Sope Creek Trail: Hiking Sope Creek Park
The Sope Creek Trail hikes and runs along a rushing creek, beside Civil War paper mill ruins and to a serene pond at Atlanta's Sope Creek Park.
Tucked into a high-end neighborhood just outside Atlanta, Sope Creek Park offers over 3 miles of hiking, mountain biking and running trails. The Sope Creek Trail travels to the multi-story ruins of a paper mill, destroyed by Union troops during the Civil War. Beside the ruins, Sope Creek flows wide and shallow, coursing through angular shoals under a canopy of trees towards the wide Chattahoochee River just downstream.
(Sope Creek Park is one of many parks in the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area – a network of fantastic parks and hiking trails on the Chattahoochee River near Atlanta.)
Sope Creek Trail: the hike
The hike departs from the Sope Creek trailhead (view the trail map), coursing through a predominantly deciduous forest, rolling over moderate elevation changes along dirt and gravel trails to explore the banks of Sope Creek, the paper mill ruins, tributary streams and a large pond. The Sope Creek Trail also connects to the the popular Cochran Shoals running, hiking and biking trails on the Chattahoochee River.
The creek flows through Sope Creek Park’s eastern side, tumbling over strewn angular boulders in a run past the 19th century paper mill ruins. The mill, built in 1855, was destroyed by Union armies during the Civil War, targeted for its role in paper production used for Confederate currency. The remnants of the foundation and first story walls stand, cathedral-like, beside the creek, and a small spillway waterfall tumbles beside the ruins.
The Sope Creek Trail hikes over 1.5 miles of well-marked, blue-blazed trails wind through the woods, intersecting often as they follow the creek, explore the picturesque Sibley Pond, and trail through young forest. Colorful wildflowers frequently dot the trail in warmer months, nestled into the moist tributary creek valleys and along the banks of Sibley Pond.
The Sope Creek Trail, compared to other Chattachoochee River parks such as Cochran Shoals, is often less crowded by visitors, feeling similar to the remote hiking trails of North Georgia. The trails offer a local escape from Atlanta’s whirlwind of traffic, noise and concrete.