Day Trip: Fort Yargo State Park


210 S Broad St, Winder, GA 30680

Fort Yargo has something for every type of outdoor enthusiast. Yes, even those who like to just sit NEAR nature but not really be in it. Just a short drive up 316 or I-85 (depending on Waze’s opinion that day!) is a well-done state park in Gwinnett’s neighbor’s backyard (Barrow County). 

Fort Yargo is an ideal destination because it offers a variety of outdoor recreation and scenery. A 260-acre lake offers a large swimming beach, fishing docks and boat ramps for canoes/kayaks. Mountain bikers and foot hikers can test their endurance on 20.5 miles of trails. If you are without spokes, you can rent bikes from the ranger station. **Biker tip: Make sure you know which way the trail is heading that day; it changes direction daily. 

The park’s wooded disc golf course is exceptionally challenging; for those who are less ambitious, the park has miniature golf available for a small fee. 

Linger Longer: 

If you decide you’re having so much fun you just can’t leave…overnight guests can choose from fully equipped cottages with updated mid-century modern decor or cozy campsites. 

For a unique experience, YURTS are the way to go (except for in the middle of August; then it’s hot as hell). To experience glamping at its finest, visitors can reserve lakeside yurts, which are permanent canvas and wooden “tents.” Each yurt has furniture and electricity inside as well as a fire pit, picnic table and grill outside. Several of the yurts are situated on the lake with their own porch/dock, so choose wisely when selecting your site. Wagons are provided for guests to taxi their personal items to the yurt, but packers beware: parking lots are approximately 100 yards away (so embrace the rustic adventure and leave the big screen at home). 

Be sure to check out Fort Yargo State Park’s Facebook page for information on events such as campfire nights, youth camps and guide hikes.  

History Lesson: 

Fort Yargo was one of three original trading posts built by The Humphries Brothers Trading Company. A replica of the original 1792 log fort built by settlers for protection against Creek and Cherokee Indians still stands today. The Fort Yargo Living History Society features Colonial Days (March 12 and April 9) where they host reenactments near the fort. They also have authentic cinking parties where they fill the gaps of the old fort with mud and straw – a muddy good time!

The GA State Park’s Muddy Spokes Club is designed to provide a challenge, progressing from easier to more difficult trails. Ride at your own pace and earn a “mud-spattered” t-shirt once you finish all trails.