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blue Sweetwater Creek Loop

  4.4 ( 22 ) Favorite

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4.1 mile 6.6 kilometer loop


Ascent: 312' 95 m
Descent: -315' -96 m
High: 1,022' 311 m
Low: 782' 238 m


Avg Grade: 3% (2°)
Max Grade: 18% (10°)


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Trail shared by Kristen Arendt

A loop combining the White Trail and Red Trail for all the best that Sweetwater has to offer.

Kristen Arendt

Features Fall Colors · River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers

Family Friendly If the whole loop isn't feasible for the kiddos, just head out on an out and back on the Red Trail. The creek is a fun place for kids and adults alike to cool off during hot summer days.

Park is open 7 am to dark.


This loop at Sweetwater Creek is a great hike that can be done in a morning or afternoon. Pack a lunch or snack to enjoy along the creek if you have extra time!


Start this hike on the White Trail at the front door of the visitor center. Turn right at the main trailhead to stay on the White Trail (the Red Trail descends to the left). After you enter the forest, the trail will fork. You can go either way, but going right allows you to get a good warm up with gentle inclines. It also allows you to get some of the less-scenic parts out of the way.

After turning right, you'll cross a couple of park roads and eventually end up on an old gravel road. At about a mile, you'll turn left on another gravel road. Follow that all the way to some large fields (great for seeing wildlife in the morning and evening). The White Trail turns right in the fields, continuing southwest. You'll soon be on a rocky doubletrack descent which will take you to a narrower trail nestled in a stream drainage. Keep following the white blazes.

After about 2.3 miles, keep going straight at the intersection with the Brown Trail (where there is a bridge to the right), and you'll eventually end up at Sweetwater Creek. Along the creek, the trail goes through a lot of little rock gardens and there are some easy scrambles over large rock outcroppings. You'll do this for a while until you hit some very steep stairs. Climb the stairs and follow the boardwalk over some steep sections.

Eventually, you'll come to a confusing intersection with the Red Trail. The White Trail goes up the steep, eroded stairs, while the Red Trail goes back towards the river. Turn right onto the Red Trail to head down toward the river. Enjoy a nice photo opportunity as you pass the old ruined mill or head down to the water for a refreshing break before looping back to the visitor center to finish the hike.

Flora & Fauna

Chestnuts, oaks, ferns, beech, deer, and copperhead snakes.


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Feb 16, 2019
Ashley Keim
Jan 5, 2019
Nick Schalek
Jan 1, 2019
Nicole Sorrells
Took time for photos and a stop at the welcome center for post cards 4.1mi
Sep 29, 2018
Kaitlin Grosgebauer
Aug 4, 2018
David Gray
Jul 15, 2018
A Hopkins
did all the moderate to difficult bits...everything except the yellow trail 6.2mi
Jul 14, 2018
Tanya Claxton
Jul 14, 2018
Melissa Winnette

Trail Ratings

  4.4 from 22 votes


  4.4 from 22 votes
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