West Palisades Trail at Paces Mill: top Chattahoochee River hikes in Atlanta

Bob Callan Trail & Rottenwood Creek Trail at Paces Mill / West Palisades

Hike, bike, walk or run the 3.6 mile, paved Bob Callan Trail along Rottenwood Creek and the Chattahoochee River at Paces Mill Park and West Palisades in Atlanta.

The West Palisades Trail travels one of the Chattahoochee River’s most popular and scenic trails near Vinings. It’s a network of running, walking and biking trails – the West Palisades Trail, Bob Callan Trail and Rottenwood Creek trails – that follow a paved path through wooded, wildlife-rich forest and riverine ecosystems.

The West Palisades Trail follows the broad, grand Chattahoochee River upstream before swinging to follow a tributary creek to a small waterfall at the trail’s end. This 3.6-mile trail also offers access to the Akers Mill trail, a connection point to the nearby running, walking and biking trails at Cochran Shoals. (West Palisades is one of many fantastic trails along the Chattahoochee River in metro Atlanta. Check out our complete collection of Chattahoochee River running, hiking, biking and walking trails.)

The West Palisades, Rottenwood Creek and Paces Mill Trails follow the Chattahoochee River near Atlanta

West Palisades Trail: the run

The West Palisades Trail departs the trailhead on the north end of the park’s parking area off Cobb Parkway (view maps and driving directions), traveling northeast and following the Chattahoochee’s banks. Wildlife, including deer, geese, and heron, are often sighted on and along the river.

A blue heron fishes the Chattahoochee River near the West Palisades Rottenwood Creek Trail in Atlanta

The West Palisades Trail passes under an I-75 overpass, its enormous concrete supports towering cathedral-like over the wide, smooth-flowing river, at just over .5 mile. The trail crosses a bridge spanning Rottenwood Creek before arcing northwest. Several dirt side trails depart on trail right, diving into the forest lining the Chattahoochee. This area of the West Palisades Park is more remote and offers great trail running and hiking trails alongside the river.

The paved trail meanders, following the contoured banks of Rottenwood Creek on the left. The trail crosses a wooden boardwalk before spanning the creek via a large wood and metal bridge. Several side trails depart trail right, offering access to Rottenwood Creek’s shallow, pebble-bottomed flow – a popular swimming hole for dogs.

The West Palisades Trail crosses Rottenwood Creek via bridge near Atlanta's Vinings neighborhood

The trail winds in a steep climb towards Akers Mill Road, with views of the creek valley extending right below the trail.

After curving through switchbacks in a continuous elevation climb, the West Palisades Trail crosses Rottenwood Creek via an elevated bridge. A tumbling, sliding waterfall cascades over exposed rock tumbles below the overhead I-285 overpass, a juxtaposition of nature and urban development. As with many Chattahoochee National Recreation Area parks in metro Atlanta, city and nature blend here, offering local outdoor adventure to the city’s in-town neighborhoods.

Wildlife and nature blend with Atlanta urban development at the Chattahoochee's West Palisades park

Departing the falls, the West Palisades Trail doubles back, retracing to the trailhead and completing the walk, run or cycle at 3.6 miles.

West Palisades Trail & Bob Callan / Rottenwood Creek Trail: Directions & Details

Parking

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

Please Remember

Always leave no trace, tell someone where you're going, pack safety and wayfinding essentials, don't rely on a cell phone signal to find your way, and follow these trail etiquette tips.

GPS Coordinates

33.869550, -84.454250     //     N33 52.173 W84 27.255

Driving Directions


Elevation Profile

West Palisades Trail on the Chattahoochee River Elevation Profile

West Palisades Trail & Bob Callan / Rottenwood Creek 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.