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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

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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

Trail

With the opening of the Northside Trail in April 2010, the neighborhoods around Collier Hills are now linked by a continuous mile-long trail. The updated trail traverses the Howard Property, “Cathedral Woods,” and Bobby Jones Golf Course, from Ardmore Park to Atlanta Memorial Park through Tanyard Cr... | more...

Park

Established in 1979 with city, state and federal funds, the 120-acre woodland and former Creek Indian settlement features steep inclines, a babbling creek, a waterfall, and is home to deer and more than 150 native plant species. It includes an old spring house where tourists once bathed and the rema... | more...

Park

Island Ford Park hosts three miles of hiking trails following the grand, wide-flowing Chattahoochee River in the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area north of Atlanta.

Visit Island Ford Park on atlantatrails.com to learn more.

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Park

The Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve is a privately owned and maintained 28-acre park that connects with Hahn Woods near Lullwater Preserve. The park boasts an extensive network of boardwalks and trails that lead past features such as a pollinator garden, Raccoon Rock, and Beaver Pond, which is freque... | more...

Park

It’s easy to forget that Constitution Lakes lies inside the Perimeter, considering how much wildlife thrives amid this 200-acre park located deep in Southeast Atlanta. The wetlands boardwalk offers a peaceful journey into a primitive Georgia landscape, where cedar waxwings, green herons, kingfishers... | more...

Park

Deepdene Park is the largest and easternmost stretch of the Olmsted Linear Parks on Ponce De Leon Avenue, situated between the city of Atlanta and Druid Hills. It’s a shining example of the kind of park you’ve driven by countless times but never noticed. From the street, there’s no way of knowing th... | more...

Trail

East Palisades Trail occupies an expanse of land in the region of Sandy Springs — well within the Perimeter — and the sheer diversity of the landscape is overwhelming. The park features trails of various difficulty levels through diverse terrain, but one should not miss the stunning bamboo forest fo... | more...

Park

This scenic neighborhood park features multiple play structures, shade trees, paths & picnic areas. | more...

Park

Located at the heart of Emory's campus, this park is free to the public during daylight hours. On warm days, the park is full of runners, families, and students trying to get out of the library. Be sure to check out the exterior of the Lullwater House, and go on less-traveled trails to see the Rapun... | more...

Park

The Lionel Hampton-Beecher Nature Preserve is yet another flourishing intown wildlife sanctuary featuring a variety of rugged dirt and paved trails frequented by hikers and mountain bikers alike. The whole area is a haven for wildlife. Deer, box turtles, pileated woodpeckers, and hawks roam the wood... | more...

Park

Formerly called the Wildwood Forest, it's a 31-acre woodland plot that was saved after citizens fought to protect the rare and pristine oasis in the city. The nearly mile-long trail is a pleasant trek for hikers and cyclists — and the suspension bridge spanning the South Fork of Peachtree Creek is w... | more...

Trail

Winding for approximately 1 mile through Tanyard Creek Park, the Northside Trail treats visitors to one of the most picturesque stretches of the Atlanta BeltLine. Offering a secluded feel that lets city life fade away, it serves as a connector for two previously existing trails. The Northside Trail ... | more...

Park

Perkerson Park is a lovely fixture of Southwest Atlanta’s Capital View neighborhood. At nearly 50 acres, it’s the largest greenspace in the area, complete with playground facilities, baseball fields, a tennis court, and an active disc golf course. What’s remarkable, though, is the patch of old-growt... | more...

Tourist Attractions

The 200-plus-acre park with tennis, walking trails, and a pond has been Atlanta's place to go on a Sunday afternoon since it was first purchased by the city in 1904. Piedmont Park added 13 acres in 2013 and unveiled a collection of new entrances. The add-on near the intersection of Piedmont Road and... | more...

Park

South Bend Park is a part of the Southtowne Path Trail which is a 2.7 mile trail in South Atlanta. Scenic river path. | more...

Park

The city has an ambitious vision for Bellwood Quarry. The 350-acre former mining site is now the Westside Reservoir Park. It is the city’s largest greenspace at almost double the size of Piedmont Park. In addition to a 45-acre reservoir, the park, is adjacent to the Beltline and Proctor Creek. Futur... | more...

ITP Trail Gear




OTP Hikes

Performing Arts Theater

Atlanta's avant-garde playhouse enjoys a sterling national and international reputation for the persistent stylistic daring and moral urgency of its work. The venue frequently hosts performance troupes such as Dad's Garage and Full Radius Dance. The intimate Back Stage space is home to smaller produ... | more...

Park

CL: Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area is a must-see destination come springtime if you are inclined to visit only one OTP spot. The mountain’s stunning geologic formations are home to five species of plant life that are listed on the state and federal endangered lists, including the bright red diamorpha plant, which lives and thrives in small pools of water. It’s an extremely rare, colorful, and very fragile ecosystem that at times feels like visiting another planet. Spiderwebbed with trails, this former quarry vividly demarcates the collision of nature and industry. Only 20 minutes away from the city, Arabia Mountain offers both a beautiful hike and over 400 years of history. The area is home to more than 12 miles of nature trails and 30 miles of paved bike paths along wooded areas and wetlands. The rich plant life, including the vibrant diamorpha bloom and at least five endangered plants, gives the rock an outerspace feel.
Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area is a must-see destination come springtime if you are inclined to visit only one OTP spot. The mountain’s stunning geologic formations are home to five species of plant life that are listed on the state and federal endangered lists, including the bright red diam... | more...

Trail

Most sections of the Bartram Trail in Georgia can be broken up into multiple day-hikes and it often parallels other shorter trails suited for day-trips as well: Rabun Bald Trail: (2.9 mi) at times arduous, but a rewarding hike due to the 360 degree views which can be enjoyed atop the mountain from a... | more...

Park

The Cochran Mill Park and Nature Center is a great place to take in some beautiful waterfalls and enjoy adventurous hiking. There are some kid-friendly sections of the trails, but the terrain is very wild, and leads to some of the least accessible hiking on this list. Putting in the extra effort is ... | more...

Trail

Cochran Shoals Trail at the Chattahoochee River is great for running, hiking, and mountain biking. Stroll along the wide riverside path, or explore the vast network of paths comprising the adjoining Sope Creek Trail that lead to an old family cemetery, Sibley Pond, and the Marietta Paper Mill. Wheth... | more...

Trail

A series of trails within the Kennesaw National Park. From 11 mile to


Battlefield Trail 11 Mile Loop
Cheatham Hill and Kolb Farm Loop Trail 5.8 Mile Loop
Environmental Trail 1.35 Miles
Kennesaw Mountain Trail 2.1 Miles

24 Gun Trail 3.5 Miles | more...

Trail

Powers Island Trail is a part of Powers Island is one of the most serene sections of the recreation area and less traffic than its popular neighbor, Interstate North, just across the Chattahoochee River. A narrow trail makes a 2.5-mile loop as it follows the riverbank, offers broad views of the Chat... | more...

Trail

The Sope Creek Trails at the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area are some of the most popular trails in Metro Atlanta for mountain biking, trail running and hiking. These trails were built and maintained by volunteers. | more...

Trail

South River Trail is a system of quiet, paved biking, running, and walking trails interspersed with paths into the woods. It’s a great intown wildlife spot and a true alternative to the Beltline. Ride your bike freely here throughout a varying terrain of trees and paved trails that can take you all ... | more...

Trail

The Stone Mountain Trail begins near Georgia Tech and runs thru Freedom Park continuously to Stone Mountain Park. The trail is 19 miles long with paths and bike lanes making this one of the most scenic ways to see Atlanta. | more...

Park

Sweetwater Creek State Park is a peaceful tract of wilderness only minutes from downtown Atlanta. A wooded trail follows the stream to the ruins of the New Manchester Manufacturing Company, a textile mill burned during the Civil War. Beyond the mill, the trail climbs rocky bluffs to provide views o... | more...

Trail

The Vickery Creek trail at Roswell Mill has some of the most picturesque views you can find on an intown hike. Nice waterfall, a covered bridge and access to other trails and hikes in the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area. | more...

Park

The Yellow River Park is tucked between Stone Mountain and Snellville in Gwinnett County. The park features a 3.2 mile hike next to Yellow River in a beautiful escape just outside of Atlanta. | more...

OTP Trail Gear


Hikes Near Atlanta

Park

Boundary Waters Park is a quick drive from Atlanta to Douglasville, Georgia. Just beyond the Boundary Waters Aquatic Center and frisbee golf course lies a 12-mile network of hiking, running, biking, and horseback riding trails nestled along the Chattahoochee River. The hilly terrain offers great opp... | more...

Park

Explore GA: Breathtaking views await! Located on the western edge of Lookout Mountain, this is one of the most scenic parks in the state, offering rugged geology and beautiful vistas. The park straddles a deep gorge cut into the mountain by Sitton Gulch Creek, and elevation differs from 800 to 1,980... | more...

Park

The 37,000 acre Cohutta Wilderness contains 90 miles of hiking and backpacking trails, two of which follow the Jacks and Conasauga Rivers. Trailhead parking lots located around the wilderness perimeter provide foot access to the trails. Three Forks, Betty Gap, Chestnut Lead and Tearbritches Trail... | more...

Park

At 9,049 acres, Georgia’s largest state park is a hiker’s and backpacker’s haven. More than 40 miles of trails, including the popular 23 mile Pine Mountain Trail, wind through hardwood and pines, over creeks and past small waterfalls. Many visitors are surprised to find rolling mountains 80 miles so... | more...

Trail

The five-mile trek through the foothills of North Georgia is just the beginning of a unique experience. A friendly face, a welcoming smile, a warm meal and a soft bed all greet you at trail’s end. Everyone comes to the Hike Inn for different reasons. Some come to spend time with nature. Some come to... | more...

Trail

There are two loops connecting Pine Mountain - the East Loop and the West Loop. This is a rugged and challenging hike that reaches 1,562 feet above sea level. Once you reach the top of this mountain you will be at the highest point in the City of Cartersville. This land is part of 13,000 acres that ... | more...

Park

Georgia’s “Little Grand Canyon” is a testament to the power of man’s influence on the land. Massive gullies as deep as 150 feet were caused simply by poor farming practices during the 1800s, yet today they make some of the prettiest photographs within the state. The rare Plumleaf Azalea grows only i... | more...

Park

This popular park on Lake Allatoona is ideal for swimming, water skiing and fishing. Visitors can bring their own boats or rent from nearby marinas. A sand swimming beach is nestled in a cove and surrounded by trees, providing a great place to cool off during summer. Picnic shelters and group shelte... | more...

Park

The Indian Seats Trail is located within the Sawnee Mountain Preserve in Cumming. The preserve is rich with hiking trails and has a visitor center. The Indian Seats are a natural rock formation with expansive views of the Blue Ridge mountains. | more...

Park

One of Georgia’s oldest and most beloved state parks, Vogel is located at the base of Blood Mountain in the Chattahoochee National Forest. Driving from the south, visitors pass through Neel Gap, a beautiful mountain pass near Brasstown Bald, the highest point in Georgia. Vogel is particularly popula... | more...


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