Hiking Georgia Atlanta  by Donald W. Pfitzer and Jimmy Jacobs

Hiking Georgia: Atlanta Guide Book

by Donald W. Pfitzer and Jimmy Jacobs (Falcon Guides)
Hiking Georgia Atlanta  by Donald W. Pfitzer and Jimmy Jacobs
Atlanta’s vibrant city life, combined with its easy access to mountains, woodlands, and waterways, makes it one of America’s most livable cities. Plenty of accessible parks, green spaces, and woodlands surrounding the city make it easy for residents and tourists alike to find suitable hiking destinations close by. This book features thirty varied hikes in close proximity to the city, from easy walks along quiet nature trails to more strenuous treks through mountainous terrain. There are destinations to suit every interest—from urban paths along gorgeous waterways to historic sites just outside the city’s limits. This guide will help you find the right hike for your interests and skill level.

© 2015 Donald W Pfitzer and Jimmy Jacobs/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Trails from the "Hiking Georgia: Atlanta" Guide Book
Displaying trails 20 of 30.

Displaying trails 1 to 20 of 30.

Amicalola, a Cherokee word meaning “tumbling waters,” perfectly describes Amicalola Falls. Formed by Little Amicalola Creek plunging 729 feet in several cascades, it is the highest waterfall east of the Mississippi River and serves as the centerpiece of an 829-acre park. The state park has seven short hiking trails totaling 4.5 miles and serves as the trailhead for two much longer hikes that leave the property and cross onto Chattahoochee National Forest lands. The featured hike is a long trek on the Appalachian Approach Trail.
Ellijay, GA - Hiking - Trail Length: 8.3
The Len Foote Hike Inn is located outside of Amicalola State Park on adjacent Chattahoochee National Forest property. However, the facility is managed and maintained by the Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites Division. Visitors can only reach the inn using the hiking trail that originates in the park. The Len Foote Hike Inn Trail offers a leisurely morning or afternoon trek up to the inn. Once there visitors find soft beds, warm showers, and hot meals awaiting.
Dahlonega, GA - Hiking - Trail Length: 5.9
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The Appalachian Trail (AT) is one of the longest continually marked trails in the world. Beginning at Springer Mountain in Georgia, the path ends at Mount Katahdin in Maine. Congress authorized the Appalachian Trail as the first National Scenic Trail in 1968. The Appalachian Trail Conference now has responsibility for the trail. A long-trail concept along the Appalachian Mountains grew out of a 1921 proposal by forester and land-use planner Benton MacKaye. For 16 years, Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) members, hiking clubs, and other volunteers worked to see MacKaye’s dream come true. On August 14, 1937, the final 2 miles were opened in Maine, completing the 2,054-mile trail from Georgia to Maine.
Dahlonega, GA - Backpacking,Hiking - Trail Length: 75.4
The 6,400-acre Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center encompasses the Marben Public Fishing Area (PFA), the Clybel Wildlife Management Area (WMA), and the Charlie Elliott Visitor Center and Conference Center. This is a must-visit area for hiking, birding, fishing, and family outings.
Mansfield, GA - Hiking - Trail Length: 1.9
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One of Georgia’s newest state parks, Chattahoochee Bend opened on 2,910 acres of land in northwest Coweta County in 2011. It also is Georgia’s fifth-largest state park. Most of the land has been left in a wilderness setting as it stretches along 5 miles of river shore in a bend of the Chattahoochee. The park has a visitor center, campground, picnic area, playgrounds, and a boat ramp. Visitors can fish or paddle on the river as well. Chattahoochee Bend has three trails providing roughly 7 miles of hiking. The East-West (or Tower) Trail runs from the visitor center to the observation deck on the river.
Newnan, GA - Hiking - Trail Length: 9.2
The Cooper Creek Wildlife Management Area (WMA) covers 30,000 acres of forested mountain ridges within the Chattahoochee National Forest. The property is owned by the US Forest Service, but hunting and fishing are managed by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. A portion of the WMA around the Cooper Creek Recreation Area campground is designated as the Cooper Creek Scenic Area.
Blairsville, GA - Hiking - Trail Length: 6.1
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Davidson–Arabia Mountain Nature Preserve encompasses 2,550 acres and another of the prominent rock outcrops called monadnocks—isolated hills standing above the surrounding area. These rock outcrops host a unique environment with a wide variety of microhabitats that support a number of endemic plant and animal species. Arabia Mountain is said to be one hundred million years older than its two local granite-dome cousins—Panola and Stone Mountains. Arabia is noted for the swirling tidal gray rock pattern characteristic of Lithonia gneiss, formed when the mountain’s original gneiss was partially melted to form a rock that incorporates both igneous and metamorphic features in a granite-gneiss.
Lithonia, GA - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.4
The name DeSoto Falls comes from a tale that a piece of armor found near the falls some decades ago belonged to Hernando de Soto or one of his men. Though that expedition traveled through this general area of Georgia in search of gold, the story had been dismissed by historians who doubted such a relic would have survived so long. However, in the late 1920s a portion of an iron Spanish sword was found in an Indian burial mound near Chatsworth to the west. Whatever the truth of the story, the falls have retained the conquistador’s name.
Cleveland , GA - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.3
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Located in the Dukes Creek Falls Recreation Area, this trail provides a trek down into the creek gorge to view several scenic waterfalls. From the trailhead elevation of 2,107 feet, the path drops 340 feet through a pair of long switchbacks. Along the way the trail descends on a broad path with very few steep spots. Before starting down the Dukes Creek Falls Trail, take a moment to look to the southeast. A good view of the distinctively shaped Mount Yonah is afforded from this spot. The trail begins to the west, traveling along a relatively fl at, paved path that leads to an observation deck. This first portion is wheelchair accessible to the overlook. From the deck, a 300-foot cascade can be seen on the opposite side of the gorge.
Helen, GA - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.4
Roughly 5 miles of forest footpaths wind along the steep bluffs overlooking the east side of the river. Only short sections of the East Palisades Trail are steep and strenuous for hiking. The elevation change from the river to the highest point in the unit is about 290 feet. Beginning at the Indian Trail parking area, the path follows an old roadbed for a few yards before dropping down in a series of switchbacks to Whitewater Creek and the river. A bridge on the left crosses Long Island Creek to an alternate trailhead at the Whitewater Creek parking area (Trailhead GPS: N33 52.706’/W84 26.510’).
Atlanta, GA - Hiking - Trail Length: 4.6
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The Dowdell Knob Loop is a 4.4-mile microcosm of what the loop hikes along the PMT have to offer. Besides being one of the most scenic, it also passes through a couple of the historic locations on Pine Mountain. The Dowdell Knob Loop combines the short parking-lot approach trail, a 3.0-mile section of the PMT, and 1.3 miles of the Boot Top Trail. The last trail earns its name from its placement on the loop. The PMT portion of the path creates the outline of a boot, with Dowdell Knob overlook at its southern heel. The Boot Top Trail cuts across the other end, or top of the boot.
Atlanta, GA - Hiking - Trail Length: 4.4
F. D. Roosevelt State Park is located on Pine Mountain in the central part of the state, about 25 miles northwest of Columbus. The long, narrow ridge composed of quartzite rock formations is the southernmost mountain in Georgia.
Pine Mountain, GA - Backpacking,Hiking - Trail Length: 23
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Hard Labor Creek State Park is a 5,864-acre facility situated to the north of I-20, between Covington and Madison in eastern Georgia. Local lore offers two sources for the park’s name. One ascribes the name’s origin to antebellum slaves who worked in the summer sun in surrounding plantation fields, while the other attributes it to Native Americans who found the stream hard to cross. The 1.0-mile Brantley Nature and 1.1-mile Beaverpond Nature Trails are most practically walked as a single hike. Both are loop trails that are joined by a 70-yard connector. Also, the Beaverpond Nature Trail does not have a separate trailhead of its own. The trails meander through a mature, second-growth mainly pine-oak forest.
Rutledge , GA - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.2
High Falls State Park covers 1,050 acres in Monroe County on the shores of High Falls Lake. The impoundment is formed by an old rock dam on the Towaliga River. The river derives its name from the Creek Indian language and translates as “roasted scalps.” Those Native Americans were known to scalp their enemies and used the area around High Falls on the river to dry and preserve those trophies. Waterfalls below the lake drop almost 100 feet in multiple cascades over granite outcrops. These shoals give the area and the state park their names. This is an area of remarkable natural beauty and historic significance, with something of interest throughout the year, including spring wildflowers, fishing, fall colors, and bird migrations.
Forsyth, GA - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.6
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The 297-acre Island Ford Unit of the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area (CRNRA) has been retained in as natural a condition as possible for almost a century, first by the original private owners and later by the National Park Service. The mature hardwood forest at this site is a fine example of what the Piedmont area of Georgia might have looked like before it was cleared and developed. This is a great natural area, especially for a highly residential portion of metropolitan Atlanta, to find a variety of spring and summer wildflowers, trees, and wildlife. The area also contains a number of rock shelters along the river, as well as shoals within the stream.
Roswell, GA - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.2
The trail is on the west side of the river upstream from Johnson Ferry Road. This is an exceptionally good birding area with aquatic, open, brushy, and forested habitats. Ducks, herons, beavers, muskrats, raccoons, opossums, otters, turtles, frogs, and toads are some of the wildlife associated with the wet area and river. The forested area attracts many songbirds. Several benches are positioned along the riverside portion of the trail for wildlife viewing.
Sandy Springs, GA - Hiking - Trail Length: 1.7
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The 9.5-mile West Trail runs from the visitor center to Kolb Farm Trail. The East Trail connects those same two points and is 7.4 miles in length. The Visitor Center to Pigeon Hill, Cheatham Hill to Kolb Farm, and Burnt Hickory to Cheatham Hill Loops all are composed of portions of the East and West Trails. The featured trail is the Visitor Center to Pigeon Hill Loop, a 5.7-mile trail covering the northern end of the park. Halfway up, the trail merges into an old road running across the mountainside. Soon the path leaves the old road, turning uphill to the right. At this point it passes through a rock formation that offers an overlook of the town of Marietta. Switching back up the mountain, the trail passes another outcrop with a bench for resting. Along this north face of the mountain, the forest is dominated by chestnut oak trees. Virginia creepers are present in the rocky areas.
Marietta, GA - Hiking - Trail Length: 5.7
The Lake Russell Recreation Area is a USDA Forest Service facility in the eastern section of the Chattahoochee National Forest. The area contains 100-acre Lake Russell and 3-acre Nancy Town Lake. The facility has a 42-site seasonal campground as well. The featured hike consists of a portion of the Nancy Town Lake walking trail and the Sourwood Trail, forming a 3.7-mile lollipop. The official Sourwood Trailhead is in the camping area at the north end of the lake, but the road to it is closed from the end of October to the first of April. The parking area at the dam on the south end of Nancy Town Lake is open year-round, providing access to the Sourwood Trail.
Chatahoochee National Forest, GA - Hiking - Trail Length: 3.7
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Like many other facilities in the Georgia highlands, Lake Winfield Scott and its recreation area were projects constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in the 1930s. The clear 18-acre lake offers fishing, swimming, and camping. Wildflower and bird viewing are also exceptional here. Many of the place names in this area hark back to an earlier history. Both Slaughter Creek and Gap, along with nearby Blood Mountain, got their gruesome names from a sixteenth-century battle between Native American tribes that supposedly occurred here. One version names the adversaries as the Cherokees and Creeks, with the Cherokee victory sealing their claim to the Georgia mountains. Unfortunately, with no written history from the period, that remains just one line of conjecture. The recreation area contains one trail and the opening sections of two others.
Blairsville, GA - Hiking - Trail Length: 7.9
Three trails totaling 4.9 miles offer interpretive walks through this unique habitat. The Rock Outcrop, Watershed, and Panola Mountain Trails provide information on the area’s geology, fauna, flora, and history. The Fitness and 3-D Target Trails also are in the park. Combining the 0.9-mile Watershed and 0.5-mile Rock Outcrop Trails creates a double-loop hike that takes you through the major habitat types in the park. The paths are best walked in a counterclockwise direction beginning with the Watershed Trail.
Lithonia, GA - Hiking - Trail Length: 1.4
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