Hike the Jones Bridge Park Trail on the Chattahoochee River to the remains of an old, heisted bridge, through a scenic forest and to beautiful river views in metro Atlanta.
This scenic hike at Jones Bridge Park explores the Chattahoochee River’s scenic banks in the city of Johns Creek, visiting the remnants of a turn-of-the-century bridge and a beautiful, riverside forest. A moderate hike (or great trail run) on this under-five-mile loop scores views of the river’s whitewater shoals and its lush, wildflower and wildlife-filled forest.
Cool, early mornings are our favorite time to hike this trail, when golden sunrise light mixes with the occasional, flowing fog that follows the river’s currents. The park makes for a great adventure in just about any weather and every season, though, thanks to the trail’s abundant views of the Chattahoochee River and the park’s namesake, mysterious bridge.
January 2018 update: the little that remained of the bridge has collapsed into the river.
Jones Bridge Park: the hike
The adventure departs from the park’s trailhead (view maps and driving directions), venturing north from the parking area and skirting around a metal gate to follow a gravel roadbed. The trail arcs eastbound, gently rolling elevation before approaching the Chattahoochee River and crossing a small stream. The trail reaches the metal remains of Jones Bridge at .45 mile. The bridge was built in 1904, and was dismantled and largely stolen in the 1940s. The bridge’s vibrantly-painted shell and pilings are all that remain.
Departing the bridge, the hike turns west, following the Chattahoochee River downstream as it contours the river’s banks. The trail passes a series of whitewater shoals at .6 mile, where the river meanders through large boulders and angular rock outcrops that punctuate the river’s bed. The trail passes a boat launch at .75 mile, diving into dense forest on the river’s banks. The trail crosses a large wooden suspension bridge at 1 mile.
The trail crosses the park’s paved boat ramp at 1.25 miles before crossing a second wooden suspension bridge and diving back under the shady forest canopy. Side trails depart to the right, visiting the wide-flowing Chattahoochee River and its forested banks.
The trail leaves the river at 1.5 miles, crossing a gravel road and climbing wooden stairs westbound to gain elevation in a vibrantly green, verdant forest. Deer are a common sight here on the trail, especially in early morning and late evening. A network of trails crisscross throughout this section of the park; this route veers left through the trail intersections, hiking southbound to return to the Chattahoochee River’s shore.
The trail reaches the river’s banks after crossing a cleared, unpaved road at 2 miles, arcing southwest to follow the river downstream. The trail reaches the southern end of the park, looping westbound away from the river’s banks. The hike meets a signed intersection at 2.75 miles, turning right to cross a mulched road at 2.85 miles and pass through a densely-vegetated meadow.
The trail reaches the banks of a glassy lake at 3 miles, catching reflective views from its glassy surface. Several houses border the small lake on the opposite shore.
Departing the lake, the trail splits into a number of fragmented trails. This route takes a right at 3.1 miles, a left at 3.15 miles, and crosses a grassy, pine-filled flat before venturing straight through a 4-way trail intersection at 3.25 miles for the most direct route back to the main trail.
Reaching the outbound trail at 3.3 miles, the hike turns left, retracing its steps through the rolling forest northeast toward the trailhead. The trail traces the Chattahoochee River, hiking upstream and trekking across the park’s boat launch before reaching the trailhead at 4.6 miles, completing the adventure.
More metro-Atlanta adventures on the Chattahoochee River
Crossed Jones Bridge Park off your bucket list, and looking for some more metro-area adventures on the ‘Hooch? Check out our top ten favorite hikes on the Chattahoochee River to explore rocky, view-packed bluffs, a grove of bamboo on the river’s banks, Civil War-era mill ruins, and a tumbling spillway waterfall.
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$5 day pass, or included with a Chattahoochee River NRA annual pass
34.001517, -84.239817 // N34 00.091 W84 14.389