The whole trail only takes 1 mile to complete and this trail is also officially known as the Sweetwater Historic Trail. The pathway to this trail follows the Sweetwater Creek to one of the historic cotton mills in Atlanta known as the Manchester Mills. The mill used to manufacture clothing for the Confederates until General Sherman ordered to burn the mill and the rest of the surrounding buildings in the area on July 8, 1864.
Along the path this trail joins the Sweetwater Blue Non-game Wildlife Trail as both trails proceed towards the overlook at the Sweetwater Creek. The sets of cascades coming from the Sweetwater Falls can be seen at this the Brevard Fault Line section from the observation deck. Interestingly, the initial 0.5 mile on this trail is also known as the Factory Ruins Trail. The start of the trail is at the parking area. Move towards the Visitors Center where you will pass by some rest rooms and approach a bulletin board where a brown trail marker signifies the start of the journey.
From here on, the pathway is easy as it initially moves down to the historic Manchester Mills. Walk down a staircase as the treadway proceeds to the Sweetwater Creek. This section is also the Chattahoochee River’s tributary. The footpath then approaches near the river and then meanders right towards the Manchester Mill’s ruins. The left path on this trail joins the Sweetwater Yellow Trail which is also known as the Army Bridge-Eastside Trail. At the Yellow Trail, you will find a bridge and the remnants of an old grist mill.
From the ruins, the path slopes down gently onto a scenery of a hardwood forest where oak and beech trees are mostly evident. At this historic point on Manchester Mills, the Sweetwater Red Trail meets up with the Sweetwater Blue Trail where there are some resting benches for you to briefly enjoy the ruins. From a junction, the Sweetwater Blue Trail splits to the right while the Sweetwater White Trail meanders to the left that proceeds down onto a series of wooden steps which end at the creek’s shore.
At this point, the trail moves ahead onto a compacted dirt path where it finally gives you a stunning view of the cascades. From here you will see the 15 high Sweetwater Falls as its water cascades downstream. The end of the Sweetwater Red Historic Trail is at its junction with the Sweetwater Blue Trail up on a wooden observation deck overlooking the Sweetwater Creek.