Hiking is a great way to get exercise, explore nature, and bond with the family. In Northern Georgia, you have access to some fantastic parks and nature preserves that have hiking trails, whether you’re looking for a challenging trail or an easy kid-friendly stroll. That’s why Crème de la Crème of Alpharetta on Haynes Bridge Road has put together this list of our favorite hiking spots in and around Alpharetta, Georgia.
Big Creek Greenway
The Big Creek Greenway runs along Big Creek all the way from Alpharetta to Roswell. It features a 12-foot wide paved concrete path that’s perfect for all types of activities, including walking, jogging, rollerblading, and biking. You and your family can hike portions of the 9-mile trail over many days because there are multiple entrances to the trail at various locations in both Alpharetta and Roswell. Or, you can hike the whole thing in one go if you want a day’s adventure exploring the wetlands and seeing wildlife like deer, ducks, geese, and blue heron by the water.
Start your hike from Alpharetta near the Alpharetta YMCA, off of Haynes Bridge Road, near North Point Mall, from Kimball Bridge Road, or by Marconi Drive.
Old Mill Park
What was once the site of the Roswell Manufacturing Company mills is now a preserved historic Civil War landmark and public park called Old Mill Park. This Roswell park runs along and over Vickery Creek, providing a beautifully lush view of the bubbling creek, rushing waterfall, lush forest, and fascinating landmark.
There are two trails you can traverse; the Cypress Trail and Dipsea Stairs Loop is 3.7 miles of moderate terrain, while the Tourist Club Via Dipsea Steps-Sun Trail is 3.3 miles. Both take approximately 2 hours to complete, and expect to tackle stairs and potentially muddy slopes. You can also connect to the regional Chattahoochee River trail system for a longer hike.
Milton Fairy and Book Trail
Over in nearby Milton, there’s a unique trail you should check out with your kids called the Milton Fairy and Book Trail. It’s a quaint trail that winds through the wooded area behind the Milton Library and tells you a story along the way. Each year, the Milton Library partners with a children’s author to create a short story told in many parts placed on placards at different markers along the little trail. Not only do the kids get outside for some fresh air and exercise, they also get to flex their creativity muscles, too.
Jones Bridge Trail
Starting at the Jones Bridge Unit of the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area is the Jones Bridge Trail. Located in nearby Sandy Springs, Georgia, this 5.1-mile trail is an easy-to-moderate hike that’s great for all skill levels (with the proper shoes, of course). It hugs the rushing Chattahoochee River, providing amazing sights and sounds for your family hiking adventure. It’s dog-friendly, too.
This trail loops back to the start, making for an easy-to-navigate hike that takes between 1 and 2 hours to complete, depending on how fast you stroll. Parking near the trail costs $5 per day, or $40 for an annual pass that can be used to park in other spots around the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area.
East Palisades and Bamboo Forest
Besides the Jones Bridge Trail, there are many other great hiking spots in the 9,200-acre Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, and the East Palisades Trail and Bamboo Forest is one of the best. This hike is about 3.3 miles round trip, so it takes about an hour and a half to complete. It’s a moderately rated trail with fantastic views of uniquely shaped rock formations, the eastern banks of the Chattahoochee River, historic landmarks, and the lush bamboo forest.
Sope Creek Trail
Another of the amazing trails in the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area is the 2.9-mile Sope Creek Trail. This trail starts at Sope Creek Park in nearby Marietta, winds through a canopy of tall trees in the direction of the Chattahoochee River, and loops back to where you started. What’s more, the forest is green, lush, and full of wildflowers during the warm weather months, providing for an amazingly scenic hike. And if the natural sites weren’t enough, you’re also rewarded with the stunning sight of the historic Sope Creek paper mill’s castle-like ruins.
Amicalola Falls State Park
While the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area is an amazing place to hike that’s not too far from home, it’s definitely worth the hour-or-so drive north to Amicalola Falls State Park. Here you’ll find the southern-most portions of the Appalachian Trail and a gorgeous towering waterfall.
There are many great hikes in this 829-acre park, including the 2-mile hike on the East Ridge Loop Trail to the namesake Amicalola Falls. There’s also the longer nearly 10-mile hike along the Len Foote Hike Inn Trail that goes from the falls to a secluded portion of the park. The half-mile West Ridge Falls Access Trail is an easy trail that has plenty of shade and ends with an amazing view of the falls, a perfect quick hike with the kids.
Tallulah Gorge State Park
Another great North Georgia hiking destination worth the drive from Alpharetta is Tallulah Gorge State Park. In this 2,700-acre park, you’ll find 20 miles of well-kept nature trails. However, many of the trails require you to get a free permit from the park before adventuring. Check the park’s website for more information on permits and how to get one.
There’s a 5.4-mile easy-to-moderate trail called the High Bluff Trail that has amazing views of the gorge and only takes about 3 hours to complete. The Stoneplace Trail is a moderately rated 8.5-mile hike that takes you to one of the park’s camping areas. There are two hard trails in the park — Tallulah Gorge Trail to North Rim Trail Loop and Sliding Rock Trail via South Rim Trail. Both take just over an hour to complete and provide a good challenge to experienced hikers.
So there you have it, eight of the best places to hike near Alpharetta, Georgia. Did we miss any of your family’s favorite hiking destinations in the area? If so, contact Crème de la Crème of Alpharetta on Haynes Bridge Road to let us know. We’ll be sure to add it to our growing list!