Atlanta, GA

Trails Near Atlanta's Perimeter Are Perfect for Keeping Those New Years Hiking and Health Resolutions


We've just experienced our first real cold snap of the year in Atlanta and North Georgia. But a little cold weather is no excuse to stop hiking. Winter is a great time to reconnect with Georgia outdoors by hiking or walking. And regular hiking makes a great New Years resolution, contributing to other health goals, too.
A plethora of trails near the greater Atlanta metro area make it easy to keep those health New Years hiking resolutions. We have suggestionsPhoto byDeanLand /

While we love driving to the North Georgia mountains for remote hikes, many locations closer-in to Atlanta, Marietta, and Cobb and neighboring counties offer convenient access. And you’ll find diverse terrain and a choice of nature or urban walks sure to please experienced and new outdoors people. With mild temperatures and sunny days, winter is a great time of year for Atlanta and North Georgia hikes and walks. (As you explore the following outdoor ideas, some of the included links may contain advertising where the website or author may receive payments.)

Dedicated and novice hikers agree on the many reasons to love winter hiking in Georgia. Here are some of our favorite hiking spots near Atlanta for those craving a winter outdoors experience:

Kennesaw Mountain. The most-visited national battlefield park in the US, locals rate KeMo a premier hiking spot for mountain-top views, wildlife sightings and trail variety. Sunrise and sunset hikes feature colorful panoramas. Our favorite loop hike travels up KeMo’s backside, through “the big zig,” over the saddle and back down to the visitor center.
With multiple trails that include or avoid the summit, Kennesaw Mountain is a great choice for hikers of all skills and ages.Photo byDeanLand /

Marietta Mountain-to-River Trail. We often bike or walk this multi-use recreation trail. Around Marietta Square where pedestrian traffic is highest, walking is best. There’s lots of history and easy access to shopping and dining. The local food hall, Marietta Square Market, is adjacent to the trail, great for meals and snacks.

Allatoona Pass Battlefield. This trail is perfect for those seeking a flat trail through the woods. Following an abandoned railroad bed, the trail passes through a deep mountain cut and alongside Lake Allatoona. In addition to history, there are great views of Lake Allatoona and a side path that allows water access to cool your feet. Just across the water, you can enjoy winding walks in the woods at Red Top Mountain State Park.
Following an abandoned railroad route, the trail at Allatoona Pass is a rare, flat path in this part of Georgia.Photo byDeanLand /
This hillside lookout offers a spectacular view of the Chattahoochee River and nearby Vinings.Photo byDeanLand /

East and West Palisades. Part of the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, these forested preserves straddle Interstates 75 and 275 in Cobb County. Paths at both East and West Palisades follow the Chattahoochee River, offering frequent views at riverside and from high above on the neighboring hills. Away from the riverbanks, hardwood forests and small streams are home to a variety of wildlife. A bamboo forest also is a hidden surprise at East Palisades.
Lullwater Preserve is a hidden gem inside the perimeter, with ruins of a power plant and a suspension bridge.Photo byDeanLand /

Lullwater Preserve. Inside the Perimeter and tucked quietly between Emory University and the Atlanta VA Medical Center, nature blends with abandoned infrastructure in this natural oasis among urban surroundings. Walk along scenic Peachtree Creek to find a hidden suspension bridge and ruins of an abandoned powerhouse.

Stone Mountain. With trails ranging from under one mile to five miles, Stone Mountain delivers on family-friendly hiking experiences. The Walk-Up Trail is most popular, climbing nearly 800 vertical feet to the top of the granite monolith. The Loop Trail circles the mountain, through the woods and along the lakes, delivering on great views with less climbing. For the least-adventurous, try the Nature Garden trail, a .75-mile route around creeks and gardens.

More On Select Locations

Check out more details on some of the locations we recommend with these extended posts:

Sunrise Hike at Kennesaw Mountain

What You'll See from Panoramic Pine Mountain

Winding Walks in the Woods at Red Top Mountain

Close-In Trails with Diverse Terrain Options

Discovering Downtown Marietta on Foot

Walking in Wonderful Woodstock

Why We Love Winter Hiking

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I'm a trained journalist and retired global marketing executive. Living in Northwest Georgia, I write about about avocations including outdoors, travel, exploration, history and some of my community passions. I've traveled to 47 states and nearly as many countries. My South Louisiana-born French Cajun upbringing in food-rich Louisiana plus my extended restaurant-related career affirmed my status as an over-qualified eater. At my blog,, I offer a complete menu of our my own experiences, explorations and adventures, organized by geography and always sprinkled with some spicy, tasty tidbits and food notes.

Acworth, GA

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