The spring recreation season is approaching, which means it’s time to gear up for what is happening on beautiful Allatoona Lake. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers manages seven campgrounds and 14 day-use areas that offer a wide variety of great outdoor experiences. Before the season starts, this is a good time to familiarize yourself with what is new at the lake.
The biggest update this year concerning campgrounds is the temporary closure of McKinney Campground. McKinney’s restrooms, shower houses and dump station are being added to the Bartow County sewer system. This upgrade will improve the overtaxed dump station and aged septic systems currently in the restrooms, shower houses and gatehouse.
With McKinney Campground closed at the beginning of the summer, it’s good to know that the corps manages six other campgrounds on Allatoona Lake. Sweetwater Campground in Canton, Victoria Campground in Woodstock, and Payne Campground in Acworth will officially open for the season March 20. In Bartow County, McKaskey officially opens March 20 with Old Highway 41 No.3 and Upper Stamp Creek opening May 15.
All campsites will continue to be 100% reservable at every campground managed by the corps on Allatoona. Campsite pricing stays the same, and is based on the location and the amenities on the campsite. Please remember to bring your debit or credit card, all corps campgrounds went cashless in 2019. Campsite reservations can be made by calling (toll-free) 1-877-444-6777 or by going through Recreation.gov which links to various recreational sites around the nation.
The corps offers a wide variety of day-use areas that it manages on the lake. There are 10 separate ramps, five beaches, eight shelters, four picnic areas, five trails and one disc golf course. Many are combo ramp/beach/shelter areas. Here are a few examples of popular day-use areas around the lake. The day-use areas have mixed opening dates, which started in February, with all areas open by May 1.
• Victoria Day Use offers a busy beach, two ramps and a new fishing tournament site.
• Galt’s Ferry Day Use offers a busy beach and a three-lane ramp.
• Sweetwater Day Use offers a beach and a group shelter area.
• Kellogg Creek Day Use has a small beach.
• Payne Ramp is a busy three-lane ramp area located off Kellogg Creek.
• Knox Bridge Day Use offers a ramp that is popular with kayakers.
• Blockhouse Ramp is the busiest corps operated ramp on Allatoona.
• Old Hwy 41 No. 1 Day Use offers a beach and two small one-lane ramps for boaters.
• Stamp Creek Day Use, located in White, Georgia, has a three-lane ramp area.
• Cooper Branch No. 1, near the Visitor Center, has a two-lane ramp, picnic areas, and a shelter.
• Cooper Branch No. 2 has a group shelter, picnic tables, and a nearby trail system.
• Cooper’s Furnace Day Use is a historic area with two shelters and associated trails.
• Riverside Day Use, located on the Etowah River, has two group shelters, picnic areas, trails, ramp and a highly rated disc golf course.
• All of the old honor vaults in corps-managed day use areas were replaced last year by automated fee machines. The automated fee machines accept payments for corps yearly passes, but the passes must be acquired from the Operations Project Management Office or from recreation areas that have staff to issue the passes.
• As always, please remember to wear your life jackets when on the lake. Life jackets worn, nobody mourns.
For questions concerning Allatoona Lake or the recreation program, please contact the Allatoona Lake Operations Project Management Office at
678-721-6700, visit us on the web at https://tinyurl.com/wrq92rj or on Facebook at USACEAllatoonaLake.
– Christopher Purvis, the lead ranger at Lake Allatoona over Partnerships, Volunteers and Project Security. He has been a ranger on Allatoona Lake since 2005.