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Trail Description Continued


Built in 2009 and completed in 2012, Harbins Park is a 1853 acre park featuring something for the entire family. From 24.5 miles of trails, off-leash dog park, 3 separate playgrounds, 2 pavilions and a multipurpose football/lacrosse/soccer field and 7 field baseball complex this park has it all.

Harbins Park offers both multi-use paved trails and soft surface nature trails. The asphalt-paved, twelve-foot wide multi-use trail is accessible from several parking areas. Trails are routed to deliberately bring users to locations on the park property that exhibit cultural and/or natural history resource features. These elements are maintained and highlighted with interpretive signage to educate visitors about the region’s unique heritage. The mountain bike and equestrian trails offer a series of natural surface travel paths that network for pedestrian use throughout the park and offer access to a variety of park areas.

Harbins Park is located along the eastern edges of Gwinnett County and Walton County borders in the Upper Piedmont of Georgia. The site has a history of farming practices and is now primarily successional forest with concentrations of pine stands, mature hardwoods, wetlands and granite outcrops. Mature specimen trees and a greater diversity of native understory shrub layers and ground cover occur in stream corridor ravines that were spared from clearing during agricultural occupation. Trail users will find themselves immersed within vegetation types that incluyde: oak-hickory forest, pine forest, bluff slope ravine forest, bottomland/floodplain forest, and various successional forest systems. The entire Harbins Park Site is a complex landform, generally within the watershed of Cedar Creek and its un-named tributaries, with a portion of the southwest of the tract associated with the Alcovy River.

The botanical richness of Harbins Park makes it a favorite of flower lovers. Large Sweetbay Magnolia, uncommon in Gwinnett County, are noted along the Cedar Creek watershed in association with the creek. Picturesque Cedar Glades, clusters of mature Red Cedar,are found near many of the rock outcrops, in association with a thick growth of moss and lichen.

Hikers can find interesting understory vegetation including small clusters of mountain laurel (kalmia latifolia) on the steep banks to the south of the Alcovy River. Along the lower slopes north of the Alcovy River are attractive concentrations of American Holly (ilex opaca). Along moist, mature hardwood banks are pleasing concentrations of Red Buckeye (aesculus pavia). Ephemeral plants are those herbaceous plants that emerge in the spring to flower, before they fade away in the summer or fall. Several species can be found including Ginger, Bellwort, Violet (several varieties), Jack-in-the-Pulpit; Trillium, Bloodroot, and Yellowroot. Near Flat Rock outcrop site, clusters of Fire Pink (silene) provide intense red color in the heat of summer.

A second category of rare plant community is associated with the granite outcrops. Of particular
importance are large granite outcrops associated with vernal springs on both banks of the Alcovy River. Here we find dense carpets of highly varied mosses and lichens together with associated plants such as Orpine, Sedge, Sedum, Prickly Pear Cactus, and Adams Needle (yucca). These plant communities are very fragile as they subsist on a thin film of seasonally moist organic matter directly on a rock substrate. Shallow pools of water accumulate in pockets and further increase the plant diversity.

Geologically speaking trail users will find the Harbins Park possesses numerous locations where flowing creek water courses over rock ledges and boulders. Waterfall height seldom exceeds three or four feet, but the sound is pleasing. The most dramatic water feature is the “white-water” cascade on Cedar Creek, locally known as ”Flat Rock”. This cascade
is located just north of the Walton County park border. There are a total of 6 small waterfalls or
cascades within the 1184-acre conservation park boundary alone.

 

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This website provides access to the National Recreation Trail (NRT) database, a collection of information on the various trails which have been designated as NRT's. These trails are located throughout the United States and U.S. territories. The amount of information may vary from trail to trail. If you need more information than is available on this site, please use the contact(s) listed for that trail. (If no contacts, are listed, you may request help from American Trails at trailhead@americantrails.org)

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