Hike the kid-friendly Riverside Trail at Chattahoochee Bend State Park, exploring the Chattahoochee River in a wildlife-filled, shady forest south of Atlanta.
LOCATION:near Peachtree City, Georgia
This four-mile hike at Chattahoochee Bend State Park explores a scenic stretch of the Chattahoochee River, catching views of the smooth-flowing ‘Hooch, hiking under towering, old-growth trees and climbing an observation tower to beautiful river views. Running nearly level elevation, the Riverside Trail is kid-friendly, and wildlife-spotting opportunities are fantastic on the river’s sunlight-dappled banks. It’s a fantastic medium-length day hike south of Atlanta at one of Georgia’s newest state parks.
Up for a longer adventure at the park? Hike a scenic 10-mile adventure on the Chattahoochee Bend Riverside and Bend Trail combo, exploring a pine forest and the park’s platform campsites on the banks of the river.
Chattahoochee Bend Riverside Trail: the hike
Departing the park’s day-use trailhead (view maps and driving directions), the Riverside Trail hikes eastbound, following the broad-flowing river upstream under a shady forest canopy.
The trail crosses a small tributary stream over a bridge at .45 mile, running nearly level elevation on a compacted dirt trail. The hike trails near the banks of the river, crossing through patches of grasses and native bamboo that thrive on the river’s floodplain. The trail passes under the shade of several large-trunked, old-growth trees that dwarf the surrounding forest.
Continuing its eastbound, upstream hike, the Riverside Trail reaches a wooden, two-story observation tower at .85 mile. The tower, open to hikers, offers extensive views of the smooth-flowing river and makes a great mid-hike resting or snack spot.
Departing the observation tower, the trail continues eastward, diving deeper into the remote sections of the park. Birds, deer, and large wild hare frequent these lesser-traveled parts of the trail.
The Chattahoochee River’s banks are home to a variety of mushrooms, lichen, and mosses that thrive in this sun-dappled wilderness. The trail arcs away from the river’s banks at 1.2 miles, crossing a bridge over a tributary. The hike veers northeast after rejoining the river, passing a rocky ridge that rises on the right at 1.8 miles. Reaching the end of the Riverside Trail at just over 2 miles, the hike catches views of a large bend in the river, with the opposite bank’s treeline reflecting in the river’s smooth flow.
From here, this hike turns to retrace its steps to the trailhead. The hike doubles back on its outbound route, reaching the trailhead at 4 miles and completing the adventure.
More hiking adventures at Chattahoochee Bend State Park
Have energy – and daylight – to burn? The park’s Chattahoochee Bend Trail continues from the end of the Riverside Trail, arcing southeast to climb an adjacent ridge and further exploring the river’s broad, meandering bend.
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.
Love the trail?
This trail is maintained thanks to the hard work of countless volunteers and donations from supporters of the Friends of Georgia State Parks. 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!
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$5, or included with a Friends of Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites membership.
33.429550, -85.012183 // N33 25.773 W85 00.731