By: Cori Dennison – 1st Year – Global Health
When I moved to Atlanta, I never thought I would be able to continue my love for hiking without driving 2 hours up to Chattanooga for a day or weekend. I was happily surprised when I was able to find some great hiking spots within about 30-40 minutes of campus. My favorite part about the parks and trails in Atlanta is that almost all of them offer a bit of history for you to take in as well. Here are some of my favorite places to take a break from classes and enjoy the great outdoors that Atlanta has to offer!
Stone Mountain Park:
Stone Mountain is advertised as a theme park, but this place is filled with hiking and outdoor activities that could last a whole day or weekend. Located 30 minutes from campus this beautiful park has a bunch of different trails to hike along with a lot of history to take in as well. When I first took the most traveled trail in the park, the Walk-Up trail, that takes you to the top of the mountain I was not expecting the very sudden incline, but this trail was definitely a great workout with breathtaking views! The Walk-Up trail is an all stone trail, but the park offers many other nature trails (with less of a dramatic incline) throughout the park. You can also go kayaking and over the summer they have a LaserShow that they put on at night. Whether you’re looking for a day full of hiking or even a little more adventure, this park is a great place to take a mini escape from classes!
Sweetwater Creek State Park:
If you are looking to see what Atlanta really has to offer as far as nature goes, this park is the right spot for you. The trails in this park offer some of the most breathtaking views of Atlanta while also offering a quiet and less touristy hike with a beautiful forest filled with tons of wildlife. This park is a little further from campus at a 40 minute drive, but let me tell you that it is well worth it. This trail is also a great one to walk with your dogs as it is dog-friendly (or if you don’t have a dog you have the opportunity to pet and hang out with other people’s dogs). What I also love about this park is the history that can be found along some of the trails dating back to the Civil War. Specifically, the Orange Trail allows you the opportunity to explore the eastern banks of Sweetwater Creek while also seeing views of Civil War ruins and climbing an elevated ridge to see the Atlanta skyline!
The Powers Island Trail in the Chattahoochee National Recreation Area:
What I love about this particular trail, is that it is one less traveled making it a great spot to get away and really take in the landscape of Atlanta. Located about 30 minutes from campus, this trail is one of many that can be walked In the Chattahoochee National Recreation Area. It is a quiet hiking trail that loops through the forest that falls right by the Chattahoochee riverside. This trail is also great for if you want to bring your dog along for a walk with you as it is a dog-friendly trail.
These are just a few of the many great places to go hiking in and around the Atlanta area. There are so many other places I am excited to hike and explore and I have been pleasantly surprised at the amount of hiking that is available so close to the city! Hiking has been a great way for me to relax and step away from the stress that the semester might bring and I highly recommend it to anyone else looking for a great way to get out, relax and take in the great scenery that Atlanta has to offer.