Climbing & Hiking Trails - 12 min read

17 Best Hiking Trails in Atlanta (Explore Historical Structures!)

Alex Frick

Alex Frick, Updated November 2, 2022

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When thinking of describing the great metropolis of Atlanta, Georgia, the first word to leave your lips is unlikely is hiking. Atlanta goes by many nicknames, but one that may best describe it is “City of Trees.”

The city rests in a unique landscape under a canopy of beautifully lush foliage in the southern foothills of the Appalachian Mountain Range. Tucked in the city and beyond are stunning hiking trails with incredible diversity.

Here is a list of the best hiking trails in all of Atlanta, Georgia.

1. Klondike Trail to Mountain Top Loop

Credit: Rob H. / TripAdvisor

From Snapfinger, head southeast on GA-155 S for 0.7 miles and turn left onto GA-212 E. Drive for 0.6 miles and the 2nd exit at the traffic circle and drive for another 4.3 miles and turn left onto Klondike Road. After 2.0 miles, the parking area will be on your left.

Just a few minutes outside midtown Atlanta, the Klondike Trail to Mountain Top Loop is a moderate climb to the beautifully overlooking summit of picturesque Arabia Mountain.

The hike is an ascending but comfortable trail, leading across an exposed valley as you march towards the peak. Once reaching the top, you will be rewarded with gorgeous views of Arabia and its natural beauty.

Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 3.8 Miles
Elevation Gain: 311 Feet

2. Sawnee Mountain Indian Seats Trail Loop

Credit: Pinterest

From Cumming, head north on Tribble Gap Road for 1.1 miles and merge onto Bettis Tribble Gap Road. Drive for 1.8 miles and turn left into the parking area for this hike.

With the best mountain view in all of Georgia, the Indian Seats Trail Loop is a moderate climb along the scenic ridge of Sawnee Mountain. As you wander through the coniferous forest, you will traverse through beautifully wooded sections of North Georgia wilderness before reaching the summit.

The peak offers stunning views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and has unmatched sunset views. The trail is named after the granite boulders on the summit that have grooved seat-like depressions making it the ultimate place to sit and watch the burnt orange sunset.

Difficulty: Moderate 
Distance: 3.2 Miles
Elevation Gain: 479 Feet

3. Sope Creek Trail from Paper Mill Road

Credit: nicoleage20 /TripAdvisor

From Marietta, head east on Lower Roswell Road for 2.4 miles and make a slight right onto Old Paper Mill Road. Drive for 0.3 miles and turn right onto Terrell Mill Road.

Continue for 0.1 miles and turn left onto Paper Mill Road SE. Drive for 1.1 miles and make a slight right into Sope Creek Entrance, the parking area for this trail.

The Sope Creek Trail is filled with beauty and history. The hike follows along the rocky ridges of Sope Creek and travels through the ruins of a stacked-stone paper mill that was active during the Civil War.

The trail will continue until reaching the beautifully reflective shores of Sibley Pond. Loop around the pond before returning along the route Union soldiers used over 150 years ago.

Difficulty: Moderate
Distance:
2.9 Miles
Elevation Gain:
265 Feet

Related Read: Best Time to Visit Atlanta

4. East Palisades Trail

Credit: Bradley Huchteman / Flickr

From Vinings, head south on US Highway 41 S for 1.2 miles and turn left onto Mount Paran Road. Drive for 0.3 miles and turn left onto Sentinel Post Road.

Continue for 0.4 miles and turn right onto Whitewater Creek Road NW. After 0.4 miles, turn left and follow the signs to the parking area of this hike.

One of the more scenic hikes in the Atlanta metro area, the East Palisades Trail is a wonderful walk paralleling the crashing shores of the Chattahoochee Palisades.

This path is a steep climb along the river, with the waters lined with sharp and striking rock formations that create rushing rapids. Get here early, this trail is quite popular.

Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 3.3 Miles
Elevation Gain: 452 Feet

5. Pine Mountain Trail

Credit: Andrea F. / TripAdvisor

From LaGrange, head south on US-27 S for 21.0 miles and turn left onto D Street and the parking area will be on your right.

This beautiful hike in the Northern Georgia wilderness takes you along the ridge of the incredible summit views of Pine Mountain.

The long trail is a knee-buckling climb to stunning overlooks that look over Lake Altoona and the tall peaks of Kennesaw and Stone Mountain. With the difficulty and distance, this is best suited for an overnight adventure.

Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 22.2 Miles
Elevation Gain: 3,251 Feet

6. Vickery Creek Trail at Roswell Mill

Credit: Shutterstock

From Alpharetta, head south on GA-400 S for 2.7 miles and take the GA-140 W exit. Drive for 0.3 miles and merge onto GA-140 W. Continue for 0.2 miles and turn left onto Dogwood Road. After 2.1 miles, turn right into the parking area for this hike.

The Vickery Creek Trail is a journey with incredible diversity. This hike leads through a picturesque, covered bridge and wanders through explorable Civil War mill ruins.

Once leaving these historic grounds, the trail transforms into an environment of natural beauty. The hike will lead you through the comfortably shaded wilderness before reaching the highlight of the trail, a powerful cascading waterfall from the edge of a steep rock bluff.

Difficulty: Moderate
Distance:
3.4 Miles
Elevation Gain:
337 Feet

Related Read: 30 Romantic Getaways in Atlanta

7. Powers Island Trail at the Chattahoochee River

Credit: TXMARTINS / TripAdvisor

From Marietta, head south on I-75 S for 1.5 miles and take exit 260 for Windy Hill Road. Drive for 0.2 miles and merge onto Windy Hill Road E.

Continue for 0.7 miles and turn right onto Powers Ferry Road and drive for 1.1 miles. Turn left onto Interstate N Parkway. After 0.4 miles, turn left onto Riveredge Lane NW and the parking area will be on your left.

The Powers Island Trail is the perfect hike to enjoy if what you seek is peaceful seclusion. As one of the lesson-known hikes in the Chattahoochee National Recreation Area, this trail follows the rocky banks of the Chattahoochee River before reaching an inlet.

Continue over the metal bridge that leads you to Powers Island – a beautiful 0.7 miles walk around the quiet isle before returning along the river.

Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 1.6 Miles
Elevation Gain: 200 Feet

8. Island Ford Trail

Credit: Greg Pries / Flickr

From Alpharetta, head south on GA-400 S for 6.0 miles and take exit 6 for Northridge Road. Drive for 0.7 miles and turn right onto Roberts Drive. After 0.6 miles and turn right onto Island Ford Parkway, followed by an immediate left, and the parking area will be on your left.

The Island Ford Trail is a beautifully diverse hike through the lush Georgia wilderness. This trail is an escape. With its long-distance and seclusion, this hike is absent of people but abundant with wildlife and natural beauty.

Throughout the hike, you will be traversing mountain ridges with stunning overlooking views of the Chattahoochee River. Along the path, you will encounter countless waterfalls as you wander through fields of blossoming wildflowers.

Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 5.4 Miles
Elevation Gain: 629 Feet

9. West Palisades Trail

Credit: Ben Miller / Flickr

From Vinings, head north on US Highway 41 N for 0.4 miles and turn right onto Cumberland Boulevard. Drive for 1.1 miles and turn right onto Akers Mill Road SE.

Continue for 0.3 miles and make a sharp right onto Akers Drive SE. Drive for another 0.2 miles and turn left onto Akers Ridge Drive. After 0.5 miles, the parking area will be on the right.

The West Palisades Trail is a peaceful hike in the center of Atlanta. This in-town hike is a four-mile loop that follows the rocky banks with expansive views of the Chattahoochee River.

The trail forks from the river into a new growth hardwood forest that climbs the ridge of the rocky bluffs, overlooking the river and the city.

Difficulty: Moderate
Distance:
4.1 Miles
Elevation Gain:
672 Feet

Related Read: 15 Best State Parks In Georgia

10. Cochran Shoals Trail

Credit: Shawn Taylor / Flickr

From Vinings, head north on US Highway 41 N for 0.4 miles and turn right onto Cumberland Boulevard. Drive for 1.1 miles and turn right onto Akers Mill Road SE.

Turn left onto Powers Ferry Road, followed by an immediate right onto Interstate N Parkway. After 0.3 miles, turn left onto Eugene Gunby Road and the parking area will be on your left.

The Cochran Shoals Trail is among the most popular trails in all of Atlanta. The level gravel path is a common 5k practice route and brings in adventurers by the hundreds.

The trail cruises through beautiful woodlands and marshes before reaching the rocky and picturesque shores of the Chattahoochee River. Try to arrive early, the parking area can fill up quickly, as you could imagine.

Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 6.0 Miles
Elevation Gain: 331 Feet

11. Cascade Springs Nature Preserve Outer Loop

Credit: Timur Dzhambinov / Flickr

From downtown Atlanta, head west on I-20 W for 2.0 miles and take exit 54 for Langhorn St. Drive for 0.2 miles and turn left onto Langhorn Street SW.

Continue for 0.6 miles and turn right onto Ralph David Abernathy Boulevard. Drive for another 3.3 miles and turn left at Veltre Circle SW and the parking area will be on your left.

The Cascade Springs Nature Preserve Trail is the hidden gem of Atlanta hiking. The trail boardwalk wanders through the historic remnants of the Civil War battle of Utoy Creek.

The tranquil environment is a healthy and abundant habitat for wildlife – including birds, deer, and turtles. The hilly walk leads through beautiful woodlands along a rushing creek before approaching a powerfully cascading waterfall.

Difficulty: Easy
Distance:
2.6 Miles
Elevation Gain:
160 Feet

Related Read: BEST Brunch Spots In Atlanta, GA

12. Piedmont Park Loop

Credit: Marc Merlin / Flickr

From downtown Atlanta, head north on I-75 N for 0.7 miles and take exit 248C for GA-10 E. Drive for 0.6 miles and turn left onto Boulevard NE.

Continue for 1.5 miles and turn left onto Eastside Trail. Make a slight right and the parking area will be on your left.

The Piedmont Park Loop is a peaceful escape without leaving the city. Piedmont Park offers excellent skyline views while walking around the comfortable shores of an urban lake.

While you are not exploring deep into the wilderness, the trail takes you around a beautiful lake before ascending to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens. On the return trek, the trail passes the scenic Legacy Fountain before returning to the lake.

Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 2.4 Miles
Elevation Gain: 82 Feet

13. Bob Callan Trail

Credit: bliu / Flickr

From Vinings, head north on Paces Ferry Road SE for 0.2 miles and turn right onto Paces Mill Road SE. Drive for 0.7 miles and turn right on US Highway 41 S.

After 0.1 miles turn right into the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area and follow the signs to the parking area for this trail.

The Bob Callan Trail is a comfortably paved walkway that connects the community to the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area. The trail features six different boardwalks and a steel truss bridge on a quiet pathway with wonderful skyline views.

The hike leads through green woodlands before leaving you at the shores of the river. The trail is very popular with cyclists, keep an ear out for the familiar, “on your left!”

Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 3.9 Miles
Elevation Gain:

14. Murphey Candler Park Trail

Credit: TranceMist / Flickr

From Sandy Springs, head east on Hammond Drive NE for 1.5 miles and turn right onto Ashford Dunwoody Road.

Drive for 1.1 miles and turn left onto W Nancy Creek Drive NE. After 0.4 miles, turn left and the parking area will be on your right.

The Murphey Candler Park Trail is a beautiful lake adventure in the heart of Atlanta’s Brookhaven neighborhood. The trail is a loop around the small lakes shore with wonderful views of the city as your backdrop.

The lake is abundant with songbirds and geese. While you’re in a residential area, you still experience relative seclusion that offers peace in an otherwise busy area of Atlanta.

Difficulty: Easy
Distance:
1.5 Miles
Elevation Gain:
42 Feet

Related Read: 30 Top Treehouse Rentals in Georgia

15. Wilburn Farm and Cascade Trails Loop

Credit: Jerry Ray / Flickr

From Snapfinger, head southeast on GA-155 S for 0.7 miles and turn left onto GA-212 E. Drive for 0.6 miles and the 2nd exit at the traffic circle and drive for another 1.9 miles. Turn left at Evan Mills Road and drive for 1.2 miles and the parking area will be on your right.

The Wilburn Farm and Cascade Trails Loop is a diverse mountain-top hike with unique features to enjoy. The trail follows the ridge of Arabia Mountain before descending into a valley.

Within the valley are the remains of an abandoned farmhouse – with an old barn and even a rope swing. After exploring the farm, the hike leads to a comfortably shaded pond abundant with lily pad hopping frogs.

Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 3.4 Miles
Elevation Gain: 377 Feet

16. Atlanta BeltLine Westside Trail

Credit: Thomas Cizauskas / Flickr

From downtown Atlanta, head west on I-20 W for 1.3 miles and take exit 55A toward Lowery Boulevard. Turn right onto Joseph E Lowery Boulevard SW and continue for 1.0 miles. Turn left onto Lena Street NW and the parking will be on your left.

The Atlanta BeltLine Westside Trail is a level, paved pathway through the heart of some of Atlanta’s most historic districts. The trail is a celebration of African American culture, including passing Martin Luther King’s high school.

On your journey, you will encounter Hammond’s House, the African American Culture and Arts Museum before approaching “The Wren’s Nest.”

The Wren’s Nest is an 1870’s Queen Anne-style home of Joel Chandler Harris, the author of the “Uncle Remus Tales.”

Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 3.2 Miles
Elevation Gain: 108 Feet

17. Blueway Trail

Credit: Park Pride / Flickr

From Sandy Springs, head south on Roswell Road for 1.1 miles and merge onto US-19 S. Drive for 3.0 miles and the parking area will be on your right.

The Blueway Trail is a unique adventure in the blue Heron Nature Preserve, right in the center of Atlanta’s North Buckhead neighborhood.

This diverse hike leads you through concentrated and lush woodlands and wetlands. These wetlands are a healthy habitat for reptiles and an excellent way to see them behave in their natural environment. Enjoy this wonderful journey, all without leaving the city.

Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 3.0 Miles
Elevation Gain: 49 Feet

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