Atlanta TrailsbyTrailful Outdoor Co
Atlanta Running Trails

Paces Mill Park and West Palisades Trail

Hike, bike, walk or run the ultra-scenic paved trail at Paces Mill Park on the Chattahoochee River, following the West Palisades Trail to Rottenwood Creek, a sun-dappled tributary.

georgia hiking trails: 2-4 miles 3.6 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.
atlanta running trails: pavedtrail:
georgia hiking trails: dog-friendly Dog-
?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 near Atlanta, Georgia

PACK:our Osprey day pack and our hiking gear list

The West Palisades Trail explores the scenic Paces Mill Park near Vinings, one of the Chattahoochee River’s most popular recreation areas in metro Atlanta. The park’s broad network of running, walking and biking trails, including the West Palisades Trail, Bob Callan Trail and Rottenwood Creek Trail, follow a paved path through a wooded forest and explore riverine ecosystems that are great for spotting wildlife.

Paces Mill Park: hike or run the West Palisades Trail to Rottenwood Creek in metro Atlanta

This paved trail adventure follows the broad, grand Chattahoochee River before swinging to follow Rottenwood Creek upstream to a small waterfall at the trail’s end. It’s equally great for a sunny afternoon stroll, an early morning wildlife-spotting adventure, or a moderately hilly running workout, and offers some of the river’s best views in the metro area. However you adventure, please remember to pack out everything you’ve packed in, and to leave no trace to help preserve the park’s natural beauty.

Hike, bike, walk or run the ultra-scenic paved trail at Paces Mill Park on the Chattahoochee River, following the West Palisades Trail to Rottenwood Creek, a sun-dappled tributary in metro Atlanta #hiking #running #trailrunning #atlanta #georgia #travel #outdoors #adventure

Paces Mill Park on the West Palisades Trail: the run

The adventure departs from the West Palisades Trailhead at Paces Mill Park near Vinings (view maps and driving directions), traveling northeast and following the Chattahoochee River’s banks. The river’s banks and rocky shoals are prime habitats for wildlife, including deer, geese, and heron.

Paces Mill Park: explore a wildlife-rich forest on the banks of the Chattahoochee River on the West Palisades Trail

The trail passes under a highway overpass at just over .5 mile. The highway’s enormous concrete supports tower cathedral-like over the wide, smooth-flowing river, a juxtaposition of nature and urban infrastructure. Views of the Chattahoochee River open wide after the trail ducks out from under the towering overpass, and the river’s flow is often glassy and reflective in this stretch.

Hike or run the West Palisades Trail at Paces Mill Park, exploring a wildlife habitat on the Chattahoochee River and Atlanta's urban infrastructure

The trail crosses a bridge spanning Rottenwood Creek before arcing northwest. Several dirt side trails depart on trail right, diving into the forest along the river’s banks. This stretch of the West Palisades is remote, and makes for a great trail run or fantastic urban hike; check out our review of the West Palisades Trail at Akers Drive for photos and details.

The paved trail arcs to the northwest, following the contours of the tumbling Rottenwood Creek on the left. The trail crosses a wooden boardwalk and then crosses the creek via a large wood and metal bridge. Several side trails depart on the trail’s right, offering access to the creekbed, a popular swimming hole for dogs.

West Palisades Trail: run the scenic banks of the Chattahoochee River in metro Atlanta

The meanders through switchbacks, beginning a steep climb towards Akers Mill Road. Rottenwood Creek drops far below the trail to the right. The trail levels after a steady climb, crossing Rottenwood Creek over an elevated bridge. A small waterfall cascades over large boulders below the bridge, shaded by a towering highway bridge.

From here, this adventure on the West Palisades Trail doubles back to Paces Mill park, retracing its outbound steps the trailhead. The return run is almost all downhill, descending along Rottenwood Creek to the banks of the Chattahoochee River, and then running nearly level to return to the trailhead. The run reaches the parking area at 3.6 miles, finishing the adventure.

Nearby trail adventures on the Chattahoochee River

The West Palisades Trail offers access to the Akers Mill Trail, a connecting trail to the ultra-popular running, walking and biking trails at Cochran Shoals and the 8.5-mile adventure from Cochran Shoals to Sope Creek Park. And across the river from West Palisades lies one of our all-time favorite trails in metro Atlanta, the ultra-scenic running and hiking trails at East Palisades.

The Palisades trails are just a few of many fantastic trails along the Chattahoochee River in metro Atlanta. Find a great adventure on the metro ‘Hooch on our favorite Chattahoochee River running, hiking, biking and walking trails, or check out our Chattahoochee River map to find a great trail near you.

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.

Paces Mill Park on the West Palisades Trail Map, Directions & Details

This map shows our approximate route while exploring this trail, but does not replace an official trail map. Please refer to the official trail map for the most current and accurate route.

Love the trail?

This trail is maintained thanks to the hard work of countless volunteers and donations from supporters of the Chattahoochee National Park 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


$5 day pass, or included with a Chattahoochee River NRA annual pass.

GPS Coordinates

33.869550, -84.454250     //     N33 52.173 W84 27.255

Elevation Profile

Paces Mill Park on the West Palisades Trail: Elevation Profile

Eric Champlin is a creative director and photographer who loves to explore southeast. He's the co-owner of Trailful Outdoor Co, a locally-owned hiking outfitter shop in Hiawassee in the Georgia mountains near the Appalachian Trail. He’s also the co-founder of Atlanta Trails and Asheville Trails, digital magazines that highlight the South’s best outdoor adventures. His mission? To inspire others to get fit outdoors and explore the South’s incredible scenic beauty.