Hike the East Palisades Trail on the banks of the Chattahoochee River in Atlanta, climbing to beautiful views from towering bluffs and hiking through a small bamboo forest.

georgia hiking trails: 2-4 miles 4 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.
georgia hiking trails: moderaterelatively
moderate
?Our difficulty estimate, based on distance, terrain, elevation change, & ease of wayfinding. May vary daily due to weather, trail reroutes, downed trees, etc.
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:Chattahoochee River in Atlanta, Georgia

GEAR: REI Flash 18 Backpack, our hiking gear list and Canon 6D Camera

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

The East Palisades Trail hikes the Chattahoochee River’s Palisades section, one of the river’s most scenic in metro Atlanta. Frequented by kayakers for its Class 1 and Class 2 whitewater rapids, the Palisades are marked by visually striking, sharply angular rock slabs that punctuate the river’s wide flow.

Head to the East Palisades for a great in-town hike or trail run – and don’t forget the ENO: it’s one of our favorite places to hammock in Atlanta. The park’s weaving and winding network of trails can be confusing, but nearly every trail intersection is signed with a trail map. It’s still relatively easy to get turned around, though, so if you go, we’d highly recommend running a GPS app to help keep you headed in the right direction. And have fun: it’s is easily one of the best hikes in metro Atlanta.

Hike the East Palisades Trail to gorgeous Chattahoochee River views and a bamboo grove in Atlanta

(There are two parks in the Palisades segment of the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area. The East Palisades Trail hikes the lesser-frequented eastern banks of the river, exploring high-elevation overlooks, historic ruins, and a bamboo forest on a network of over 4 miles of hiking and running trails. The other – West Palisades at Paces Mill Park – follows the western banks of the Chattahoochee on over 3 miles of paved walking and running trails.)

Hike the East Palisades Trail on the banks of the Chattahoochee River in Atlanta, climbing to beautiful views from towering bluffs and hiking through a small bamboo forest. #hiking #running #trailrunning #atlanta #georgia #travel #outdoors #adventure

East Palisades Trail: the hike

The hike (or trail run) departs from the Indian Trail trailhead (view driving directions) in a continual southwest descent toward the Chattahoochee River. The sound of the Chattahoochee’s rushing whitewater shoals becomes audible as the trail approaches the river and the trail begins to follow Long Island Creek, a small tributary. The trail traces Long Island Creek’s sharp meanders and broad sandy banks before meeting the Chattahoochee River. At the river, the trail turns right, following the grand, wide-flowing river upstream.

The trail hikes north, crossing a wooden bridge over Charlie’s Trapping Creek before turning right at the first trail intersection. The trail changes terrain quickly, grabbing elevation and switching back in an ascent to a tall bluff overlooking the Chattahoochee. Views from the platform perched on the cliff are outstanding, stretching upriver across the angular shoals of the Palisades.

East Palisades Trail: hike to stunning views of the Chattahoochee River in Atlanta

The trail meanders through a series signed intersections, beginning a northward descent toward Cabin Creek, crossing Cabin Creek and turning west to follow the creek downstream to the Chattahoochee River. Angular shoals dominate the Chattahoochee’s riverbed here, and a small stone building lies in ruins just south of where the trail meets the river.

The trail turns north, hiking across an old stone bridge spanning Cabin Creek and passing several large rock outcrops as it follows the Chattahoochee upstream.

The trail crosses a small creek before diving through a grove of 30-foot tall, towering bamboo stalks, meandering through the bamboo forest’s hollow trunks that knock musically in the wind.

Hike the East Palisades Trail to a bamboo grove on the banks of the Chattahoochee River in Atlanta

Departing the bamboo grove, the trail continues north to scale a large bluff overlooking the Chattahoochee. The rock outcrop is steeply pitched and demands a careful climb – but rewards with a fantastic view of the Chattahoochee River and the opposite banks below.

East Palisades Trail on the Chattahoochee River

The adventure turns here, descending the bluff and retracing the outbound hike to the trailhead. After ascending the through the switchbacks south of Cabin Creek, the hike follows the signed trail intersections to Indian Trail Road, following the gravel road south to the trailhead and parking area to complete the hike.

Nearby adventures on Atlanta’s favorite river

Up for more trail time on this scenic river? Explore the river’s opposite bank on the West Palisades Trail at Paces Mill Park, or hike across a bridge to a historic island in the Chattahoochee on the Powers Island Trail. Check out our top ten hikes on the metro Atlanta ‘Hooch for some of our all-time favorite hikes and running routes. And our Chattahoochee River map features our all-time favorite hikes on the river’s banks and tributaries.


East Palisades 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 Chattahoochee Parks Conservancy. 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 day pass, or included with a Chattahoochee River NRA annual pass.


GPS Coordinates

33.884062, -84.436651     //     N33 53.044 W84 26.199

Elevation Profile

East Palisades Trail: 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.