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Atlanta Hiking Trails

Atlanta might not have the peaks and ridges you’ll find several hours away in North Georgia. But that doesn’t mean the city lacks places to stomp your feet along a beaten path. Pack your trail mix, slap on some sunscreen, tie tight your bandana, and commune with nature on these ITP — that’s inside the Perimeter — wooded walks that are within the city limits. These hikes are short enough that you won’t have to search for a yurt or consider eating your trail buddy when your rations run out, but long enough to enjoy some time outdoors. - Thomas Wheatley

Atlanta: A Guide to Intown Hikes

Doll’s Head Trail is a part of Constitution Lakes Park. Photo by Joeff Davis
When venturing out onto Atlanta’s infamous Doll’s Head Trail, one of the first things you’ll encounter along the path is a discarded piece of granite-turned folk art, hand-painted with an inviting message: “I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than the trees.” It’s an unknown quote — one that’s often misattributed to Henry David Thoreau — but the transcendental message is no less poignant. Getting lost in the woods and communing with nature is an essential, therapeutic act when it comes to disconnecting from the bustle of city life and finding inner peace. Atlanta is teeming with hidden greenspaces — one of its many nicknames is “the City in a Forest.”

For decades, it’s been possible to drive along Ponce De Leon Avenue or Cheshire Bridge Road and see what looks to be nothing more than a small patch of trees between houses. Take a closer look, though, and it’s an entryway to acres of dense, untamed forest filled with living creatures, rare fauna, and history that dates back to Atlanta’s earliest beginnings.

The city still regularly reveals new places for nature excursions at nearly every turn. Not just city parks with manicured lawns, but unadulterated natural habitats where deer, snakes, muskrats, and the occasional red fox or box turtle are perfectly at home. That’s practically unheard of for a metropolitan area that’s home to more than six million people. Of course, the forces of development and gentrification are always closing in, but these pockets of natural wonder are an endlessly fascinating feature of the city, and worth getting to know. The following is a list of hiking spots and outdoor areas broken up by neighborhood. Personal picks are followed by other destinations in each area that are an easy day trip for anyone in the city to visit for a quick jog, or to pack a picnic and get away from the maddening crowd, if only for an afternoon. This is just a small portion of what the city has to offer.

- Chad Radford

ITP Hikes

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OTP Hikes

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Hikes Near Atlanta

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Additional content on the REI website:

ATL Outdoors
ATL Trails

State Parks
National Parks

Also see: Things to Do

Atlanta Trails - Creative Loafing