Atlanta TrailsbyTrailful Outdoor Co

The Chattahoochee River makes a run through metro Atlanta from its headwaters near the Appalachian Trail in North Georgia. Through decades of conservation and preservation, the river has become one of the metro area’s finest outdoor destinations, and our favorite trails along the river explore some of Atlanta’s most scenic outdoor terrain. They explore the river’s banks, catching exceptional views from rocky bluffs, visiting historic mill ruins and a spillway waterfall, and trailing through a bamboo grove on the river’s banks. They scout the remains of a cross-river bridge that was largely heisted by thieves nearly 100 years ago. They explore wildflower-filled forests, rocky tributary creeks, and sun-drenched meadows and marshlands. And they all offer fantastic options for an in-town outdoor adventure, visiting some of our most-loved spots in the city.

The Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area is a 48-mile-long, 10,000-acre chain of parks that stretch south from the river’s dam at Lake Lanier. The river flows wide through metro Atlanta, coursing through angular shoals and over multiple dams. The river’s flow ranges from glassy, serene stretches to frothy, turbulent whitewater, offering a wide variety of on-water adventures.

But while paddling, fishing, and boating are popular on-water activities on the river, the recreation area is also well-loved for its many miles of running and hiking trails, both paved and unpaved. Most trails in the NRA feature maps and markers at each trail intersection. The trails make for a great in-town hike for beginners and a wonderful weekend stroll for families with children. They’re also a fantastic workout for runners looking to escape the monotony of sidewalks and crosswalks on a trail with a heavy dose of scenic beauty.

Hike our top ten favorite, most popular and scenic trails in the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area north of Atlanta. #hiking #running #atlanta #georgia #travel #outdoors #adventure

Chattahoochee River hikes near Atlanta: our top 10 favorite trails

Grab a great hike or trail run on our top ten favorite adventures below, or check out the full list of our favorite trails on the river’s banks and our Chattahoochee River map for even more fun on the river. And wherever your adventures take you, please remember to pack out everything you pack in, and leave no trace to help preserve the natural beauty of the river, its forests, and its banks.

Parking & Access

For free access to the parks, travel via public transportation, or bike, run, or walk to the parks if they’re nearby. Driving? Purchase a Chattahoochee River NRA daily pass for $5 per vehicle – a true bargain for a day’s worth of outdoor adventure. Or for an even better value, grab an unlimited-use $40 annual pass. (Since the parks are some of our favorite, go-to destinations for an outdoor adventure near Atlanta, we purchase an annual pass year after year.)

The parks are units of the National Park Service and are open from dawn to dusk. Leashed pets are welcome; in fact, several of these trails scored a spot in our favorite dog-friendly trails in the Atlanta area.

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.