I am not exactly a fitness enthusiast but every once in a while, I enjoy a good hike with friends and its nice to know that a metro area like Atlanta has enough trails within the city limits that you don’t have to go up to the mountains to get your fill. Some of my favorites are the Silver Comet Trail, Stone Mountain and Chattahoochee Nature Center. Within a few hours’ drive from the perimeter, all trails are well-visited and have good facilities.
The Silver Comet Trail is a great hiking path as it offers a nice scenic view and a roughly 2% grade across the trail which allows you to maintain a steady pace. While there are folks walking, jogging, running, biking and skating around, hiking is just fine. The trail begins somewhere Smyrna and is a good 60 miles long. The best part – it’s all free entry. Begin and end anywhere you want. Just remember to take water with you as all the public fountains might not be in the best working conditions. This is my favorite and I would love for you to check out this trail – http://www.silvercometga.com/
The Stone Mountain Trail is a bit steep. Entry is paid and there are usually a number of events going on there apart from the regular venue attractions. They have about 15 miles of wooded hiking trails and then a mile long trail to head up the mountain. The drive in and the park itself is pretty scenic. Check out the best time to visit – http://www.stonemountainpark.com/default.aspx
The Chattahoochee Nature Reserve offers 5-6 different trails for beginners and experienced hikers. It covers the Piedmont forest area and covers a few ponds as well as wooded plantation areas in its course. Located in Roswell, this nature reserve is very family friendly, has plenty of parking space and some animal exhibits as well that will keep the kids occupied. Entry fees are reasonable and they are open even on Sundays. For more information you can see http://chattnaturecenter.org/index.html
You can check out this website http://www.trails.com/activity.aspx?area=15234 for more information on trails close to the metro Atlanta area that you can explore. Always remember to take a cap and plenty of drinking water with you and stay dehydrated at all times. Take some friends along, some of the wooded paths can get lonely! Enjoy, stay healthy!