The county seat of Whitfield Country is Dalton, located in the north-central part of Georgia at the state’s Tennessee border.
Dalton, like many other cities in the southeast United States, developed around a railroad depot in the first half the 18th century.
This was in response to the removal of Cherokee and Creek native Americans, who had previously occupied the land.
Dalton was forced to go through two battles in the American Civil War. It is now recognized as having the most civil war artifacts in the country. This adds to its natural and cultural attractions.
These are the top 15 things to do around Dalton, Georgia.
1. Depot for the Western and Atlantic Railroad
This railway station was built in 1852 and dates back to Dalton’s early years. It is the oldest commercial building in the city and was constructed using elements of the Greek Revival style architecture.
This depot was involved in the Unionist raid, known as the Great Locomotive Chase, which took place during the American Civil War.
A nearby freight depot was built for Southern Railway Company. It houses the city’s visitor center, which explains the history of the railways and civil wars.
A Pullman car, dating back to 1949, is also available for fans.
2. Creative Arts Guild
The Creative Arts Guild is considered the oldest arts organization in Georgia. It hosts regular art exhibits at its gallery space.
The garden is home to a variety of sculptures by local and regional artists. It showcases the best of contemporary art.
Jonas Hall is part of the guild’s collection of spaces and hosts regular concerts and musical performances. A gym with vaults and parallel bars is available for classes as well as parkour (free running) events.
It’s worth taking the time to check out what activities are being held at Dalton guild, even if you only have a short visit.
3. Dug Gap Battle Park
One of Dalton’s civil-war relics is this Battle Park on Dug Gap Mountain. The natural setting of this park is a stark reminder of the devastation caused by the war.
It is the site of a major battle and contains the remains of breastworks that soldiers built during the Union push to Atlanta to the south.
The ridge at Dug Gap Battle Park, overlooking Dalton’s western edge, was used as a defensive position, which was able only to stop Unionist forces with a few hundred men.
Visitors can see the walls built as part of the defenses and enjoy spectacular views of this area of north Georgia when they reach the ridge.
4. Raisin Woods Mountain Bike Trail
The Raisin Woods Mountain Bike Trail is a great alternative to getting out into the great outdoors. It’s located just a short distance away from downtown Dalton.
There are seven courses that cater to mountain bikers of every age and ability. There’s a three-kilometre trail called the bear, which is for beginners. Intermediate riders will find three different courses.
Three additional trails are available for advanced mountain bikers. They are all well-marked and wind their way through the woods and hills of the area.
The trail is open to both mountain bikers and hikers.
5. Hamilton House Hamilton House
Hamilton House is a brick home that looks great with its Greek Revivalist portico. It was built around 1841.
It is Dalton’s oldest residence and is currently occupied by a local museum.
It has displays that detail the effects of civil war on new settlements. There are also exhibits about the city’s carpet industry which started with one Dalton lady making bedsheets by hand.
Visitors can also learn about the history of the area’s native Americans and the works by Robert Loveman (a Dalton-educated poet).
His poem April Rain is well known in the US. Another of his poems was set to music and became the Georgia state song up until 1979.
6. Dalton Falls Fun Center
Dalton Falls Fun Center is a great place to find light entertainment.
You’ll find a wide range of activities here, including a miniature golf course with 27 holes and a waterfall.
The centre has bumper cars for both children and adults, as well as an outdoor laser tag field.
You can also enjoy the hand-dipped icecreams available onsite if all of this activity makes you hungry.
7. George W. Disney Trail
The George W Disney Trail, another relic of Dalton’s participation in the American Civil War is a walking trail that takes you up Rocky Face Mountain.
The first battle of Atlanta Campaign took place between 8-10 May 1864. The trail ends at George Disney’s grave, a soldier in the southern confederate armies.
Nearly lost, the gravesite’s location was accidentally rediscovered in 1912 by local boy scouts. The marble stone you see today was then installed.
Although the trail is just under four kilometers long, the steepness and elevation of the terrain can make the hike feel longer, especially in high summer heat.
8. Blunt House
Blunt House’s elegant, clean exterior is fitting tribute to one of Dalton’s oldest homes.
It was built in 1840s and was home to Ainsworth Emery Blent, who was also the first mayor of the city.
It was used as a hospital in the field for the Unionist Army during civil war. Confederate forces occupied it until the Blunts were allowed to return.
Blunt House was home to the family from 1978 to 1978. Today, the museum has been carefully converted.
The rooms showcase many of the family’s original furniture and personal items.
9. Dalton Ghost Tours
The history of Dalton is not contained within its museums or attractive historical structures. Dalton Ghost Tours are proof of this.
These walking tours last for 90 minutes and aim to reveal some of the most unusual stories about the city.
The expert guide will take you through stories of ghostly appearances throughout the city, starting in downtown Dalton.
The company hosts regular haunted pub crawls for those who prefer spirits that are both drinkable and can walk through walls.
10. Conasauga River
The Conasauga River runs roughly 150 kms through the northern part of Georgia. It is home to approximately 90 species of fish.
It is a remote and unspoiled area that can be reached by car or on foot via numerous hiking trails.
The area is home to rainbow trout and other fish, as well as a natural habitat for everything from white-tailed deer and black bears.
Two canoe ramps allow you to explore the region on the water. This adds another dimension to your explorations.
You can find the nearest launch at Dalton Utilities Canoe Launch just a few kilometers from downtown Dalton.
11. Dalton Distillery
The small-scale distillery was started as a hobby by the family. It is still a family affair.
Many of the spirits here are made from sunflower seeds, unlike most distilleries that use grains.
Dalton Distillery drinks have a clean taste profile and a slight hint of nuts.
It all started with a corn whiskey recipe, which dates back to five generations. Dalton Distillery, the only one of its kind, mills its own seeds and grains, and purchases them from Georgia farmers.
You can also try a variety of their spirits by heading to this location.
12. Prater’s Mill Historic Site
Two reasons are there to visit Prater’s Historic Mill. First, you can visit the gristmill built in 1855 along the banks of Coahulla Creek.
The other is because it stands as the trail head for the Cohutta-Chattahoochee Scenic Byway, a driving route approximately 80 kilometres long.
People who love fishing and angling have made the mill site their favorite spot for picnicking in beautiful scenery.
Prater’s Mill Historic Park is located approximately 20 minutes north from downtown Dalton via road.
13. Hunter Museum of American Art
The Hunter Museum of American Art, located in Chattanooga (Tennessee), is approximately 50 km northwest of Dalton.
The collection focuses on American artistic styles including the Hudson River School of the nineteenth century and early modernism in the first decade of the twenty-first century.
It is located in three buildings that display very different architectural styles. The works on the walls range from Robert Henri’s traditional portraits to Thomas Hart Benton’s almost Dali-like paintings.
You will also find a large collection of sculptures at the museum, including Alexander Calder’s “Pregnant Whale” that is sure to bring a smile on your face.
14. Haig Mill Lake Park
Dalton seems to have a lot of beautiful outdoor spaces. However, we couldn’t list the best 15 things to do in Dalton without Haig Mill Lake Park.
The park’s lake is the focal point, reflecting the landscape of leaves. It has over eight kilometres worth of designated walking trails.
You are welcome to fish in the lake’s waters. Paddlers can rent kayaks or canoes to take advantage of the smooth stretch of water.
15. Driving tours
There are several driving tours that can be done in Dalton if you’re going on a road trip to the USA.
The Old Federal Road Driving Tour was named after the first road in northwest Georgia that is suitable for vehicles.
It was a route that became closely linked to many of Georgia’s most significant events, such as the Trail of Tears forced eviction of Native Americans and the Civil War Battles of the Atlanta Campaign.
The Blue and Gray Trail, which runs from Chattanooga to Atlanta, connects many of the major locations, museums and battlefield sites in the Atlanta Campaign.