Piedmont Park: top Atlanta running trails
Explore Atlanta's iconic Piedmont Park on this popular, steady-pace 4-mile loop, running past Piedmont's most traversed spots and a few hidden gems.
Written by Holly Beilin. Photos by Eric Champlin.
Scenic skyline views. Sun-drenched grassy meadows. Shady groves of towering trees. And mile after mile of gently rolling paved trails that weave and loop through Piedmont Park’s beautifully diverse terrain, playgrounds, and hang-out areas. It’s no wonder that Piedmont Park is one of the city’s hotspots for running and fitness – and it’s long been on the top of our lists of best places to run in Atlanta.
This mostly-paved, moderately hilly running route takes you many of the park’s historic areas, juxtaposed with many modern additions, like the Atlanta BeltLine Eastside Trail and state-of-the-art sports facilities. The park’s blend of old and new make the park an exciting place to visit – and a beautiful backdrop for a run in Midtown Atlanta.
Atlanta’s Piedmont Park: the run
The run starts at the southwest corner of the Park at the entrance on 10th Street across from Argonne Ave (view maps and driving directions), running north into the park. After a quick jump down a short set of stairs, the run follows a mostly moderate-grade paved trail. The route continues to dive deeper into the park, passing the park’s 12th Street gate and the site of the Piedmont Park Green Market (Saturday mornings, April-November). I highly recommend running this route on Saturday, and a post-run stop at the market for a smoothie from Nectar and fresh produce to take home for brunch!
The run continues past Piedmont Park’s Active Oval, the sports fields and track that seems to draw half of Atlanta’s fitness community on sunny weekends. In the mood to add a few miles to the run? Run down the steps to loop a lap or two around the oval – though I usually pass because it’s usually is one of the most crowded places in the park (and running in circles gets monotonous!). The run grabs some slight elevation as it arcs around the Active Oval on a moderate incline toward the Atlanta Botanical Garden.
The run veers left, continuing uphill and passing the entrance to the Atlanta Botanical Garden. You can’t enter the Garden without paying for a ticket, but you’ll catch a glimpse of the Garden’s exhibits (like the beautiful Garden Lights event in winter).
The run hangs a hard right, entering the park’s Promenade area at 1 mile and passing the relatively new Legacy Fountain where you’ll surely see families congregating in the Summer. The Promenade’s two meadows offer a beautiful view of the Piedmont Park’s newly-opened wetlands and woodlands as well as an unpaved stretch of the Atlanta BeltLine’s Eastside Trail.
The run heads down the stairs at the foot of the Promenade, taking a right to follow the paved trail downhill and then hanging a left after tunneling under a bridge. The trail passes between Piedmont Park’s two off-leash dog parks at 1.5 miles, where my split time inevitably increases as I slow down to watch the dogs playing in the park. Keep an eye out for a King of Pops stand next to the dog park in warmer weather if you want to stop for a little pick-me-up!
The run hangs a right to run the park’s unpaved Wetlands Trail, hanging a left on the boardwalk and another left when it reaches pavement. The route passes Piedmont’s pool at 2 miles, looping around the glassy water of Lake Clara Meer before running eastbound along its southern shore.
The last leg of the run loops around the Piedmont Park meadow at 2.75 miles, running counterclockwise along 10th Street and passing Park Tavern the right. On fair-weather days, the meadow is one of Atlanta’s most popular hang-out spots for picnics, kite flying, frisbee and soaking up the sun.
The run passes the park’s educational garden for children before finishing the meadow loop. Leaving the meadow behind, the route climbs elevation, running parallel to 10th Street, before finishing at the 10th and Argonne park entrance at just under 4 miles.
Piedmont Park Running Trail Map, Directions & Details
Paid parking is available at the Piedmont Park SAGE parking deck, or the lot beside Park Tavern at 10th Street and Monroe Drive
33.781767, -84.378117 // N33 46.906 W84 22.687
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