City Hiking Guides

Top 10 Best Hikes near Atlanta

POSTED ON December 21, 2022 BY Ralph S.


Introduction

Nestled in the heart of Georgia, the Atlanta area is a hidden gem for outdoor enthusiasts and adventure seekers. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a novice looking to embark on your very first hike, the Atlanta area boasts a diverse range of trails to suit all levels of experience and fitness. From pristine parks to rugged wilderness, we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 best hikes near Atlanta that promise unforgettable experiences and breathtaking views.

With so many hiking trails to explore, each offering its own unique blend of natural beauty and captivating scenery, there’s no shortage of opportunities to escape the hustle and bustle of downtown Atlanta and immerse yourself in the tranquil landscapes of North Georgia.

So, lace up your hiking boots and get ready to uncover the unparalleled beauty that awaits along these remarkable paths.

East Palisades Trail

Chattahoochee River, Newnan, Georgia, United States

point Atlanta, Georgia

Distance: 3.4 miles (5.5 km) roundtrip

Duration: 1.5–2 hours

Difficulty: Moderate

Type: Loop

Nestled along the Chattahoochee River, the East Palisades Trail is a popular trail known for its scenic views and rocky terrain. With so many trails to explore in the Atlanta area, this 3.4-mile (5.5 km) loop trail offers a unique blend of natural beauty and a challenging hiking experience.

You’ll be surrounded by beautiful views of the river and towering cliffs as you make your way through the wooded paths and walking trails of East Palisades. The trail also features several overlooks, providing the perfect opportunity to pause and take in the breathtaking scenery. But prepare for some steep climbs as you navigate through this moderately difficult trail.

Check out the official trail map here.

Cochran Shoals Trail

Cochran Mill Park, Cochran Mill Road, Chattahoochee Hills, GA, USA

Location: Atlanta, Georgia

Distance: 6.5 miles (10.5 km) roundtrip

Duration: 2.5–3 hours

Difficulty: Easy to moderate

Type: Loop

Located near the Chattahoochee River, Cochran Shoals Trail is known for its beautiful views and diverse terrain. With a distance of 6.5 miles, this loop trail offers a moderately challenging hike that is suitable for hikers of all levels.

The trail features a mix of paved and unpaved paths, making it perfect for both walking and running. As you make your way through the tree-lined paths, you’ll be treated to picturesque views of the Chattahoochee River and its surrounding landscapes.

Cochran Shoals Trail is also a popular spot for birdwatching and wildlife spotting, so make sure to keep your eyes peeled for any interesting critters along the way.

Check out the trail directions.

Also, here are other important links to check out:

Doll’s Head Trail

Location: Constitution Lake, Atlanta, Georgia

Distance: 1.5 miles (2.4 km) roundtrip

Duration: 1 hour

Difficulty: Easy to moderate

Type: Loop

Tucked away in the heart of Atlanta’s Constitution Lake is the quirky and unique Doll’s Head Trail. This 1.5-mile (2.4 km) loop trail is not your average hike, as it features an unusual and thought-provoking art installation scattered throughout the path.

The Doll’s Head Trail gets its name from the various doll heads and body parts that have been creatively arranged along the path by local artists and hikers. As you make your way through this easy-to-moderate trail, you’ll be treated to both natural and man-made art installations, providing a one-of-a-kind hiking experience.

This trail also offers views of the lake and its surrounding landscapes, making it perfect for nature lovers and art enthusiasts alike. The terrain is mostly rocky and includes some walking trails that wind through the peaceful and serene forest.

Sope Creek Trail

Location: Marietta, Georgia

Distance: 3 miles (4.8 km) roundtrip

Duration: 1.5–2 hours

Difficulty: Easy to moderate

Type: Loop

Just a short drive from metro Atlanta’s bustling city center, Sope Creek Trail offers a tranquil and scenic escape for hikers of all levels. This 3-mile loop trail is known for its diverse terrain, breathtaking views, and rich history.

The trail begins at the Sope Creek parking lot and winds its way through a beautiful bamboo forest before reaching the remains of an old paper mill. This historic site dates back to the 1800s and played a significant role in the Civil War during the Atlanta campaign.

From there, the trail continues on to a peaceful and serene rock quarry, where hikers can take in the picturesque views of the surrounding cliffs and water. The terrain is mostly rocky, with some walking trails scattered throughout, providing a moderate challenge for hikers.

Sope Creek Trail is one of many Atlanta trails that offer a perfect escape from city life and a chance to connect with nature.

Powers Island Trail

Chattahoochee National Forest, Hiawassee, United States of America

Location: Sandy Springs, Georgia

Distance: 1.4 miles (2.3 km) roundtrip

Duration: 1 hour

Difficulty: Easy to moderate

Type: Loop

Located in Sandy Springs, Georgia, Powers Island Trail offers hikers a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. This 1.4-mile (2.3 km) loop trail is considered one of the lesser-travelled trails in Atlanta’s Chattahoochee National Recreation Area, making it perfect for those seeking a quieter hiking experience.

The trail starts at the Powers Island parking lot and winds its way through a diverse terrain of forest, rocky paths, and along the serene waters of the Chattahoochee River. Along the way, hikers will be treated to scenic views of the surrounding landscapes and may even spot some wildlife.

The trail is relatively easy with some moderate sections, making it suitable for hikers of all levels. It’s also a great spot for birdwatching and photography, as the natural setting provides a peaceful and picturesque backdrop.

Check out the trail directions.

Pine Mountain Trail

North Georgia mountains

Location: Pine Mountain, North Georgia.

Distance: Approximately 23 miles (37 km)

Duration: 2 days to complete the full trail, though shorter sections are great for day hikes.

Difficulty: Varies from moderate to challenging.

Type: Point to point

Nestled in the North Georgia mountains, Pine Mountain Trail is a hiker’s paradise that beckons nature enthusiasts from metro Atlanta and beyond. Just a short drive from the city, this popular Atlanta trail offers a delightful escape from the urban buzz of downtown Atlanta.

Stretching approximately 23 miles (37 km), this trail is part of the larger Pine Mountain Range, which played a significant role in the Atlanta Campaign during the Civil War. What sets Pine Mountain Trail apart is its diversity of terrain, which ranges from winding paths through a serene bamboo forest to challenging ascents over rocky terrain.

The real jewel of this hike is the stunning summit, where hikers are rewarded with panoramic views that extend as far as the eye can see. One of the highlights along the trail is the remnants of a historic rock quarry, providing a glimpse into the region’s industrial past.

Vickery Creek Trail

Location: Atlanta, Georgia

Distance: 3.5 miles (5.6 km) roundtrip

Duration: 2-3 hours

Difficulty: Easy to moderate

Type: Loop

The Vickery Creek Trail is a popular Atlanta trail that offers hikers a scenic and diverse experience through nature. Located just outside of metro Atlanta, the trail starts at Vickery Creek Park and spans a total distance of 3.5 miles (5.6 km) roundtrip.

Hikers can expect to spend approximately 2-3 hours on this easy-to-moderate hike, which features a mix of paved and unpaved paths. The terrain is mostly rocky, with some sections that may require a bit of scrambling, making this trail a great option for hikers looking for a moderate challenge.

One of the highlights of this trail is the stunning Vickery Creek Waterfall, which can be accessed via a short side trail. Additionally, hikers can also catch glimpses of the historic Vickery Creek covered bridge, adding some historical charm to the scenery.

Other Hiking Spots Near Atlanta

Metro Atlanta’s surrounding landscapes are teeming with remarkable trails, state parks, and natural wonders just waiting to be explored.

From the serene shores of Arabia Lake to the historic paths at Sweetwater Creek State Park, and from the panoramic vistas of Kennesaw Mountain to the colossal granite outcrop at Stone Mountain, hikers in and near Atlanta are spoiled for choice.

Here are some of the best hiking spots to consider:

Walk up Trail (Stone Mountain Trail)

Location: Stone Mountain Park, Georgia

Distance: 1.3 miles (2.1 km) roundtrip

Duration: 45 minutes to 1 hour

Difficulty: Moderate to difficult

Type: Out and back

The Walk up Trail, also known as the Stone Mountain Trail, is a popular hiking route in Georgia that offers stunning views and a challenging ascent. Located in Stone Mountain Park, this trail spans a total distance of 1.3 miles (2.1 km) roundtrip.

Hikers can expect to spend approximately 45 minutes to an hour on this moderate-to-difficult hike, which features steep inclines and rocky terrain. However, the rewarding vistas at the top make it all worth it.

The trail is well-marked and paved, making it easy to navigate. You can even take a cable car to the top of the mountain and enjoy some interactive attractions once you are there.

Arabia Mountain Path

Arabia Mountain

Location: Lithonia, Georgia

Distance: 33-mile (53 km)

Duration: 3 to 4 hours

Difficulty: Easy to moderate

Type: Point to point

Located just outside Atlanta, the Arabia Mountain Trail is a 33-mile (53 km) multi-use trail that offers hikers and bikers an up-close look at Georgia’s unique granite landscapes. This diverse trail winds through lush green forests, serene wetlands, and rocky outcrops, providing a variety of scenery to enjoy.

One of the main highlights along this trail is the Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area (location) and Klondike Park (location), which boast stunning views, colorful wildflowers, and various hiking options for all skill levels. The terrain varies from easy to moderate, with some slightly challenging sections that require climbing over rocks.

For those looking for a longer hike or bike ride, there are several connecting trails that branch off from Arabia Mountain Path. These include the Rockland Trail, the Vaughters Farm Trail, and the South River Trail.

(direction)

Sweetwater Creek State Park

If you’re looking for a peaceful and scenic hike just outside of Atlanta, look no further than Sweetwater State Park (direction). This vast park, located in Lithia Springs, features over 15 miles (24 km) of trails that wind through forests, along the banks of the serene Sweetwater Creek, and up to the historic ruins of the New Manchester Mill Ruins Manufacturing Company.

One of the most popular trails in the park is the Red Trail, a 4-mile loop that takes hikers through rocky sections and offers stunning views of the creek. For those seeking a more challenging hike, the park also has a section of the famous Appalachian Trail that runs through it, connecting to Kennesaw Mountain just north of Atlanta.

Indian Seats At Sawnee Preserve

Located within the landscape of Sawnee Mountain, a short drive from Atlanta, the Indian Seats Trail (direction) offers an invigorating escape from the bustling city.

This gem among Atlanta trails is a hiker’s delight, with its network of mountain trails that wind through lush forests and picturesque terrain. The Indian Seats Trail, in particular, is a popular choice for those seeking both a rewarding hike and a captivating view.

As you embark on this journey, you’ll meander through dense bamboo forests and venture alongside the river, immersing yourself in the sights and sounds of Georgia’s natural beauty.

The trail’s namesake, the “Indian Seats,” presents a unique vantage point for hikers, offering a panoramic view of the park’s stunning surroundings.

Chattahoochee Oconee National Forest

Nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Chattahoochee Oconee National Forest is a haven for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts. This massive forest spans over 860,000 acres and boasts an impressive array of trails that cater to all levels of hikers.

One of the most iconic and popular hikes within the forest is the Cherokee Trail at Stone Mountain Park. This 4-mile roundtrip trail takes hikers through a variety of terrain, including granite rock formations and dense forests, before reaching the summit of Stone Mountain. From the top, hikers are rewarded with breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes.

For those seeking a longer and more challenging hike, there’s also the opportunity to hike the entire length of the famous Appalachian Trail, which runs through the forest.

Conclusion

Atlanta is indeed a natural playground ready for hikers to explore. This city offers the best hiking trails for all types of hiking and trekking adventures. From the easy Stone Mountain trail to the challenging Blood Mountain trail, there’s a trail for everyone.

Experience the beauty of Atlanta’s flora and fauna by exploring one of these 10 best hikes near Atlanta; you will not regret it.

Find more exciting locations in our Hikes and Trails Guide.


RALPH S.

Ralph S. is the founder of Silverlight, an avid hiker and trail runner he enjoys spending time outdoors, riding his motorcycle and swimming at the beach when he's not busy replying to customers or developing new Silverlight gear.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *