded trails, swimming, playgrounds, fishing, dog runs, disc golf course, sports area, and rental pavilion facilities are highlights of the large park.
If you’re looking for a good day hike, the Lakeside Trail hugs the eastern shore of Lake Chapman, and lies in the shade of a pleasant hardwood forest. In the forest be prepared to encounter wildlife from frogs, deer, and squirrel. The trail climbs to the hilltops with amazing views of the lake, and then drops to a wetland where Sandy Creek meets the lake. The lakeside trail now fully encircles Lake Chapman, a roughly 7-mile path for hikers or adventurous joggers.
The trails are laid out over easy to moderate terrain and good for hikers and walkers of all ages and abilities, as well as equestrians! There are three different trails, each with its own trail-head and clearly marked throughout.
As I hiked around the lake I was amazed at how isolated the trail was. It was also very hard to stay on the trail in certain places. The deeper into the forest I walked the more secluded my surroundings became; and the more nature began to reveal itself. Two groups of deer watched, one with a fawn, as I trespassed into their territory. At one point the male followed me, but then retreated into the forest. I was completely surrounded by trees on certain sections of the trail, and nothing but the chorus of creatures within them could be heard. It reminded me of those nature soundtracks so many people love to fall asleep listening to.
LAKE CHAPMAN TRAILS:
Lakeside Trail (7.5 miles) follows the shore of Lake Chapman, including the new Ellen R. Jordan bridge over Sandy Creek. Hikers may return to their origin by following the paved roadways back. This trail is of moderate difficulty and takes approximately 3 hours to complete. (White blazes.) I would recommend the Lake Trail to anyone that enjoys hiking on their own.
Trail-heads: The first trail-head is at the boat ramp parking lot located off Beech Tree Drive A second trail-head is located off Campsite Drive on the left near the dam, park in the parking lot above and walk down to meet the trail-head.
Buckeye Horse Trail (4.2 miles) is wide enough for multiple horses and riders to enjoy hilly trail that heads northward throughout the park and its property. This trail does not loop, so you MUST return the way you came. (Blue blazes.)
Trail-head: Located off Campsite Drive directly across the street of the first parking lot. Trail-head is to the left of the Cook’s Trail trail-head. Please park all horse vehicles and trailers in the grassy areas.
- There is a $2 per horse fee in addition to the $2 per person park entrance fee. Annual horse permits are available for $10 per horse for ACC residents and $15 per horse for non-residents. Upon entering the park, individuals must produce proof of Negative Coggins Report at the gatehouse. When parked, all horse trailers and vehicles must be fully off the pavement. Please see Horse Rules or visit the gatehouse for more information.
Cook’s Trail (4.1 miles) and Oxbox Loop (0.9 miles) are part of the Athens Greenway and Riverside Parks system, and runs creek-side through woods, over boardwalks and natural surface, ending at Sandy Creek Nature Center. Cook’s Trail is a one-way trail and you MUST return the way you came.
Trail-head: Located off Campsite Drive directly across the street of the first parking lot. Trail-head is to the right of the Buckeye Horse Trail trail-head.
*Bicycle use is not allowed on the trails at Sandy Creek Park. All dogs must be leashed. There is a $2 per person entrance fee for Sandy Creek Park.
Lake Chapman has a total of nine (9) rentable shelters/facilities. They offer the perfect place for your next picnic, birthday party, and family reunion or company event. They can easily accommodate groups regardless of size. Certain restrictions apply regarding group size. For more information or to book your event please contact the park staff at (706)-613-3631.
SANDY CREEK DOG PARKS:
Sandy Creek Park has five (5) two- to three-acre dog parks, four of which are reservation only with a $1 per hour / dog fee. Upon reservation, each dog owner is given a key to their private park when they arrive at the front gatehouse. The fifth park is free with no reservation requirement or key needed. Each Dog Park has mutt mitts and a trash can; all Dog Parks except #4 have a water spigot and a dog bowl. You may make reservations up to 48 hours in advance by calling ahead or stopping by the gatehouse.
NOTE: Reservations for the private parks are made only on the top of the hour (i.e. 3:00 PM, 10:00 AM)
400 Bob Holman Rd 30607 GA United States
Current Hours: Tuesdays – Sundays: 7:00 AM to 9:00 PM
Exit gate locked at posted closing time.
Ages 4-64: $2 per person
under 3 / 65 & older: Free
Disc golf: extra $1 per person