Atlanta TrailsbyTrailful Outdoor Co
Top Georgia trails & how-to

Hiking for beginners: A plan to progress through Atlanta’s trails

Our seven favorite trails that offer the best of hiking for beginners. These hikes grow in length and difficulty as you progress through the list, offering a plan for new hikers and those seeking to introduce their kids to a new outdoor adventure.

Written by Lesli Peterson. Photos by Eric Champlin.

I’m the editor of 365 Atlanta Family. Together with my husband and two boys, our family puts a great focus on spending time outdoors and soaking up what my boys call “Vitamin Sunshine.” Hiking is an important part of our weekly routine- we get our kids outdoors for the same reason we head outdoors ourselves. Not only is it is physically beneficial, it is emotionally and mentally advantageous. Time in nature brings our senses alive, and it aligns us with something larger than ourselves. We are able to explore this fantastic part of the South, unplug from our devices and focus on the things that truly make us happy.

“We have such a brief opportunity to pass on to our children our love for this Earth, and to tell our stories. These are the moments when the world is made whole. In my children’s memories, the adventures we’ve had together in nature will always exist.”
― Richard Louv

Hiking was easy while my son was young: throw him in an Ergo carrier and head up the mountain. With diapers and snacks, a 6-mile moderate hike made for a pleasant day. Once he preferred to walk, things changed dramatically. Today, a 3-mile hike with my 7 and 3 year old is how we spend our best days, but we didn’t get there overnight.

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Hiking for beginners: exploring Atlanta’s trails

This list of Atlanta trails is reminiscent of the progression we’ve made to date. Whether you’re introducing your kids to the great outdoors or you’re making the investment yourself into a wild wonder of peaceful refuge, this hiking plan for beginners is a great place to start.

And remember: even if you don’t finish the full trail on the first try, hiking is as much about the journey as it is the destination. You can always return for a second, third or fourth time to get a new perspective, as we often do, and reach your goal of finishing the hike.

More great Georgia hikes for beginners

Tackled this bucket list, and ready for some more hiking fun and outdoor adventures? Don’t miss our favorite waterfall hikes near Atlanta, or our seven favorite Georgia waterfall hikes, all under two miles. Or explore a stretch of the famous, epic-length Appalachian Trail in North Geogia, and catch some extraordinary views on these seven hikes on the Appalachian Trail, all under six miles.

Leave No Trace: Atlanta Trails, Asheville Trails and Trailful are official Leave No Trace partners

Please Remember

Always leave no trace, pack out everything you pack in, and if you see trash, pick it up and pack it out.

Stay on the marked trail, tell someone where you're going, pack safety and wayfinding essentials, and don't rely on a mobile phone to find your way. Please always practice good trail etiquette. And before you go, always check the trailhead kiosk, official maps, and the park or ranger office for notices of changed routes, trail closures, safety information, and restrictions.

Lesli made her way to Atlanta over 20 years ago, after living in Germany, Japan and six US states. She relishes the discovery of obscure, offbeat and unwonted places, and she will chat up any willing stranger to uncover a new secret locale. She serves as the Family Travel Ambassador for Georgia, freelances for several publications and manages 365AtlantaFamily, a blog about traveling with kids and not for them.