City dwellers of Atlanta looking to escape the concrete jungle and the hustle and bustle of their every day lives can escape with a scenic hike! The ancient worn Southern Appalachians of Georgia provide a network of some of the country’s best hiking from as little as 30 minutes away to a pleasant two or three-hour drive to the north. Following are a few of the best hiking trails for Atlanta natives or anyone looking for their next adventure in the area.
Georgia’s famous monolith with its etchings of Confederate leaders has a walkup trail that is a fairly easy trek for hikers. Located 30 minutes from downtown, the trail is a two-mile round trip for the fainter of heart with the option to take the Skyride back down. The more adventurous can add a five-mile journey by exiting the summit via the Cherokee Trail. They’re rewarded with another city view, a serene forest, and a rushing creek. Otherwise, hikers can still see 60 miles away on a clear day from the summit.
Springer Mountain Trail
Located at the southern terminus of the famed Appalachian Trail, Springer Mountain is part of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Springer Mountain Trail is a moderately challenging hike. It’s more than worth the two-hour drive from the city, especially in the fall when the forests of hardwoods are ablaze with color. The wide curve upward gets rockier as the trail climbs higher. Listen closely to hear the rush of nearby Amicalola Falls.
Sliding Rock Trail, Tallulah Gorge State Park
Often called the Grand Canyon of the East, Tallulah Gorge isn’t quite as deep, but its towering granite walls and water-filled depths are impressive enough to make the three-hour drive from Atlanta very worthwhile. Sliding Rock Trail is part of the Tallulah Gorge State Park and leads to a natural rock slide and swimming hole that provides a chilly dip on a hot Georgia day. It’s a challenging hike that requires a permit from the park’s ranger office, but hikers are rewarded with a swinging suspension bridge, soaring views, and thundering waterfalls.
Bartram Trail, Rabun Bald
Rabun Bald is the second highest peak in the North Georgia mountains and located a little over two hours from Atlanta. Bartram Trail, an easy to moderate hike, is within Sky Valley, a neighborhood in Rabun County. Hikers are surprised to find that the direct path leads to a summit of over 5,000 feet with a stunning view of the Appalachian Mountains. In the spring and summer, the trail is enriched with vibrant wildflowers, rhododendron, and wild blueberries. A wooden platform provides a 660-degree view.