No matter what season it is, it doesn’t get better than these gorgeous, family-friendly hikes near Atlanta
You’re really going to fall for these stunning hikes near Atlanta that aren’t too challenging for kids. With breathtaking vistas, cascading waterfalls, and historic remnants popping up along the trails, these hikes are sure to be memorable whenever you take them. We’ve even got a few hidden gems on our list of the best hikes near Atlanta. So pack your daypack with the hiking essentials and hit the trails with the kids. Whether you’ve got a few hours to spare or the whole day to be outside with your crew, we’ve got just the trail for you family. Happy hiking.
1. Fort Mountain State Park
While this mountain can be accessed via three trails from Fort Mountain State Park, you may find yourself on the most direct route when you tell the kids about the mysterious serpentine wall that crests the summit. Alongside a fort-like historic stone tower and sweeping views of the North Georgia trees in all their glory, you've found yourself a good hike.
181 Fort Mountain Park Rd.
2. Bartram Trail, Beegum Gap to Rabun Bald
With an incredible 360-degree panoramic view of North Georgia's finest leaf show, this classic day hike takes you through a dense tunnel of rhododendron to a historic stone and wood fire lookout tower. In addition to the leaves (in fall), you'll also earn bragging rights for hiking Georgia's second-highest peak. Nearing 3 miles, the trail is doable in a day, but the lookout tower makes a pretty awesome spot to pitch your tent under the stars if you're looking to make it into an overnighter.
Kelsey Mountain Rd.
3. Springer Mountain Loop Trail
No big deal. You're just one of those outdoorsy parents who take their kids to hike the Appalachian Trail on the weekends. Because if that isn't the coolest thing ever, perhaps the view from atop the mountain's 3,780-foot summit is. This can be a long hike—just under 9 miles—or you can opt for the shorter 2-mile version. Or, if you want a moderate distance and a really great overnight experience, try the 5-mile (one-way) hike to the Hike Inn, and spend the night at this eco-lodge.
Near Ellijay, GA
4. Cascade Springs Nature Preserve
This 135-acre preserve in southwest Atlanta starts from a gritty parking area but takes hikers on extensive trails to Utoy Creek (the site of a Civil War battle) and a waterfall (Cascade Falls) inside the park’s 120 acres of green space.
2852 Cascade Rd.
5. Big Trees Forest Preserve
This urban forest includes three hiking routes—one of which is a mere one-mile loop that meanders beneath white oak trees—and is open from sunrise to sunset, seven days each week. There is ample free parking. Dogs on leashes are welcomed in the forest.
7645 Roswell Rd. N.E.
Sandy Springs, GA
6. Island Ford Trail
Find it in the Island Ford Park, nestled among oversized boulders on the banks of the Chattahoochee. The walk is a two-mile loop that takes you past a waterfall and is manageable for all ages.
1978 Island Ford Pkwy.
Sandy Springs, GA
7. Dunwoody Nature Center
This well-maintained 1.5-mile woodland loop gains a bit of altitude and is unpaved, but we've successfully traversed it with a rugged stroller. There are plenty of well-planned activities—ask at the Nature Center about the geocaching app and treasure hunt—to keep the big ones interested, while also being easy to navigate for shorter legs.
5343 Roberts Dr.
8. Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve
This 28-acre nature preserve opened in 1995 in an effort to preserve natural spaces in the South Peachtree Creek watershed. The 1.5-mile hiking trail loop is easily accessible and traverses several ecosystems, which keeps things interesting for younger hikers. Keep an eye out for wildlife, particularly near the wetlands and ponds.
2580 Pine Bluff Dr.
9. Arabia Mountain Mountain Top Trail
Over 30 miles of trails make up the Arabia Mountain PATH, located just 20 minutes east of downtown Atlanta. We recommend you take a hike to the ridge of Arabia Mountain, an otherworldly rock outcrop that's a monadnock—a geologic formation that has seen the ground around it erode away. Arabia Mountain also contains a variety of rare and endangered plants, such as Diamorpha, which grows in the fragile solution pit ecosystems that appear on the rock face.
3350 Klondike Rd.
10. Minnehaha Falls
If you need to see the skyscrapers in your rearview mirror for an afternoon, take the short drive (around 1.5 hours) to Lake Rabun and hike the Minnehaha Falls Trail. Short, easy, and kid-friendly, this hike culminates at a cascading waterfall. While you're in the area, stop at Tallulah Gorge State Park, and check out the suspension bridge if you're up for another hike.
Near Bear Gap Rd.
11. Sawnee Mountain Indian Seats
The Indian Seats Trail hike is roughly 4 miles that climb over and around the sheer face of Sawnee Mountain, where you'll see breathtaking views of the distant Blue Ridge Mountains. The trail is part of a larger network of hiking, walking, and running trails at the Sawnee Mountain Preserve, a 900-acre stretch of forest.
4075 Spot Rd.
12. Providence Canyon State Park
Known as Georgia's "Little Grand Canyon," this man-made formation was caused by water erosion in the 1800s. Now you'll find canyons as deep as 150 feet, and red, pink, orange, and purple formations that will make you feel far away from Georgia.
8930 Canyon Rd.
14. Cloudland Canyon
Located on the western edge of Lookout Mountain, Cloudland Canyon is one of the largest and most scenic parks in the state. With multiple trails that take you deep into the park, you'll find thousand-foot-deep canyons, sandstone cliffs, wild caves, waterfalls, cascading creeks, dense woodland, and abundant wildlife. The most popular hiking paths include the short Overlook Trail, the strenuous Waterfalls Trail, and the moderate West Rim Loop Trail.
122 Cloudland Canyon Park Rd.
Rising Fawn, GA
15. Brasstown Bald
Home to Georgia's highest point, the hike to Brasstown Bald isn't as daunting as it may seem. You'll find a half-mile paved trail—keep in mind it's steep—through the forest that leads to a 360-degree observation deck, where you can see North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee on a clear day. Plan to hit the observation deck early, then explore the area's other trails, to avoid crowds that peak during the afternoon.
Highway 180 & Spur 180
16. Long Creek Falls
Follow the blue-blazed trail to reach this double-tiered 50-foot waterfall at just under one mile from your trailhead. While the deep, clear pool at the base of the waterfall is perfect for summer dips, this trail is equally beautiful in the winter, when the rhododendron and hemlocks keep the mountainside speckled with green. Plus, this trail is only 4 miles from the southern start of the Appalachian Trail, so you'll be able to compare notes with through-hikers about your next adventure.