Hike or run the Morningside Nature Preserve to a sandy beach and tall swing bridge on South Peachtree Creek, and visit Atlanta’s popular “dog beach”.
LOCATION:Morningside neighborhood in Atlanta, Georgia
PACK:our Osprey day pack and our hiking gear list
Tucked into the northern fringes of Atlanta’s upscale Morningside neighborhood, the Morningside Nature Preserve is a hidden yet well-loved matrix of hiking, walking and running trails that traverse over 30 acres of rolling forest.
Preserved by dedicated neighborhood residents and The Nature Conservancy in the mid-2000s, the Morningside Nature Preserve offers a wonderful woodland retreat from the surrounding urban landscape of Atlanta, and a chance for Midtown residents to grab a bit of nature without a long drive.
Morningside Nature Preserve: the hike
The hike departs a trailhead on Lenox Road (view maps and driving directions), climbing steadily in a clearing beneath power lines. The trail turns right to cross the clearing, entering the wooded forest and descending a small ridge via wooden stairs.
The trail exits the wooded canopy and enters a clearing, where a small trail marker at .25 mile points left. Here, the trail hikes through a cleared meadow filled with a tangled landscape of kudzu and waist-high grasses and brush. The trail curves a gradual right, reaching South Fork Peachtree Creek at .5 mile.
The shores of South Fork Peachtree are sandy and broad. The creek meanders sharply through the forest, carving a steep-walled shore on the opposite side while slowing to drop sandy sediment on the east bank. These sandy shores are popular with dogs and their owners, earning the ‘dog beach’ nickname with Atlanta locals.
A beautifully constructed wooden suspension bridge arcs over the creek, leading to an extensive 2-mile network of hiking and walking trails on the western banks of the creek. The trail crosses the bridge to continue the hike.
The western shores of South Fork Peachtree Creek comprise the majority of the hiking and walking trails at Morningside Nature Preserve. A trail network weaves over terraced ridges flanking the shores of the creek and cross several small streams. Keep an eye out for wildlife here; foxes, beavers, birds, turtles and raccoons frequent these forested sections of the preserve.
Looping back to the suspension bridge over South Peachtree Creek, the hike completes the loop portion of this adventure and re-crosses the bridge. From the suspension bridge, the hike retraces its steps to the trailhead, completing at 2 miles.
More top hiking and running trails in Atlanta
Up for another great hike in the ATL? Explore some of Atlanta’s most scenic and beautiful trails, scaling to view-packed mountaintops and chasing whitewater and waterfalls on our top ten favorite Atlanta hiking trails. Or skip sidewalks and crosswalks and grab a great run on our top ten Atlanta running trails, including scenic runs along the Chattahoochee River at Cochran Shoals, and intown favorites on the Atlanta BeltLine Eastside Trail and Piedmont Park.
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 Park Pride. 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!
33.809783, -84.352133 // N33 48.587 W84 21.128