Why not take advantage of the temperatures that will finally be dropping over the next few weeks by getting lost in the woods, right here in Atlanta! Several parks and nature preserves are located either in town or just a short drive outside the perimeter, offering trails and scenic views without the drive into the mountains or out into the rural areas. So get lost – right here!
You can easily feel worlds away from the hustle and bustle of Atlanta while traveling less than 30 minutes from the city-center, with a visit to Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area. This protected area on the east side of the city covers 40,000 acres with enormous fields of exposed granite, glassy lakes, and two easily climbed granite mountains. Over 30 miles of trails allow for fantastic hiking, walking and running, with many trails ADA accessible and kid-friendly.
Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area – 3350 Klondike Road, Lithonia, GA 30038
Morningside Nature Preserve
In the mid-2000s a group of neighbors banded together to make sure a 30 acre pocket of land would be protected from development, leaving the Morningside Nature Preserve as a forest oasis in the middle of busy Atlanta. A swinging suspension bridge spans South Peachtree Creek, the shores of which have become known to locals as “dog beach” for the furry frolicking done by pups on the banks after a nice run or walk with their owners.
Morningside Nature Preserve – 2020 Lenox Road NE, Atlanta, GA 30324
Sope Creek Trail
Tucked into a quiet residential neighborhood just outside the northern perimeter, Sope Creek Park is part of the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, a larger network of parks and trails that weaves in and out of the northern Atlanta suburbs. Walk, jog or run through the ruins of a historic paper mill, built in 1855 and located on both sides of the rocky creek, then end up at the wildflower-lined shores of Sibley Pond.
Sope Creek Trail – 3760 Paper Mill Road SE, Marietta, GA 30067
Sweetwater Creek State Park
Comprised of over 2,500 acres just west of the city, Atlanta’s Sweetwater Creek State Park includes a 215 acre lake, 15 miles of trails and the ruins of a historic textile mill built prior to the Civil War. The gem of the park is the rushing, whitewater creek that runs through the park, with waterfalls, sandy shores and wading areas. If you get too hot on the trail, take a break with a dip in the creek!
Sweetwater Creek State Park – 1750 Mount Vernon Road, Lithia Springs, GA 30122