Just outside the City of Ball Ground is the McGraw Ford Wildlife Management Area, located on the Etowah River. The 2,255-acre state-managed property has equestrian, hiking and off-road biking trails, as well as opportunities for river fishing and hunting for deer, bear, turkey, small game, dove, and waterfowl. Trails are closed before 10 a.m. during deer, bear, and turkey seasons.
Perhaps where Ball Ground really shines is in its gardens. On the grounds of City Hall is Ball Ground Botanical Gardens, three-quarters of an acre featuring flowers, plants, trees, and shrubs – hundreds of plants blooming from spring until fall. The garden includes a Native Garden, Daylily Walk, Children’s Garden, Bog Garden, Japanese Garden, and a Butterfly Garden that is on the Rosalynn Carter Butterfly Trail.
Ball Ground’s claim to fame really belongs to the 292-acre Gibbs Gardens, one of the nation’s largest residential estate gardens. Gibbs Gardens includes 24 ponds, a beautiful stream that flows through the middle of the valley, 32 bridge crossings, 19 waterfalls, and 16 garden rooms planted with hundreds of varieties of plants and carved into pockets surrounded by acres of deciduous trees that provide spectacular fall color. There is something beautiful to see practically any time of year, from more than 20 million daffodils in spring to 140 varieties of water lilies from spring to fall. It’s easy to spend a half day or more amongst the splendor of these artistically designed gardens.