15 Of The Most Incredible Hiking Trails In Atlanta

15 Totally Gorgeous Hikes In & Around Atlanta For All Levels

There’s so much to love about Atlanta. Named as one of the best places to visit in the world by National Geographic and Lonely Planet, Atlanta is packed with culture and beauty.

It’s the most populated city in Georgia, with a sprawling urban metropolis filled with amazing architecture and lots of things to do. Outside of the city, Atlanta is home to some of the most beautiful scenic spots in the world.

You won’t be short of outdoor adventures if you decide to visit Atlanta, and the many trails, forests and mountainous areas are a paradise for hikers of all abilities.

Keep reading to learn about 15 totally gorgeous hikes in and around Atlanta and you’ll be spoilt for choice! The hiking spots are ordered in terms of easy, moderate and hard difficulty levels, so no matter what your ability you can enjoy the greatest hiking trails in Atlanta.

Before we go through the best hiking trails in Atlanta, you should know what items to bring with you on a hiking trip, so that you have everything you might need to hand and can make the best out of your hiking adventure.

What Should You Take On A Hiking Trip?

15 Totally Gorgeous Hikes In & Around Atlanta for All Levels

Sturdy Backpack

First, you’ll need a sturdy hiking backpack to store all of your hiking gear. You should make sure the backpack is comfortable and you can carry it for long periods of time. 

15 Totally Gorgeous Hikes In & Around Atlanta for All Levels

Water Bottle

It’s really important to stay hydrated when you’re hiking, so a durable water bottle is a must. 

15 Totally Gorgeous Hikes In & Around Atlanta for All Levels

Sunscreen

If you’re hiking during hot weather, make sure to pack some sunscreen to avoid a nasty sunburn!

15 Totally Gorgeous Hikes In & Around Atlanta for All Levels

Insect Repellent Spray

Spraying yourself with some bug spray such as DEET will help you avoid bug bites, a common occurrence on hiking trips.

15 Totally Gorgeous Hikes In & Around Atlanta for All Levels

Hiking Clothes

Picking up some breathable hiking clothes will help you stay cool in hot weather. If you’re hiking in cold weather, make sure to layer up with high quality base layers and a decent specialised hiking jacket.

Hiking socks and boots are also a great idea to prevent injuries or discomfort from rough terrain, as well as soaking wet feet from puddles and rainfall!

Trekking Poles

Trekking Poles

Trekking poles aren’t required for all hikes, but may be a good addition to a particularly mountainous or rocky terrain area.

15 Totally Gorgeous Hikes In & Around Atlanta for All Levels

A Hiking Cap And Sunglasses

To keep sunlight out of your eyes, take a brimmed hat or cap and a pair of hiking sunglasses with you.

15 Totally Gorgeous Hikes In & Around Atlanta for All Levels

First Aid Kit

Accidents can happen on hikes, so make sure you pack a first aid kit in case of any injuries. Include an emergency blanket too, so you can keep warm at night if you get lost. It’s important to look out for your safety when you’re out hiking in the wilderness.

Now we’ll list 15 totally gorgeous hikes in and around Atlanta in order of difficulty. So have a look, and pick a hiking adventure for your next outdoor Atlanta trip! 

Hiking Difficulty Level

Easy

Our first three hikes have an easy difficulty level, so may be the best choice for families with young children and those new to hiking, or even just if you feel like a more peaceful and leisurely hike to take in all of the beautiful scenery and get some gentle exercise.

15 Totally Gorgeous Hikes In & Around Atlanta for All Levels

Sope Creek Trail

Location:

Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area

Distance:

3.2 miles

The Sope Creek Trail is an enjoyable and historically rich hike. Hikers can take a peaceful talk through the forest and the ruins of a paper mill.

Hikers can also take in the beauty of a nearby creek and the forest serves as a lovely shady walk when it’s hot out.

15 Totally Gorgeous Hikes In & Around Atlanta for All Levels

Vickery Creek Trail

Location:

Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area

Distance:

3.4 miles

The Vickery Creek Trail is easy to find and packed with natural beauty. The trails form a beautiful loop through a forest and straight along the creek shorelines.

Hikers can view the gorgeous waterfall and a historic bridge.

Cascade Springs Nature Preserve

Cascade Springs Nature Preserve

Location:

Southwest Atlanta

Distance:

1.9 miles

The Cascade Springs Nature preserve is a calm and easy trail with a grotto and a hidden waterfall, historic ruins and an amphitheatre.

Make your way through the beautiful green forests and see if you can spot the local wildlife. A great option for families with young children!

Moderate

The next few hiking trails are all of moderate difficulty, so may be best suited to those who have a little hiking experience and who want a bit more exercise than they would get with the easier routes.

15 Totally Gorgeous Hikes In & Around Atlanta for All Levels

Sweetwater Creek Red Trail

Location:

Sweetwater Creek State Park

Distance:

1.9 miles

The Sweetwater Creek Red Trail is a highly popular hiking trail. It’s a beautifully scenic forest area with a whitewater creek. Hikers can enjoy the ruins of a Civil War mill and the impressive shorelines of Sweetwater Creek.

Island Ford Loop Trail

Location:

Island Ford Park

Distance:

5.4 miles

The Island Ford Loop Trail is perfect for experiencing a beautiful hiking destination for a little longer. It’s a paradise for wildlife, including deer, turtles and lots of different types of birds.

You can gaze at stunning waterfalls and wildflowers as you make your way through this gorgeous nature trail.

East Palisades Trail

Location:

Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area

Distance:

2.6 miles

Intertwining picturesque views of the Atlanta city skyline with the breath-taking Chattahoochee River, this gorgeous hiking trail is packed with natural beauty and also provides a little more of a workout for hikers looking to get a bit out of breath on their hike.

Sawnee Mountain Indian Seats Trail

Location:

Sawnee Mountain Preserve

Distance:

3.1 miles

The Sawnee Mountain Indian Seats Trail is located right on top of a beautiful mountain with panoramic views of rolling hills and waterways. This hike is a little challenging but so worth the effort with it’s exceptional scenery.

Stone Mountain Walk Up And Cherokee Trail Loop

Location:

Stone Mountain Park

Distance:

4.9 miles

A highly popular choice among moderate-level hikers, the Stone Mountain Walk Up and Cherokee Trail Loop is a fun concoction of dirt and concrete trails with gorgeous forest areas and a variety of historic ruins for you to check out.

Take this route if you would like to see lots of great sights and don’t mind working up a bit of a sweat on the hills.

Sitton’s Gulch Trail

Location:

Cloudland Canyon State Park

Distance:

5 miles

The Sitton’s Gulch Trail features several beautiful waterfalls and scenic bridges. It’s surrounded by shady forest areas and you can spot the local wildlife as you journey through this haven of wild scenery and natural beauty spots.

15 Totally Gorgeous Hikes In & Around Atlanta for All Levels

Arabia Mountain Top Trail

Location:

Arabia Mountain Park

Distance:

1.3-3.8 miles

The Arabia Mountain Top Trail is a diverse hiking experience for those hikers who enjoy something a little different from their usual hikes.

During the first part of the trail, you’ll need to transverse a granite slab. Rocky terrain, historic ruins and waterfalls make up the bulk of this hike, and it’s lack of forest areas make it unique to the other trails on our list.

Tennessee Rock Trail

Tennessee Rock Trail

Location:

Black Rock Mountain State Park

Distance:

2.2 miles

For total calmness, serenity and peace during your hike, you’ll want to choose the Tennessee Rock Trail. It’s packed with dense forest and lots of shady areas, with panoramic views of the Appalachian Mountains.

Some tricky ascents and descents will add to the fun and get you feeling a little out of breath.

Hard

The next few hikes on our list are for more experienced hikers with good levels of fitness, who are looking for a more challenging hike.

These trails are not suitable for beginners and cover some pretty long distances for hikers who want to be outdoors for an extended period.

Pine Mountain Trail 

Location:

F. D. Roosevelt State Park

Distance:

22.2 miles

This very long 22.2 mile hiking trail is rugged and hard work, with far-reaching wooded areas, sweeping mountain views and a gorgeous selection of waterfalls.

Some people might need to take two days to complete this trail, so bring a tent and set up at the campsites along this trail.

 15 Totally Gorgeous Hikes In & Around Atlanta For All Levels

Brasstown Bald/Arkaquah Trail

Location:

Brasstown Wilderness

Distance:

Up to 12 miles

The Brasstown Bald/Arkaquah trail is perfect for a full day of hiking in the great outdoors. A vast wilderness filled with breathtaking scenes, mountain views, and an array of valleys and inclines, the Brasstown/Arkaquah is a must-do for experiencing hikers looking for great scenery and a big challenge.

 15 Totally Gorgeous Hikes In & Around Atlanta For All Levels

Len Foote Hike Inn And Amicalola Falls

Location:

Chattahoochee National Forest

Distance:

9.6 miles

One of the most resourceful routes in Atlanta, the Len Foote Hike Inn is a few miles into this excellent trail, where you can find shelter, food, and a place to stay.

A difficult trail with steep inclines and rough terrains, the Len Foote Hike Inn and Amicalola Falls is not for the inexperienced hiker.

Georgia’s biggest waterfall is your reward for managing this challenging hike, which is just as breath-taking as it sounds.

15 Totally Gorgeous Hikes In & Around Atlanta For All Levels

Blood Mountain

Location:

Vogel State Park

Distance:

4.3 miles

A local favourite, the Blood Mountain hike features beautiful views and a forest-based creek with little waterfalls and gorgeous mountain views.

Tackling this challenging trail is highly rewarding, as it offers some of the best world-famous scenery in all of Atlanta.

Hiking Safety Tips

Now that you’ve read through our 15 totally gorgeous hikes in and around Atlanta guide, we’ll run you through some quick hiking safety tips so you can ensure that you stay safe and enjoy your hiking experience as much as possible. These tips especially apply to the more challenging hiking trails. 

Things to think about before you start hiking in and around Atlanta

Weather

Check the weather before you start hiking. You’ll need to make sure you take care in bad weather, and always bring the correct hiking gear most suited to the weather conditions.

Distance

Some hikes are relatively short, and some hikes are much longer. Make sure you have enough time to complete the distance and plan ahead.

Hiking And Fitness Level

Our list is split into difficulty levels. As a beginner, you don’t want to start with a hard trail. Similarly, if you’re a seasoned hiking professional, the easy level routes might be too boring for you.

Elevation

Check how steep the inclines are on your trail. If you’re not very fit, you don’t want to be tackling lots of big inclines.

Resources

Make sure you have everything you need for your hike. You might not get service for a long time during your hike, so make sure to let people know you are going on a hike.

Don’t Hike Alone

If you hike alone and something bad happens, you may be too far out in the wilderness to get help. Hiking with others is important for everyone’s safety. 

Plan Your Route

Make sure you know where you’re going, and plan your time, so that you don’t get lost or end up hiking in the night. 

We hope you enjoyed checking out our guide to the best hiking spots in Atlanta.

Hopefully, you have found a hiking trail that has piqued your interest and will be able to enjoy your outdoor adventure very soon! There are a vast array of beautiful nature spots in and around Atlanta, so whether you’re visiting Atlanta or if you live in Atlanta, you’re sure to find a hiking trail to suit you.

Remember, it’s really important to consider yours and your hiking buddies’ safety when embarking on a new trail, especially the longer and more challenging routes.

Emily Winters