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Hike the Yellow River Trail’s scenic, forested, riverside banks to a terraced waterfall at Yellow River Park near Stone Mountain.

georgia hiking trails: 2-4 miles 3.2 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: easyeasy to
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:near Stone Mountain Park, east of Atlanta, Georgia

GEAR: Osprey Stratos 24 Backpack, our hiking gear list and Canon 6D Camera

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

RATED: 4.3/5 (3 reviews)

Set in a beautiful rolling forest bordering a wide, smoothly flowing river, Yellow River Park evokes the feeling of a North Georgia mountain adventure. But the park’s trail complex is tucked in a residential neighborhood in the suburban, strip-mall-filled stretch between Stone Mountain and Snellville, just outside Atlanta’s perimeter highway. It’s a fantastic near-the-city destination for hiking, trail running and mountain biking in a beautiful forested landscape.

This 3.2-mile hike explores the most scenic stretches of the river’s sandy, meandering shores. The unpaved trail hugs the river for most of its length, exploring the park’s southwest riverine banks. And the trail’s elevation runs nearly level on this hike, making the trail equally suitable for trail running.

Yellow River Park: hike to a series of terraced, tumbling waterfalls in Stone Mountain, GA

The park’s forested 566 acres offer over 13 miles of hiking, running, equestrian and mountain biking trails. It’s an impressive trail complex, given its proximity to downtown Atlanta. And there’s more on the way: a huge network of hiking trails on the river’s east side is planned for future development.

Hike the Yellow River Trail's scenic, forested, riverside banks to a terraced waterfall at Yellow River Park near Stone Mountain. #hiking #trailrunning #biking #northgeorgia #atlanta #georgia #travel #outdoors #adventure

Yellow River Park: the hike

The adventure starts at the park’s multi-use trail parking area (view maps and driving directions), venturing south on the paved loop trail before departing the pavement. The trail crosses a small wood bridge, diving under the forest canopy. The hike soon reaches a side trail, following the short spur to a wooden observation deck and catching beautiful elevated views of the river.

Yellow River Park: hike the scenic banks of a meandering river just east of Atlanta, GA

Leaving the observation deck, the hike continues its southbound journey. The park’s trail network is vast – and though the trails’ tangled web is often signed, navigation the intersections can be confusing. For simplicity, the outbound, southbound stretch of this hike follows the contours of the river’s banks, veering left at all trail junctions to stay on the path closest to the river.

We recommend tracking this trail via a handheld GPS, like our Garmin Oregon 700, or a GPS smartphone app for the easiest wayfinding. There are many intersecting trails in the network – and many signs simply state the distance to the trailhead. But the signs don’t state which trailhead, and with multiple trailheads and weaving, looping trails, navigation can get tricky without a GPS.

Yellow River Trail:  hike along a scenic stretch of river near Stone Mountain, just east of Atlanta

The hike crosses a small stream at .9 miles before reaching the river’s shoals at 1 mile. The river spills sheet-like from the wide, flat rock terracing the riverbed, creating a stairway of shallow waterfalls.

Departing the shoals, the trail continues its southbound hike before looping northwest to follow the Yellow River’s wide meander. The trail leaves the river’s shore at 1.6 miles, trailing northwest.

The hike turns here, doubling back on the riverside trail to retrace its steps to the multi-use trailhead. Opposite of the outbound hike, the return route veers right at all trail junctions to remain on the trail nearest the river. The hike reaches the trailhead at 3.2 miles, finishing the adventure.

(A loop hike is possible on the park’s trail network – but even armed with a trail map and Garmin GPS, we found the navigation confusing. A more distinct blazing system for each trail, clearer signage or simply fewer trail intersections would vastly improve this trail network for hikers. So, for simplicity, we almost always hike the riverside trail out and back.)


Yellow River Park Map, Directions & Details

Trails and routes may change – so please refer to official trail maps for the latest route.

Trail Rating

RATED: 4.3/5 (3 reviews)

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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!

Updates

Did you have trouble accessing the trail, or notice some recent trail updates or storm damage? We'd love to know! Contact us here, and thanks for helping us keep this site updated!

Driving Directions



Parking

Free parking is available at the Yellow River Park trailhead.


GPS Coordinates

33.791400, -84.071550     //     N33 47.484 W84 04.293

Elevation Profile

Yellow River Park 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.