The hiking and running trails at Sope Creek trek along a rushing creek, beside Civil War paper mill ruins and to a serene pond north of Atlanta.
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Tucked into a high-end neighborhood just outside Atlanta, Sope Creek offers over 3 miles of hiking, mountain biking and running trails. Here on the banks of Sope Creek stand the multi-story ruins of a paper mill, destroyed by Union troops during the Civil War. The creek flows wide and shallow, coursing through angular shoals as it rushes under a canopy of deciduous trees towards the wide Chattahoochee River just downstream.
(Sope Creek is one of many parks in the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area – a system of parks and hiking trails on the Chattahoochee in metro Atlanta.)
Sope Creek’s trails (view the trail map) course 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. Sope Creek’s trails also connect to the the popular Cochran Shoals running, hiking and biking trails on the Chattahoochee River.
Sope Creek flows through the 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.
Over 3.5 miles of well-marked, blue-blazed trails wind through the woods, intersecting often as they follow Sope 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 trails at Sope Creek, compared to other Chattachoochee parks such as Cochran Shoals, are often less crowded by visitors, feeling similar to the remote hiking trails of north Georgia and offering a local escape from Atlanta’s whirlwind of traffic, noise and concrete.
Parking: $3, or included with Chattahoochee National Recreation Area annual pass
33.937600, -84.44300 (N33 56.256 W84 26.580)
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