Run, walk or bike the five-mile, paved Panola Mountain PATH Foundation trail through Panola Mountain State Park to the shores of the glassy Alexander Lake.

georgia hiking trails: 4-6 miles 5.15 miles
(round trip)
? Your mileage may vary! Accuracy of your GPS device, weather conditions, and stops along your route will affect your own recorded distance.
atlanta running trails: pavedtrail:
paved
georgia hiking trails: dog-friendly Dog-
friendly
?Leashed dogs are allowed on this trail. We’ve loved hiking this route with our trail-loving Labrador Retrievers! Check out more of our favorite dog-friendly trails in Georgia for a great hike with your pup.

LOCATION:Panola Mountain State Park near Atlanta, Georgia

GEAR: Mizuno Wave Rider running shoes, Garmin Forerunner 235 GPS watch, and our trail running gear list

WEAR: Our ultra-soft Atlanta Trails shirts and mountain logo hats

Filled with shady forests, lakes, and immense, exposed granite fields covered in lichen, moss, and wildflowers, Panola Mountain State Park offers amazing adventures just east of Atlanta. Plant life and wildlife thrive on the mountain’s varied terrain and its beautiful, natural ecosystems.

This mountainous area is well-loved by hikers, including the popular hiking trails at Arabia Mountain and guided hikes on the Panola Mountain summit. And its popularity is quickly growing with runners and cyclists, too, thanks to an incredible network of more than thirty miles of paved trails that meander through the parks in the Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area.

Panola Mountain State Park: running the PATH trail to Alexander Lake in metro Atlanta

The Panola Mountain PATH Trail runs through the mountain’s scenic, granite-covered landscape to the still, reflective water of Alexander Lake. The trail’s rolling elevation catches views of the mountain’s unique natural ecosystems from a long wooden platform, arcs over the marshy shoreline of Alexander Lake on a raised boardwalk, runs a causeway between the Upper and Lower Alexander Lakes, and trails through a historic barn over the course of 5 miles. It’s a run – or fitness walk or bike trail – full of interest and beauty.

Run, walk or bike the five-mile, paved Panola Mountain PATH Foundation trail through Panola Mountain State Park to the shores of the glassy Alexander Lake #running #biking #northgeorgia #atlanta #georgia #travel #outdoors #adventure

The Panola Mountain PATH Trail

The adventure begins at a trailhead near Panola Mountain State Park’s main entrance (view maps and driving directions). The trail follows the contours of a road for the first quarter mile before darting into a cleared forest, dipping elevation to cross two trickling streams at just under a half mile. Pine and hardwood trees tower over the path, and lichen-covered rock outcrops bordered with colorful wildflowers dot the trail’s sides.

Panola Mountain State Park: follow a paved trail to beautiful fields of wildflowers and wide rock outcrops near Atlanta

The trail reaches a trail junction at 1.15 miles. A left turn here follows an extended-length boardwalk over Panola Mountain’s fragile, lichen and moss-encrusted ecosystems. The boardwalk terminates in a wooden platform that offers excellent views of a huge expanse of exposed granite. The plant life that thrives on these rocky stretches at the park is fragile, rare, and slow-growing, so please stay on the boardwalk and paved trails throughout this run to help preserve the mountain’s natural beauty.

Alexander Lake Loop Trail

Departing the viewing platform, the trail continues its eastbound route in a rolling descent to Alexander Lake. The trail meets a second intersection at 1.85 miles, turning right at the intersection to follow the Alexander Lake Loop Trail counter-clockwise. The trail dives through a forest filled with massive boulders before curving to reach the wooden Alexander Lake boardwalk at 2.2 miles. The boardwalk arcs over a grassy wetland bordering the still, glassy water of Alexander Lake, offering beautiful mid-run views.

Panola Mountain PATH: follow a paved trail on bike or foot around a lake and through a historic barn near Atlanta

The Alexander Lake Trail loops eastward, climbing a small rise above the lake’s shore before turning northwest at 3 miles to cross a small earthen dam. The run crosses the dam, catching glassy lake views from both sides of the trail, and arcs to depart the lake’s shore. The run turns right at a trail intersection at 3.5 miles, following the trail through a large, historic barn.

Exiting the barn, the run takes a right turn at the intersection, retracing its outbound route on the Panola Mountain PATH Trail back to the trailhead. The run continues to climb elevation before cresting at 4 miles. The trail rolls elevation for the remainder of the run, reaching the trailhead at 5.15 miles and completing the adventure.


Panola Mountain PATH Trail Map, Directions & Details

This map is not a substitute for official trail maps or topographic maps.

Love the trail?

This trail is maintained thanks to the hard work of countless volunteers and donations from supporters of the Arabia Mountain Heritage Area Alliance. Please support them by making a donation or joining a volunteer day. Let's work together to keep these fantastic trails maintained and open for use!

Driving Directions



Parking

$5 (daily), or included with a Georgia State Parks annual pass.


GPS Coordinates

33.622517, -84.173183     //     N33 37.351 W84 10.391

Elevation Profile

Panola Mountain PATH Trail Elevation Profile to Alexander Lake: Elevation Profile
 
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Eric Champlin
Author

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, Asheville Trails, and Trailful, digital magazines that highlight the South’s best outdoor adventures and top Southern-worthy outdoor gear. His mission? To inspire others to get fit outdoors and explore the South’s incredible scenic beauty.