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Georgia Hiking Trails

Posted by James Paisley | Oct 26, 2021 | 0 Comments

Best Hiking Trails Near Atlanta

Georgia boasts diverse landscapes ranging from moss-covered stream valleys brimming with trout to the sharp summits of the Appalachian Mountains. Get outside the city and enjoy all the nature Georgia has to offer! Whether you're looking for a hike within a 30-minute drive from downtown, or ready to make a two-hour trek to Blue Ridge, our team has compiled a list of our favorite destinations in the state. Between Alex's Instagram dedicated to hiking and Jim's time spent at his cabin in the north Georgia mountains, our list is comprehensive and gives a solid glimpse into what you can expect with each destination. This shorthand fieldguide addresses the 3 D's: distance, difficulty, and dogs. How far can you expect to hike, how difficult is the hike, and can you bring your four-legged friend?

Big Mountain Trail at Kennesaw Mountain

Distance: 2.4 miles roundtrip
Difficulty: easy to moderate
Dogs: leashed

Photo cred: Alex Martinez

Located in between Marietta and Kennesaw, Kennesaw Mountain's Big Mountain Trail offers rich civil war history, rocky terrain, and shaded trails, along with a skyline view of Atlanta. The Battle of Kennesaw Mountain was the last major frontal assault that William T. Sherman commanded during the civil war. Along with hiking trails, there are plenty of spots to picnic including open fields and covered designated picnicking areas.

Note: There is an overflow lot just down the road so if you can't find a parking spot, don't worry! Just follow the signs.

Sope Creek Trail Loop

Distance: 2.9 miles roundtrip
Difficulty: easy
Dogs: leashed

The Sope Creek Trail Loop is a scenic hike in the Marietta suburb featuring creek views and ruins from a civil war-era paper mill. In the summertime, many folks take advantage of cooling off in the creek water, especially children. Swimming is allowed at your own risk.

Sitton's Gulch Trail at Cloudland Canyon State Park

Distance: 5.1 miles roundtrip
Difficulty: moderate to difficult
Dogs: leashed (Note: There are steep stairs so your dog needs to be athletic and accustomed to hiking.)

Located just southwest of Chattanooga near the NW edge of the Georgia line sits one of the most scenic hikes the state has to offer. With towering canyon walls, plunging waterfalls, and vast forests, the views are spectacular. This is one of my favorite hikes and is a popular camping spot, with cabins, designated campgrounds, and yurts available to visitors.

Vickery Creek Trail at Roswell Mill

Distance: 3.4 miles roundtrip
Difficulty: easy
Dogs: leashed (Note: There is one set of steep metal stairs up to the trail loop that are not suited for small dogs.)

This heavily trafficked loop located in Roswell, GA is a popular spot for families featuring waterfall views, historic paper mill ruins, and a covered bridge. There's plenty of spots to hang up an eno and many adventurers take advantage of swimming under and around the waterfall. Located just down the road from popular Canton Street, it is convenient for an afternoon hike followed by a meal at a local restaurant in the area.

Indian Seats Trail at Sawnee Mountain

Distance: 4 miles roundtrip
Difficulty: moderate
Dogs: not allowed

Photo cred: Alex Martinez

Located in north Georgia, this Sawnee Mountain hike boasts some of the best views in Atlanta, facing the distant Blue Ridge Mountains. In addition to hiking, the park offers tree climbing, rock climbing, rappelling, bird watching, and other activities.

Arabia Mountain Top Trail

Distance: 1.3 miles
Difficulty: easy
Dogs: leashed

Photo cred: Alex Martinez

Located just 30 minutes from Midtown, Arabia Mountain's unique rock-dominated landscape offers cloudscape views and easy terrain great for kids and dogs. Springtime is the only time of year you can see Diamorpha, the plant pictured above.

Sweetwater Creek Orange Trail

Distance: 4.75 miles roundtrip
Difficulty: moderate
Dogs: leashed

Orange Trail is the newest hike at Sweetwater Creek with its kickoff point starting at the visitor's center. One of the highlights of this hike is the long bridge the path takes across the creek. The civil war era mill seen on this hike was featured in the Hunger Games trilogy. For a closer look at the ruins, visit the Red Trail.

East Palisades Trail at the Chattahoochee River

Distance: 4 miles roundtrip
Difficulty: easy to moderate
Dogs: leashed

One of the river's most frequented trails, the Palisades hike is marked by sharp cliffs on the edge of the Chattahoochee. The trail itself features fairly easy terrain and lots of places to stop and jump in the water or hang up your eno for a nap. Wave "hello" to kayakers, rowers, and fisherman as many stretches of this trail are right alongside the scenic Chattahoochee River.

Pine Mountain Creek Trail

Distance: 4.5 miles roundtrip
Difficulty: moderate
Dogs: leashed

Located in Cartersville, GA, the Pine Mountain Creek Trail offers sweeping views of Lake Allatoona, Stone Mountain, and Kennesaw Mountain. The trail is lovely, featuring an assortment of wildflowers, and conveniently located for cabins and campsites.

Island Ford North Loop Trail

Distance: 2.8 miles roundtrip
Difficulty: easy to moderate
Dogs: leashed

Located alongside the Chattahoochee River, the North Loop Trail sees less foot traffic than other nearby trails which draws in more wildlife with deer, geese, and turtles frequently being spotted.

Amicalola Falls State Park Trail Loop

Distance: 2.1 miles roundtrip
Difficulty: moderate to difficult
Dogs: leashed (Note: Obstacles and terrain make this trail difficult for dogs.)

Hike to the top of the Amicalola Falls and experience them cascade a breathtaking 730 feet. Note: Due to the views, this is a very popular spot so expect some company on the trail.

Cascade Springs Nature Preserve

Distance: 1.9 miles roundtrip
Difficulty: easy
Dogs: leashed

The nature preserve itself is 135 acres and the hike itself is located along Utoy Creek. This short hike packs in views with a historic moss-covered stone-and-mortar springhouse, glistening streams, and a tumbling waterfall. With civil war era trenches, a quarry, and loads of wildlife, there is 

Stone Mountain Walk-Up and Cherokee Loop

Distance: 7 miles total (5-mile loop, 2-mile walk-up)
Difficulty: moderate
Dogs: leashed

Photo cred: Alex Martinez

This ultra-scenic trail includes two of Stone Mountain's most popular hikes, with the walk-up being the more trafficked of the two. 

Tennessee Rock Trail at Black Rock Mountain State Park

Distance: 2.2 miles roundtrip
Difficulty: easy to moderate
Dogs: leashed

Black Rock Mountain is Georgia's highest elevation state park with a tree-covered summit and breathtaking overlook views.

Blood Mountain at Vogel State Park

Distance: 8.5 miles roundtrip
Difficulty: difficult
Dogs: leashed

Blood Mountain is the highest elevation summit on the Appalachian Trail in Georgia, with gorgeous long-range views.

Arkaquah Trail at Brasstown Bald

Distance: 11 miles roundtrip
Difficulty: very difficult
Dogs: leashed

The trail's end features an ancient archeological site with petroglyph symbols drawn onto boulders by Native Americans.

Long Branch Loop at Aska Adventure Area

This two-mile loop near Blue Ridge offers family-friendly hiking trails. It's just easy enough for smaller children, but strenuous enough for adults to feel like they got in a solid workout.

About the Author

James Paisley

Firm Founder + Senior Partner Born and raised in Georgia, Attorney James earned an undergraduate degree at Georgia Tech, graduating with high honors. Afterwards, he went on to study law at Florida State University, where he also graduated near the top of his class. James began his legal career i...

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