Saturday, May 28, 2011

Atlanta Area Walks & Hikes 2011 (Updated 2013)

Being from the Atlanta area, (born and raised in Marietta, Georgia), the writer recently made a trip back to visit family. Wanting ... and needing ... to stay in some kind of shape, (with so much sitting in the car on the road trip), she took three decent walks / hikes that were easily accessible around Atlanta. For "real" hikes, the hiker needs to travel at least an hour or two into the mountains of north Georgia, however, within the metropolitan area, we have several ways for Atlantans to stay fit.

One of the most popular places to go is Stone Mountain. Its carving is seen in the photo above. The hike up to the top (1.3 miles one way with a 786 foot gain in elevation) and the walk around the mountain (the Cherokee Trail at 5 miles) are both fun. The writer has been hiking up the mountain since she was a little girl ... long time ago ... and even remembers when you could drive up to the top in a jeep!

Another historic park is the Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield. The hike up this mountain is 1.4 miles with 700 feet of elevation gain. If you keep hiking over the peak, the trail continues over Little Kennesaw Mountain and through the Cheatham Hill area. Seventeen miles of trail are found in the park. This was another frequently visited place during the writer's childhood. Wikipedia sums up the battle fought here as follows: The Battle of Kennesaw Mountain, fought here between General William Tecumseh Sherman of the Union army and Joseph E. Johnston of the Confederate army, took place between June 18, 1864, and July 2, 1864. Sherman's army consisted of 100,000 men, 254 cannon and 35,000 horses, while Johnston's army had only 50,000 men and 187 cannon. Much of the battle took place not on Kennesaw Mountain itself, but on Little Kennesaw and the area to its south. 5,350 soldiers were killed during the battle. The battle resulted in a Confederate victory.

Below are some more beautiful places to walk and hike which are not too far away from suburbs of Atlanta. For more, visit a site the writer stumbled upon while writing this entry:

Little Mulberry Park

Little Mulberry Park is found in Gwinnett County. The day we visited, there were many other people enjoying the park. We hiked / walked around 8 miles on paved paths, equestrian trails and hiking trails. We saw a few types of water fowl and a black king snake. We heard that sometimes you can also see deer. The purple thistles were blooming every where. To get there, it is an approximately 30 minute drive up I-85 from I-285 to the Hamilton Mill Road exit #120. See the internet for further directions. There are three entrances to the park.

Big Creek Greenway

The Big Creek Greenway is settled in the Northpoint Mall area of Alpharetta, Georgia. The eight foot wide concrete path is a total of 6.2 miles long. Great for roller blading, biking, jogging or just plain walking. It strolls along residential areas and Big Creek which is a large muddy creek overgrown with vines, foliage and fallen trees. One of the best parts of the trail is the small herd of deer who reside among the tall grass. They look very healthy this year!

Cochran Shoals (Chattahoochee River NRA) and Sweetwater Creek State Park
Two other walks / hikes that may be recommended by the writer are Cochran Shoals, part of the Chattahoochee River NRA, and Sweetwater Creek State Park. The former is a 3 mile fine gravel trail along the Chattahoochee River located north of the I-285 bridge between Northside Drive and Windy Hill Road on Interstate North Parkway. The trail is popular with joggers, bikers and walkers. Views of the large river are spectacular as it flows over the shoals in the area.

Sweetwater Creek Trails boasts 9 miles of hiking trails along a decently wide flowing creek as seen in the photo above. The State Park has history from the Native American Cherokee Nation and later mills located on the creek. There are ruins from one of the mills which include a large water wheel. It is located in Douglas County around 15 miles from Atlanta out the I-20 West. Exit at Thornton Road, exit #44.

Sope Creek

Sope Creek, located in Marietta off of Paper Mill Road, has a wonderful system of trails for hikers and bikers. These trails also connect to the Cochran Shoals system of trails as Sope Creek empties into the Chattahoochee River in this area. In addition to the large wide creek, the trails also pass by a quiet pond as seen in the photo above. The map below should give you an idea of the park.

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