Known as the “City in the Forest,” Atlanta has an abundance of greenery that engulfs its skyline and suburbs. The metropolis is lined with magnolias, dogwoods, Southern pines, and oaks, offering an immense amount of coverage compared to other cities. Pack up your most durable duffel bag, and experience Atlanta for yourself. The lush greenery within the city and just outside of it is the reason Atlanta is one of our favorite, most underrated destinations for spending time outside.
1. Hike Along the Atlanta Beltline
This tree-lined concrete trail is part of a developing project, which will eventually be a 33-mile trail network that runs through the city and touches almost 20 intown communities. The project is meant to celebrate Atlanta’s creative community, collaborating with visual artists, performers, and musicians. Since the project is still in-the-works, here are the top two portions to peruse.
Trails to Hike in Atlanta
Eastside Trail - This was the first development of the BeltLine. Lasting three miles, the Eastside Trail has a vibrant art scene complete with sculptures, murals, businesses, and even events.
Westside Trail - Walk through the less-traveled portion of the BeltLine for a more spacious experience that’s still full of life. Pass through Atlanta's Urban Farm, Washington Park, and tons of bars, restaurants, and even mile-long spur trails in case your feel like getting away from the crowds.
2. Cycle through and around the City
It may be surprising that Atlanta actually has a generous network of biking trails for both its city streets and surrounding mountains. Pedal around on some of the top biking trails within an hour of Atlanta. Here are a few favorites.
Mountain Bike Trails In and Near Atlanta
Big Creek Park - This trail system contains loops ranging in skill level from beginner to advance with two pump tracks and a freeride area. This is a great option for those looking to improve their technical skills.
House of Dream Trail - Cruise alongside spectacular mountain views on this 5-mile trail filled with intense descents.
Olde Rope Mill Park - This park has several trails shorter than two miles, and is great for someone looking to improve on their technical biking skills. Just a few miles up I-575, Blankets Creek offers seven different trails.
Stone Mountain Trail - This 19-mile trail starts at Centennial Olympic Park and ends at Stone Mountain. Ride through suburbs and sightsee Carter Center, downtown Decatur, and more.
3. Paddle Out on a Kayak
The thriving system of Atlanta's trees create shaded creeks and lakes ideal for a boating adventure. Find inner tranquility as you paddle in a canoe or kayak on one of these picturesque water havens within a short drive of Atlanta. Spring is also a popular time for SUP yoga classes on various lakes and rivers, and many locals opt for the inflatable donut. No matter the intensity of your adventure, Atlanta offers you a place to get your toes wet.
Places to Boat Near Atlanta
Lake Acworth and Allatoona - Just thirty minutes from downtown, Acworth is known as “Lake City.” Its two lakes range in skill level, with Acworth’s large calm waters lending itself to beginners. Allatoona’s Falls around Little River will satisfy more advanced kayakers.
Chattahoochee River - The National River Water Trail offers a cruise-worthy 48 miles of kayaking trails passing some supreme spots for watching wildlife. Catch the locals on tubes, standup paddle boards near Azalea Park.
Ocmulgee River Trail - This massive network of waterways is about 90 miles out of Atlanta, the furthest of the above options but worth it. Ocmulgee offers a 200-mile trail network that allows you to choose your own adventure. Set aside a few days for a longer paddling trip and camp on the sandbars of its mini frested islands. Just be aware of gators!
4. Stroll Through the Botanical Garden
Spring is the ideal time to visit Atlanta’s Botanical Garden and wander around vibrant, freshly bloomed flowers. Walk alongside lavender-blue Algerian Iris, tulips, daffodils, orchids, hyacinths, and more. You'll also see apple trees that sprout tiny pink flowers, signaling the initial maturing of this sweet fruit. Afterwards, grab a patio lunch as you look over fields of flowers for a colorful day of relaxation.
5. Backpack through Mountains
Georgia is home to the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail and 78.6 miles along the Blue Ridge Mountains. There are tons of other epic campgrounds, both developed and primitive, for those who crave space off the beaten path. Wherever you go, don’t forget to pack the essentials! If a multi-day hiking trip isn’t on the itinerary, these areas also offer day hikes.
Mountain Trails near Atlanta
Blue Ridge Mountains - Just 90 miles north of Atlanta lies 106,000 acres of forest, full of hiking trails, trout streams, climbing routes, and camping opportunities. After your camp trip, hit the nearby town of McCaysville, which is filled with sample craft breweries, upscale shops, and galleries.
High Falls State Park - With river and lakeside campsites, campers can catch their own white bass, hike along the Towaliga River, and swim in waterholes, all within an hour of Atlanta.
Bartram Trail - Venture through 35-miles of remote, temperate rainforest corridors and forest. About 100 miles north of Atlanta, this multi-day hike is friendly for beginner backpackers, as it’s relatively flat, following along the Chattooga River and passing effervescent waterfalls.
Embark on Your Adventure with KÜHL
We encourage taking the road less traveled for locals and travelers alike. Follow and tag us on Instagram @kuhl so we can see your Atlanta adventures, and shop some of our favorite spring styles below.
Nancy Raven Kirk Nancy is a writer, traveler, and outdoor enthusiast originally from Los Angeles. She's had work published in the L.A. Times, OC Weekly, and various other publications. Check out her website at www.copybykirk.com.
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