Five Points, Little Five Points and Five Points Trickum do more than divide Atlanta — the public transportation hub, the unconventional retail axis and the harrowing suburban intersection define Atlanta. The diverse southern city also has a rapidly growing reputation as a runner’s town.
The city’s mild winter, early spring and prolonged autumn make it a great place for runners to rack up miles. To that end, Atlanta has a vast variety of great running locales, not the least of which is its main thoroughfare and home to the world’s largest 10K, The Peachtree Road Race.
Below is a list of five other fantastic places to walk, jog or run in the greater metropolitan Atlanta area. The list divides the city into sectors which define the rich diversity of Atlanta. Whether you live in “the city too busy to hate” or you visit for pleasure or business, you’ll be close to one of these scenic and safe routes.
1. South: Reynolds Nature Preserve, Morrow, Clayton County
The preserve has over four miles of dirt and wood chip trails. The large outer loop is a mile and a half. It passes two lakes, a pond, and a small creek and has a serious incline on the southwest side. This thickly wooded park keeps the sun at bay in the hot Atlanta summers and abates the winter breezes. It’s a real gem.
2. North: Roswell Riverwalk, Roswell, Fulton County
This flat paved path snakes five miles along the Chattahoochee River, through parks and neighborhoods. It’s a great place to do speed workouts. City planners intend to connect this fabulous path to the Alpharetta Greenway, another terrific linear park for exercise enthusiasts in north Atlanta.
3. West: Silver Comet Trail, Smyrna, Cobb County
Soon to be an interstate path, the Silver Comet Trail (SCT) was built over railroad tracks. The trail currently provides over 30 miles of paved path. The SCT winds through beautiful landscapes. Many inline skaters, walkers, and bikers share this superb course with runners, so be sure to use proper passing etiquette.
4. East: Stone Mountain Park, DeKalb County, Stone Mountain
A 1.3 mile trail leads to the top of the mountain. You can jog up and down, but I don’t advise you make this your first mountain run. It’s steep in several places, and you’ll need appropriate shoes for the changing terrain. Otherwise the mountain park hosts a great selection of running possibilities. There are nature trails and the road around the base of the mountain is five miles in length. Albeit all paved, the scenery while rounding the mountain is astounding and well worth the trip.
5. Midtown: Piedmont Park, Atlanta, Fulton County
Atlanta’s central park has as fine mix of tar and turf for runners. The Atlanta Track Club has provided several water fountains in the park, making it easy to stay hydrated in the heat and humidity well known to Atlanta. If you prefer city streets, then take a turn around the perimeter of the park. It’s a nice 5K with sidewalks all the way.
For further information visit the PATH foundation’s website. Along with the founders of this group, I received a Live Healthy Award from the State of Georgia last year.
Run well and have fun.