Atlanta is a city with endless possibilites for running and walking. We are fortunate to live in a place with miles of running routes, trails and paths that suit all types of training distances. Below is a small sampling of the most popular running routes and training destinations:
Downtown Loop 1:
The Peachtree (3-5 miles) From Woodruff Park, take Peachtree Street north to West Peachtree. Take West Peachtree north. Go right at 15th Street to Peachtree Street and then head south on Peachtree back to Woodruff Park for your five-mile loop. For a four mile run, cross right to Peachtree on North Avenue, for a three-mile loop cross on 10th.
Downtown Loop 2:
Piedmont Park via Peachtree and 10th Streets (7 miles) Piedmont Park is one of Atlanta’s loveliest running spots. From Woodruff Park, take Peachtree Street north to 10th Street. Turn right on 10th and continue a few blocks to the Charles Allen entrance to Piedmont Park, a total distance of 3 miles. Running the outer road within the Park will give you an additional 1.1 miles. Take the same route home.
Alpharetta (Big Creek Greenway – North Point):
For directions and information visit their web site. They also have links on their web page to trails in other parts of Georgia, including the Appalachian Trail. The Big Creek Greenway is a non-motorized paved path that is approximately 6 miles long. There is also a soft mulch path off from the main trail.
One of Atlanta’s most scenic neighborhoods, Brookhaven’s streets offer a popular three-mile loop. To get there, take the Northeast MARTA line to the Brookhaven Station. (Note: Make sure the signs on your train list “DORAVILLE” as the destination.) Then cross Peachtree to Brookhaven Drive (Dunkin’ Donuts on the corner). A short way ahead you’ll come to a fork near a golf course. Turn right, and thereafter bear left at every intersection: This will take you on a three-mile loop around the golf course. Of course, you can go the other way around, too.
Run the Peachtree:
It may not be July 4, and you can’t go down the middle of the street, but you can still run or walk the Peachtree course. Take the Northeast MARTA line to the Lenox Station; go up (west) Lenox Road to Peachtree. Turn left on Peachtree, the actual start is opposite the Lenox Mall marquee. As you head down Peachtree on either side of the road, look for the small orange peach outlines on the sidewalk at each mile point. Miles 2 to 3 slope down, miles 4 to 5 are up. (Peachtree Creek, in the middle, was the last natural barrier, and the last great Confederate resistance to Sherman’s troops during the Civil War). Just after the five-mile mark, turn left at 10th Street. The finish is located near the Charles Allen entrance into Piedmont Park. To get back to where you started, take 10th St. past Peachtree to the Midtown MARTA station and head north on MARTA to the Lenox Station.
Silver Comet Trail (Cobb, Paulding and Polk Counties) and Atlanta/DeKalb Trails:
For details and access points, please call the PATH office at (404) 875-7284 or visit their web site. The Silver Comet Trail offers 37 miles of paved trails open from dawn to dusk for non-motorized forms of transportation (running, walking, rollerblading and biking). The Atlanta/DeKalb Trails offer 124 miles of paved trails in various locations in and around the Atlanta/DeKalb area (some non-motorized paths). For a complete map visit their web page.
East of Atlanta, Stone Mountain looms as the largest piece of exposed granite on the earth. (It’s part of a vein that continues through Alabama.) Stone Mountain Park is loaded with recreational opportunities including numerous footpaths and trails. To get there, take I-85 north to I-285 east towards Augusta. Exit US 78 east toward Athens. A few miles later, take the Stone Mountain Park exit (not the exit for the town of Stone Mountain.) The park entrance is right around the turn; there’s a fee of $10.00 per car.
Once inside, proceed to the main parking lot near the railroad depot. There are two road loops, 5 and 8 miles, which go around the mountain, and runners start both by heading west (right, facing the railroad tracks) on Robert E. Lee Blvd. At about two miles the loops split where Stonewall Jackson Drive splits off to the right: 5-milers stay straight, 8-milers take the right. The shorter loop is gently rolling. If you stay left it will return you to the parking area. The 8-miler contains a long hill about halfway, as well as a dramatic view of the lake. When you reach the golf course, keep left to return to Robert E. Lee Blvd. and the railroad depot.
For hikers and off-road runners, there are a number of trails to explore, or you can climb the mountain itself. The western slope, near the Memorial Drive entrance, is accessible to climbers, and every Easter morning hundreds make the trek at dawn for sunrise services. Once you’ve climbed it, you can always take the tram down! For information and cost of the taking the tram, call (770) 498-5600 or visit their web site.
The flat trails of the lazy “hooch” are beautifully situated within 15 minutes of the city, and therefore very popular. From I-75 north, take I-285 (the perimeter highway) east towards Augusta. Exit soon at Northside Drive; turn left on Northside Drive, which circles around and crosses onto Interstate North Parkway. [From I-85 north, Take I-285 west, exit Northside Drive, which crosses onto Interstate North Parkway.] River parking lots are next to bridge off Parkway; parking fees may apply. The trail heads north along the river; the Cochran Shoals Fitness Trail is a 3-mile loop with the parking area at Columns Drive as the halfway point. Columns Drive itself can be combined for an 8-miler. Hours are from dawn to dusk. Information on this park and all national parks (including nearby Kennesaw National Battlefield, which has many popular trails) is available at their web site.