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Top 5 Atlanta running trails

Monday, March 10th, 2008

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.


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About the author

Venere Travel Blog writer tom laporte

Tom Laporte is an avid runner. He has been running for nearly 20 years and had exercised everyday without fail for over 10 years. When not on the road Tom is a writer and educator.

8 responses to “Top 5 Atlanta running trails”

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  1. Derry Smith says:
    October 4th, 2008 at 15:29

    Hey Tom,

    Thank you for finding some places to run. I would like to find a safe paved or dirt trail that loops around. I’m looking for a loop that has water stations or fountains and is between 3 to 7 miles in length. I want to avoid traffic areas and I’m looking for a scenic, peaceful place. There was a great place like this in Temple Terrace, Florida, where I used to live. I havn’t found a place like this yet here in Georgia and I miss it. Today I’m going to run around stone mountain like you suggested, but I am concerned about staying hydrated. I don’t really like running around vehicles either. I guess I will stash some water bottles along the route. I’m not excited about running around the same quarter mile loop at a local park any more.

    Again Thanks,

  2. Don M. says:
    March 8th, 2009 at 17:32

    Sorry for necroposting. Just wanted to add to the Stone Mountain post and comment: There is also a 5-ish mile dirt trail (Cherokee Trail) around the base that weaves in and out of the lakes, crossing the paved path and the railroad tracks in a few places. It can get pretty technical, not a smooth garden path all the way around. Hydration can be found at a few locations around the perimeter, if you know where to look. The pathside water fountains rarely work, but there are toilet facilities with fountains at the base of the walk-up trail (Mile 0), at the playground (Mile 1.5), and probably at the Grist Mill (Mile 3) although I don’t know where exactly. These locations are also roughly where the Cherokee Trail crosses the paved path.

  3. Marc Frederick says:
    March 13th, 2009 at 06:39

    Great article! we have a vast database of trails and riders that frequent those trails. Most of these trails biking locations will not be paved, but many are flat and even young children can manage to navigate them. Time to start getting ready for spring mountain trails biking

  4. Kieran says:
    July 20th, 2009 at 22:21

    Another great trail is in Cobb County, just off Powers Ferry Rd. It’s in the Chatahoochee National Park area. It is a 5K path on dirt/gravel/pine straw (depending on the season). It is a great place to train, but it costs $3 to park or you can purchase an annual pass for about $25. Check it out.

  5. John Koch says:
    August 15th, 2010 at 20:41

    Sorry for bumping this old post, but just wanted to let people know that I have many of these trails mapped out and described in detail over at my blog. Check it out:

  6. Scott Bradley says:
    September 7th, 2010 at 20:30

    I am going to be in Atlanta this weekend from Friday noon until Monday noon. Need a good long run Saturday morning (or Friday evening). I am supposed to do 14 miles for my full marathon training.

    I know nothing about downtown Atlanta except where I will be staying at the Holiday Inn at Holiday Inn
    ATLANTA , GA 30303.

    I see a few routes on, but I’m not sure how safe they are. Do you have any suggestions for me?


  7. Jason Brown says:
    September 7th, 2011 at 21:02

    13.1® Atlanta Marathon and Karhu 5K events will take place in Town Brookhaven on Sunday, October 2, beginning at 7 AM.

    The course encompasses Town Brookhaven in Atlanta’s Brookhaven community, situated on Peachtree Road, north of Lenox Square Mall and Phipps Plaza, and borders the historic Oglethorpe University.

    The 13.1® Atlanta is also walker friendly and will remain open for three hours and 30 minutes (16 minute/mile pace). Participants have until Sept. 28 to register and can do so online at Cost is $25 for 5K and $75 for half marathon.

    August 14th, 2012 at 22:30


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