In these short days of winter, if you have cabin fever or the kids are getting restless, fresh air may be just what you need. One of the many perks of living in Georgia is the mild winter temperatures. With a little bundling up you can enjoy the outdoors all year long!
Get started with these hikes around Atlanta. All are easy terrain and 2-miles or less which means you can get outside to shake off the winter blues in under an hour. And don’t forget your four-legged friends. These hikes are dog-friendly too.
Murphey Candler Park is located just inside the north side perimeter in Brookhaven. The 2-mile trail that circles Murphey Candler Lake and meanders over the North Fork of Nancy Creek is popular with birders so keep your eyes peeled for bird life. At this in-town oasis of nature, you’ll also be treated to the lake view, streams, bridges, and other wildlife. Watch the sandy banks of the streams for animal tracks that will delight curious hikers of any age. (Cost: Free.)
Sweetwater Creek offers a variety of trail difficulties but if you’d like an easy walk with an amazing view of the Manchester Mill ruins and the powerful Sweetwater Creek, give the Red Trail a try. It’s less than a mile to the mill and you’ll be treated to a sublime mix of history and nature. (Cost: $5 parking or free with annual pass.)
Away from the crowds of Stone Mountain, you can still enjoy the stark beauty of granite outcrops. Arabia Mountain has a lot to offer but if you’re new to it, a good place to start is on the Mile Rock Trail. Head out from the visitor center and follow the rock cairns that mark the trail down to Arabia Lake. From there, loop back on the Forest Trail for a 2-mile hike that will make you want to explore more of this gem. (Cost: Free.)
Part of the Cochran Shoals unit of the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, Sope Creek in Marietta offers a convenient outdoor getaway. The web of trails lets you mix-and-match the difficulty and distance of your hike. The trails around Sibley Pond are ideal if you’re new to hiking or just looking for a quick nature break that feels like a world away from the hustle and bustle of the city. (Cost: $3 parking fee or free with annual pass.)
Important tips before setting out:
- Almost any trail can be made easier by setting a pace you’re comfortable with for yourself.
- There’s a saying in the outdoor community that there’s no bad weather, only bad clothes. Dress accordingly and you can have fun in Georgia all year long.
- ·Hydration is key on the trail, even for short hikes. It’s easy to underestimate how much you’re sweating in cooler, dryer temperatures so be sure to drink up.
Val Joiner is an outdoor and educational travel blogger based in Roswell, GA. The former geologist turned road-schooling mom chronicles her adventures at Val In Real Life. When Val isn’t on the road with her two boys, she can frequently be found honing her Southern Appalachian Naturalist skills in the Great Smoky Mountains.