November 17, 2017 is National Take a Hike Day! Check out these places in the Metro Atlanta / North GA area. Get out there and enjoy this great fall weather!
South Peachtree Creek Trail
-- North Dekalb / Emory -- 1 mile -- Easy
Even though this trail isn’t very long, what makes it interesting is the different elevations as it zigzags between Mason Mills Park and Medlock Park in Decatur. The raised wooden path sashays through the tall trees and makes its way over bubbling creeks.
Roswell Riverwalk Trail System -- Roswell -- 8 miles -- Easy
One of my favorite trails (maybe because it’s close to my home), the Riverwalk winds along the Chattahoochee on dedicated paved trails, perfect for anyone who wants to walk, run, ride, or skate. The scenery is unbeatable as the wide paths dip onto the riverbanks and swerve through the woods. Watch out for local wildlife darting in front of you!
Fort Mountain Trail -- Chatsworth / Elijay -- 1.5 miles -- Moderate
If you want to check out some fantastic fall foliage, this is one trail that you can’t miss! From the observation deck on a peak to the winding trails through the forest, there is no part of this trail that you won’t enjoy. You can even check out the 4-story forest fire overlook and take a cool selfie out front. For the truly adventurous, rent a horse for the afternoon and ride!
Take a Hike – On a Bike
Silver Comet Trail -- Smyrna to Cedartown -- 61.5 miles -- Easy
The Silver Comet Trail is undoubtedly one of the best biking trails in Georgia for cyclists of all abilities. The paved path runs from Smyrna to the Alabama border in a westerly fashion. What is so wonderful is it also works perfectly for wheelchairs, horses, and roller-bladers so who knows what kind of wheels (or hooves) you may see. Sprinkled with plenty of rest stops, bathrooms, water stations, and even showers, you can even camp along the trail in specified spots!
Stone Mountain PATH -- Atlanta – Stone Mountain -- 19 miles -- Easy
Hop on your bike at Centennial Olympic park and pedal through (mostly) dedicated bike trails through Atlanta. You can visit such sites as MLK Center, Fernbank, and Stone Mountain Village along the way.
Big Creek Greenway -- Roswell – Cumming -- 20 miles -- Easy
Although this trail can be utilized for hikers, it is dominated by cyclists due to its paved access and length. It runs near Northpoint Mall and up through Alpharetta with several restrooms and parks along the way. The northern section is particularly beautiful as it passes through a heavily forested area making you feel as if you are miles away from civilization.
Take a Hike – Explore Waterfalls
Cascade Springs Nature Preserve -- Atlanta -- 1.9 miles -- Easy
Believe it or not, there’s a beautiful park with waterfalls inside the City of Atlanta. The 120-acre park is home to many springs and streams, culminating in a gorgeous waterfall where you might get lucky and see local wildlife sneaking a drink.
Amicalola Falls Loop Trail -- Dawsonville -- 2.1 miles -- Difficult
Easily one of most beautiful waterfalls in Georgia, Amicalola Falls provides breathtaking views of the 730 ft., cascading waterfall. Although it’s lovely any time of year, you have to visit during the Fall to catch the stunning display of reds, yellow, and oranges framing the falls.
Tallulah Falls -- Tallulah Falls -- 2 – 3.4 miles -- Varying
There are 3 main trails at this park and while all offer magnificent views, they each offer differing destinations. The Hurricane Falls Trail descends steep stairs, crosses over the Tallulah River on an 80-ft high suspension bridge, then down more stairs to the base of Hurricane Falls. The seasoned hiker then has to make their way back up hundreds of steps to the top! The Rim Trails offer overhead views of the canyon from different points and is easy enough for the most novice hiker. The most difficult trail, Sliding Rock, requires a floor permit and is not for the faint-of-heart as it plunges over 1000 feet to the floor of the canyon and terminates at the base of Bridal Veil Falls where you can take a dip in the cool waters.
Minnehaha Falls -- Lake Rabun -- .4 miles -- Easy
This is the perfect hike for the whole family as even the littlest of kids can handle it (and if you have to carry tired feet, it’s pretty easy too!). The waterfall’s name derives from the Dakota word for “waterfall” and the multi-tiered falls provides a slippery ladder for climbing as well as a fun place to splash around.
Take a Hike – With Your Pooch
Doll’s Head Trail -- South Dekalb -- 1.6 miles -- Easy
This funky trail highlights “art” found within the confines of the park – most of which was washed up on the banks of the nearby South River. Things like doll heads, toys, and other interesting items are displayed in arrangements of folk art.
East Palisades Trail -- Sandy Springs -- 4 miles -- Moderate
Although this awesome trail sits at the vertex of I-285 & I-75, it is a blissful sanctuary of peace and quiet, nestled between Sandy Springs and the Cumberland area. It runs along the Chattahoochee River and dips down to the water then rises to bluffs overlooking the water. There’s even a cool bamboo forest!
Bear Creek Trail -- Ellijay -- 5.5 miles -- Moderate
One of the best things about this hike is seeing the second largest living tree in Georgia, Gennett Poplar. While the Autumn colors are an incredible sight to behold, this hike is especially great during the sweltering summer months as it runs almost entirely under a leafy canopy and through many creeks and other watery trails. This gives you and your canine cool, wet spots to literally and hypothetically “chill” out!