Top 20 Hiking, Biking, and Walking Trails in Atlanta

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    Top 20 Hiking, Biking and Walking Trails in Atlanta

    ••• SweetWater Creek State Park. Photo courtesy of gafollowers.com.

    Living in Atlanta has its perks. Not only is the city filled with a diverse lineup of nationally recognized tourist attractions, but there are also 18 Fortune 500 companies that choose to call our city home, plus 12 James Beard semi-finalist chefs in 2014 alone, and dozens of micro-neighborhoods chock full of charm and community. With Atlanta’s status as a thriving, energetic place to be growing each year, dozens of hiking, biking, and walking trails are providing urban residents with a beautiful nature escape. Thanks in large part to the PATH Foundation, easy-to-use trails that showcase Atlanta’s Southern history are connecting the city’s communities like never before. Click through the slideshow to see 20 of the best hiking, biking and walking trails in and around Atlanta (every trail on the list is within a 1-hour drive of the city, making it even easier to explore the great outdoors!).

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    Atlanta BeltLine Trails

    ••• Photo courtesy of Atlanta BeltLine.

    Location:

    • Northside Trail: Golfview Rd NW, Atlanta, GA 30309
    • Eastside Trail Extension: Begins in Piedmont Park.

    Distance from Atlanta: In-town.

    Overview: Using 22 miles of unused railroad tracks to connect the city, the Atlanta BeltLine has five trails that take runners, walkers, and bikers on an unlikely scenic tour throughout the city they thought they knew. The Northside Trail takes pedestrians through Tanyard Creek Park (located in the Buckhead area of Atlanta) for a more secluded, nature-filled space within the city. The trail is reasonably level and isn’t intersected by any roads or train crossings. In contrast, the Eastside Trail’s Northern Hiking Extension begins in Atlanta’s picturesque Piedmont Park. It is an exposed trail along the belt line with unmatchable views of the Atlanta skyline throughout. Both trails feature murals and sculptures from local Atlanta artists for you to appreciate on your walk or run. There are three other Beltline Trails, including the Southwest...MORE Connector Spur Trail, West End Trail, and the Interim Hiking Trails. You can view more information on trailhead locations, trail features and path distances on these BeltLine trails here.

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    PATH 400 Trail

    ••• Photo courtesy of BuckheadView.

    PATH 400 Trail

    Location: between Lenox Road near Piedmont Road to Old Ivy Road

    Distance from Atlanta: In-town.

    Overview: As an in-progress trail connecting the various greenways throughout Buckhead, PATH 400 is the project of the PATH Foundation, Livable Buckhead, Buckhead CID and the Georgia Department of Transportation. When complete, the 5.2-mile trail will provide runners and walkers alike with an easy outdoor access to Buckhead’s many neighborhoods, school and commercial properties along with connecting to the Atlanta BeltLine. The trail is expected to be completed in early 2017 and will have natural, residential, commercial and industrial corridors for trail users to experience on their walks. 

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    Cheshire Farm Trail

    ••• Photo courtesy of BuckheadView.

    Cheshire Farm Trail

    Location: 860 Lindbergh Dr NE, Atlanta, GA 30324

    Distance from Atlanta: In-town.

    Overview: At one-mile round trip, Cheshire Farm Trail is somewhat short, but it embraces the sounds and feeling of Atlanta in a way unlike other in-town trails. The rolling mix of gravel and pavement is located alongside Interstate 85, which, unfortunately, often times drowns out the sounds of the creek it follows. Cheshire Farm Trail is still being developed; there are currently more proposed trails, which if approved, will connect Cheshire Farm Trail to the nearby Morningside Nature Preserve, Atlanta BeltLine, Emory University and Piedmont Park. 

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    Constitution Lakes Park

    ••• Photo courtesy of History Atlanta.

    Location: 1305 South River Industrial Blvd SE, Atlanta, GA 30316

    Distance from Atlanta: In-town.

    Overview: Formerly home to The South River Brick Company, Constitution Lakes Park is a new 125-acre development of green space and wetlands in DeKalb County. Although the lakes were once the excavation pits for the brick company, the park is unique in its abundance of scenic marshland right inside the perimeter. The park is also well known for its distinctive Doll’s Head Trail, where the muddy terrain of the path is decorated with trash, litter and doll heads created by the trail’s visitors. 

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    Nancy Creek Trail

    ••• Photo courtesy of PATH Foundation.

    Nancy Creek Trail

    Location: 551 West Nancy Creek Drive Northeast, Atlanta, GA

    Distance from Atlanta: In-town.

    Overview: Brookhaven’s Nancy Creek Trail connects Murphy-Candler Park and Blackburn Park with three miles of paved path. The trail is level throughout and easy for beginner runners or those looking for a longer walking path. Acting as alternative transportation to locations within the Brookhaven community, the path gives you easy on-foot access to the Dunwoody YMCA, Marist School, and Blackburn Park’s recreation facilities. 

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    Herbert Taylor Park and Johnson Nature Preserve

    ••• Photo courtesy of The Road Unleashed.

    Herbert Taylor Park and Johnson Nature Preserve

    Location: 1372 Beech Valley Rd NE, Atlanta, GA 30306

    Distance from Atlanta: In-town.

    Overview: This one-mile trail that loops around the 30-acres of Herbert Taylor Park and Johnson Creek Nature Preserve is an easy trail located in the Morningside-Lenox neighborhood. With its generally flat dirt trail along Peachtree Creek, Herbart Taylor Park is the perfect escape from the city without having to drive outside of it. If you want to take on more mileage, the Morningside Nature Preserve is located on the southern end of Peachtree Creek. It has over 30 miles of hiking and walking trails just off of Lenox Road.

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    East Palisades Trail

    ••• Photo courtesy of SandySpringsGA.org.

    Location: Whitewater Creek Rd NW, Atlanta, GA 30327

    Distance from Atlanta: In-town.

    Overview: Just along Atlanta’s most-loved views of the Chattahoochee River, the East Palisades Trail is an easy-to-moderate trek where you’ll get to enjoy the refreshing sounds of the river’s class one and two whitewater rapids. The 3.4-mile path follows the Chattahoochee upstream and takes you through a dense area of bamboo forest unique to the East Palisades Trail. You’re welcome to bring along your four-legged friends as long as they’re on a leash. 

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    Silver Comet Trail

    ••• Photo courtesy of PATH Foundation.

    Silver Comet Trail

    Location: 4573 Mavell Rd, Smyrna, GA 30008

    Distance from Atlanta: About 22 minutes (14.2 miles).

    Overview: Beginning at the Mavell Road Trailhead in Smyrna, the Silver Comet Trail spans 61.5 miles – all the way to the Georgia-Alabama state line. Throughout Cobb, Paulding and Polk counties, there are various paths perfect for advanced hikers, bicyclists, dog-walkers and everyone in-between. The trail is paved and not open to motorists of any kind, keeping the path quiet, serene and free from the city’s typical hustle and bustle. Visit the Silver Comet website to determine which trailhead is most convenient for you to begin your walk and check the PATH Foundation website to view the amenities available at the different trailheads and paths.

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    Sope Creek Park Trail

    ••• Photo courtesy of npplan.com.

    Location: 3760 Paper Mill Rd SE, Marietta, GA 30067

    Distance from Atlanta: About 20 minutes (18.1 miles).

    Overview: As part of the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, Sope Creek Park has over three miles of hiking, biking and walking trails for those looking to enjoy the abundant nature surrounding the city of Atlanta. The park’s main trail is an easy, 1.5-mile path along the eastern side of the park. You’ll see a 19th-century paper mill used for printing Confederate currency during the Civil War. The trail ends along the charming banks of Sibley Pond, which is perfect for taking a snack-break before heading back to the trailhead.

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    SweetWater Creek State Park Trails

    ••• Photo courtesy of gafollowers.com.

    SweetWater Creek State Park Trails

    Location: 1750 Mt Vernon Rd, Lithia Springs, GA 30122

    Distance from Atlanta: About 25 minutes (18.8 miles).

    Overview: Sweetwater Creek State Park,​ the namesake of Atlanta’s own SweetWater Brewing Company, is filled with more than seven miles of Atlanta’s most picturesque trails. The most traveled route, the Red Trail, takes you through dense greenery along a rushing creek to the Civil War-era ruins of the New Manchester Mill. The trails at Sweetwater Creek are moderately difficult, so gauge your skill level before taking off on the trail and bring plenty of water during the summer months. 

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    Arabia Mountain Trails

    ••• Photo courtesy of Arabia Alliance.

    Arabia Mountain Trails

    Location: 3787 Klondike Rd, Lithonia, GA 30038

    Distance from Atlanta: About 25 minutes (20.6 miles).

    Overview: With one of the most extensive walking, hiking and biking trail networks within a 30-minute drive of the city, Arabia Mountain is a popular destination for those looking for a quick escape from Atlanta’s urban cityscape. Whether you want a long, picturesque trek on the 5.1-mile Arabia Lake, Boardwalk, and Summit Trail or want to bike along the paved Arabia Mountain PATH trail with your family, there is something for all ages and skill levels at Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area. These walking and hiking trails are all a part of the Davidson-Arabia Mountain Nature Preserve and can be accessed from the Arabia Mountain PATH trail.

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    Vickery Creek Trail at the Roswell Mill

    ••• Photo courtesy of GA USGS.

    Vickery Creek Trail at the Roswell Mill

    Location: 85 Mill St Roswell, GA 30075

    Distance from Atlanta: About 26 minutes (21.8 miles).

    Overview: Explore the greenery surrounding the ruins of the two Roswell Manufacturing Co. mills. Running along Vickery Creek, three miles of easy, family-friendly trails provide hikers with rolling hills, covered bridges and up-close views of the Historic Vickery Creek dam, which used to power the mill located on the river. Next to the dam, there are plenty of large rocks where you can bring a blanket and listen to the waterfall while you relax and enjoy a picnic with your family. Old mill parts can be viewed throughout the path, as they are the only remnants of the mill other than the machine shop at the trail entrance. 

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    Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park

    ••• Photo courtesy of Atlanta Outdoor Club.

    Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park

    Location: 900 Kennesaw Mountain Dr, Kennesaw, GA 30188

    Distance from Atlanta: About 26 minutes (23.6 miles).

    Overview: The 11-mile loop around Kennesaw Mountain takes you along the path of former Civil War soldiers up to the summit with clear, picturesque views of Atlanta’s skyline. The climb to the top is very steep, so the trail is will be somewhat difficult for beginner hikers, but this metro Atlanta hike is incredibly rich with history. You’ll get to visit Cheathum Hill—the site of the bloodiest Kennesaw Mountain battle. If you want to experience the sights at the summit but aren’t sure if you can make the walk, the road to the top is usually open for vehicle traffic.

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    South River Trail

    ••• Photo courtesy of PATH Foundation.

    South River Trail

    Location: 3909 E Fairview Rd, Stockbridge, GA 30281

    Distance from Atlanta: About 33 minutes (25.1 miles).

    Overview: The South River Trail in Rockdale County is a new green space project that, when complete, will boast a 13-mile paved trail and connect to Atlanta BeltLine near Boulevard Crossing and other local trails of similar distances. The Panola Mountain and South Rockdale Community Park trailheads are complete and open for the public to use. Multiple boardwalks allow trail users to experience the wetlands in DeKalb County and learn more about their local environmental culture. You can keep up with the trail’s completion on the PATH Foundation website and the Rockdale County website

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    Stone Mountain Park Trails

    ••• Photo courtesy of Stone Mountain Park.

    Stone Mountain Park Trails

    Location: 1000 Robert E Lee Blvd, Stone Mountain, GA 30083

    Distance from Atlanta: About 27 minutes (25.5 miles).

    Overview: Stone Mountain Park is one of Atlanta’s most iconic destinations for locals and tourists alike. Before settling down on the lawn for the Lasershow Spectacular, spend some time along one of the park’s six hiking, walking and biking trails. Want to see some of the best views of the Atlanta Skyline? Make your way to the top of the mountain on the one-mile Walk-up Trail. Some areas will be steep, but the sights at the summit are worth the journey. If you want to enjoy a more expansive walking tour of the park, hike along the five-mile Cherokee Trail. As you pass through rich forest, you’ll get great views of the mountain along the way.

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    Alpharetta Big Creek Greenway Trail

    ••• Photo courtesy of Pondco.com.

    Alpharetta Big Creek Greenway Trail

    Location: There are various access points throughout Alpharetta.

    Distance from Atlanta: About 28 minutes (26 miles).

    Overview: This paved trail spans eight miles throughout Alpharetta and helps to protect the ample wetland located between Haynes Bridge Road and Mansell Road. The Big Creek Greenway known for its animal population—expect to see Canadian geese, deer, and ducks. This is the first major green space project for Alpharetta, but it won’t be the last. It is part of a plan to create more natural habitats for animals to use, plants to thrive in and people to appreciate.

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    Ivy Creek Greenway Trail at George Pierce Park

    ••• Photo courtesy of Gwinnett Park Life.

    Ivy Creek Greenway Trail at George Pierce Park

    Location: 55 Buford Hwy NE Suwanee, GA 30024

    Distance from Atlanta: About 37 minutes (34 miles).

    Overview: Although the Ivy Creek Greenway is only 2.5 miles long, it connects to the three-mile Suwanee Greenway, providing you with nearly 10 miles of paved and board-walked running trails throughout the suburb’s unique combination of forestry and marshland. Whether you’re training for a half-marathon or taking a leisurely nature walk, the trail will suit any skill-level with its fairly level pavement throughout. There is a water fountain at the beginning of the trailhead for you to fill your water bottle pre or post-run. 

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    Iron Hill Trail at Red Top Mountain

    ••• Photo courtesy of Atlanta Outdoor Club.

    Iron Hill Trail at Red Top Mountain

    Location: 50 Lodge Rd SE, Cartersville, GA 30121

    Distance from Atlanta: About 40 minutes (36.5 miles).

    Overview: With its wide, level path, the 3.8-mile trail alongside Lake Allatoona was primarily intended for bikers. Though cyclists are the main users of the trail, it’s also extremely hiker-friendly. Not only are the lake views exceptional for a morning walk with your dog, but there are multiple picnic tables located along the tail with fire pits perfect for a small cookout. The gate for Iron Hill Trail is closed at dark, so make sure you allow yourself enough time to leave the trail before dusk arrives.

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    Indian Seats Trail at Sawnee Mountain Preserve

    ••• Photo courtesy of 365 Atlanta Family.

    Indian Seats Trail at Sawnee Mountain Preserve

    Location: 4075 Spot Rd, Cumming, GA 30040

    Distance from Atlanta: About 47 minutes (46.4 miles).

    Overview: Don’t miss out on a striking view of the Blue Ridge Mountains from the Indian Seats Trail. This four-mile trail takes you on a moderately difficult hike around Sawnee Mountain. Along with the beauty you’ll admire when you reach the Sawnee Mountain summit, you’ll come across the gated entrance to a once-thriving gold mine from the 1800s. Note: Dogs aren’t allowed in the Sawnee Mountain Preserve.

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    Pine Mountain Trail

    ••• Photo courtesy of Pine Mountain.

    Pine Mountain Trail

    Location: 100 Komatsu Dr SE, Cartersville, GA 30121

    Distance from Atlanta: About39 minutes (41.2 miles).

    Overview: The 4.5-mile loop along Pine Mountain gives hikers the combination of beauty and challenge with the rugged terrain of this moderately difficult path; reaching the Pine Mountain summit requires completing a 657-foot climb. Mountain Bikers are allowed on the East Loop Trail on Wednesdays and Saturdays, however, you must wear a helmet and follow certain paths along the trail.

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    Other Great Georgia Trails

    ••• Providence Canyon State Park Trails. Photo courtesy of Visit Columbus GA.

    Although there are plenty of great nature escapes within an hour’s drive of the Atlanta perimeter (and even right in the city center!), there are also a handful of stunning trails around the state so beautiful that are worth the extra time in the car to get to. To help you explore more of Georgia’s nature opportunities, we’ve listed some of the best hiking, biking and walking trails more than an hour outside of Atlanta.

    1. Hike Inn Trail at Amicalola Falls
      • Location: 240 Amicalola Falls State Park Rd, Dawsonville, GA 30534
      • Distance from Atlanta: About 1 hour and 16 minutes (70.1 miles).
    2. Providence Canyon State Park Trails
      • Location: 8930 Canyon Rd, Lumpkin, GA 31815
      • Distance from Atlanta: About 2 hours and 30 minutes (148 miles).
    3. Cloudland Canyon State Park Trails
      • Location: 122 Cloudland Canyon Park Rd, Rising Fawn, GA 30738
      • Distance from Atlanta: About 2 hours (121 miles).
    4. Arkaquah Trail at Brasstown Bald