Cochran Shoals Trail: Chattahoochee River Running & Walking

Hike, walk, run, or bike over 4 miles of wide, level trails at Cochran Shoals park along the Chattahoochee River in Atlanta.


Cochran Shoals, one of the most popular and beautiful of the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area trails, is located just north of Atlanta’s I-285 perimeter highway. This riverside park offers over 4 miles of fantastic, wide graveled trails popular with runners, walkers and mountain bikers along a wide, shoal and whitewater-filled stretch of the Chattahoochee River.

Hike, run or bike the Cochran Shoals Trail just outside of Atlanta on the Chattahoochee River

The Cochran Shoals Trail is one of two trails along the Cochran Shoals section of the Chattahoochee River. Also check out the Powers Island Trail on the river’s opposite shore, just across the Interstate North Parkway bridge – a great 2.5 mile hike or trail run on a Chattahoochee island.

The Cochran Shoals hiking, walking and jogging trails travel the banks of the Chattahoochee River near Atlanta

Cochran Shoals’ popularity with runners and walkers draws from its wildlife-rich marshland habitats, excellent Chattahoochee River views and its nearly level elevation on its popular 5k running trail.

The Cochran Shoals hiking, walking and jogging trails travel the banks of the Chattahoochee River near Atlanta

Cochran Shoals Trail: the run

The Cochran Shoals Trail departs the Interstate North Parkway trailhead (view maps and driving directions), winding 1.5 miles north along the banks of the Chattahoochee River. Views of the wide, flowing river, punctuated by angular rock shoals, are nearly continuous throughout this initial stretch of the trail. The trail travels varied terrain – wetlands, river banks, grasslands and forest as trails north toward the Columns Drive trailhead and parking area. A boardwalk departs trail left at .6 mile, offering exploration of a marshy wetland popular for viewing wildlife.

A boardwalk on the Cochran Shoals Trail explores a marshy wetland

The trail reaches the Columns Drive parking area at 1.6 miles, looping southwest and climbing very moderate and gradual elevation. A side trail departs trail right at 1.75 miles, offering a connection to the nearby Sope Creek hiking trails and Civil War-era paper mill ruins. The trail passes wide, cleared grassland and marsh before crossing a creek via bridge at 2 miles before turning to loop southeast in a return to the Interstate North Parkway trailhead.

The Cochran Shoals trails are the most popular in the Chattahoochee National Recreation Area

Expect traffic at Cochran Shoals, especially on weekends and evenings the warmer months – despite a large parking areas, spaces at Cochran Shoals are limited during peak times.


Cochran Shoals Trail: Directions & Details


$3 day pass, or included with a Chattahoochee River NRA annual pass.

Please Remember

Always leave no trace and follow these trail etiquette tips.

GPS Coordinates

33.903800, -84.445383     //     N33 54.228 W84 26.723

Driving Directions

Elevation Profile

Cochran Shoals running trail on the Chattahoochee River: Elevation Profile

Cochran Shoals Trail Map

Trail data and photos © Summit19 Studio LLC. This map is not a substitute for official trail maps or topographic maps.
Eric Champlin is a writer and photographer who loves to hike, run, backpack, kayak and cycle the southeast. He’s the editor and founder of Atlanta Trails and Asheville Trails, online magazines that cover the South’s best outdoor adventures. His mission? To inspire others to get fit outdoors and explore the South’s incredible scenic beauty.