Whether you’re looking to take the family out for a hike this weekend, or if you’re looking for fresh dirt for your trail running shoes, North Georgia has got you covered!
Unless you’ve only been here a week, you know that there is no shortage of trails and scenic routes within comfortable driving distance of Atlanta. The list of trails is exhaustive and seemingly endless, so here’s a brief summary to get you started:
- Amicaloa Falls– This is a pretty steep trail, better suited for hiking than running. The crowds fill the parking area on weekends ($5 parking, all day, no in-and-out), so plan to get there early. The main trail begins with a few hundred narrowly built stairs gradually climbing the waterfall. There are plenty of rest benches along the stairs, and it does tend to get crowded, but if you’re able to go on a weekday, or plan an early morning weekend excursion, the scenery is more than worth worth dealing with the crowds. (Directions are included in the hyperlink.)
- Brasstown Bald– Hike to the highest point in Georgia! 4,784ft above sea level is a beautiful place to be during Springtime in Georgia. The trail is paved and fairly steep, but accessible to hikers of all abilities, which makes this another great family outing. Brasstown Bald’s proximity to the pseudo-Bavarian town of Helen also makes this a popular day hike for families.
- Kennesaw Mountain Trail– This is the information for the main trail, but there are a host of other trail options available. Family hikes are popular at this main trail, which leads to the top of the mountain, and is filled with historical markers and old cannon embankments. The Burnt Hickory Loop, the Cheatham Hill Loop, the Cheatham Hill Connector, and the Kolb’s Farm Loop are just a few of the other options for hiking and running these historic battlefield trails. All parking is free, so expect heavy crowds on the weekends. All trails are also dog friendly, and runners are as common as young children and elderly hikers.
- Raven Cliffs— Probably my favorite series of trails and campsite in all of Georgia, so much that I wrote a book of fiction about the place, also called Raven Cliffs. Again, these trails are more hiking friendly than running friendly, but I can assure you that Raven Cliffs is a place you or your family will never forget. It is also very convenient to Helen, Ga.
- Sweetwater Trails– out west, in Douglas Country are three distinct trails, Sweetwater Blue, Sweetwater Red, and Sweetwater White. These are probably some of the easiest trails on the list, but the trails are still fun and great for the lone or group runner, or for the family hike.
Trust me when I say that this is just a very small sampling of available trails around Georgia. All along the Chattahoochee are innumerable trails, as well as uncountable offshoots.
Georgia Trails has a longer list of available trails, but even this isn’t a complete list. The Georgia Ultrarunning & Trailrunning Society is another great resource with trails of particular interest to runners.