Discovering ATL While Social Distancing

By: Kyle Winston – Epidemiology

Our lives have changed dramatically in the past few weeks because of the coronavirus pandemic. With the public health response possibly lasting months, it’s important to find ways to get out of the house while still maintaining social distancing. Here are a few of my favorite outdoor places that I’ve visited in my time at Rollins!

Stone Mountain

This popular park is only a 20-minute drive from Emory’s campus. While some activities may be closed due to coronavirus, their many hiking trails remain open. The park is filled with trails, but my favorite is the one-mile Walk-Up Trail. It’s a difficult hike up the mountain, which is one of the largest rocks in the world, but the views of Atlanta at the top are worth it. If you like Stone Mountain, Panola Mountain State Park and Davidson-Arabia Mountain Nature Preserve have similar hikes up other granite monadnocks.

Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park

Visible from the eighth-floor balcony of the Claudia Nance Rollins building, Kennesaw Mountain is only 30 minutes away. The mountain was the site of an important Civil War battle along Union General William T. Sherman’s march to burn the city of Atlanta. At this park, you can walk along the battlefields, see the monuments to the troops, and learn about an important part of Atlanta’s history. The hiking trail to the summit also offers a great workout with amazing views of the sunrise over the city.

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Cloudland Canyon State Park

North Georgia, home to the southern reaches of the Appalachian Mountains, is filled with beautiful mountain trails and several state parks to choose from. I love Cloudland Canyon State Park because of its variety. It has creeks, waterfalls, caves, mountains, and even canyons. The trails here are long enough to fill a whole day and I’ve run into many fellow Rollins students while hiking here. Of course, now it’s important to remember to stay at least six feet away from other people.

These are just a few of the places I’ve been in my year at Rollins. There’s so much out there to explore! Hiking has been a great way for me to take my mind off school and take time to relax. In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, it’s a fantastic way to escape my apartment and still be socially distant.

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