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Hike the banks of the Yellow River in the shadow of Stone Mountain to explore a beautiful, gently rolling forest. Catch river views from an observation deck and hike the river's banks on a nearly level trail. At the river's shoals, the Yellow River cascades over a stair-stepped outcrop, creating a series of short, wide waterfalls.
Explore the Chattahoochee River near Vinings on a scenic hike off Akers Mill Dr. Drop from the trailhead to the river on a gently sloping trail to visit a sandy beach and a rocky stretch of the river filled with whitewater. Visit wetlands near the river's shore, and keep watch for wildlife; heron, geese and deer are a common sight.
Explore a peninsula and quiet cove on Lake Allatoona. This Red Top Mountain State Park trail loops the lake's meandering shore and runs nearly level, thanks to raised boardwalks. See stunning shoreline views, and pack a lunch: picnic tables dot the sides of the trail. (Please be aware and share the trail: it's popular with hikers and mountain bikers.)
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Upstream from Morgan Falls Dam, near Roswell, the Chattahoochee River runs wide and smooth. Hike the Gold Branch Trail for a chance to view wildlife, like small herds of deer running the mud flats on the riverbanks. Visit Bull Sluice Lake to catch reflective views of the opposite shore in the lake's glassy water, and hike through a shady, rocky forest. Gold Branch is one of the Chattahoochee's lesser-visited trails, but also one of the most beautiful.
This Sawnee Mountain Preserve trail is one of the hardest hikes on this list, but one of the best for scenery. Hike the Indian Seats Trail to spectacular summit views from a mountain near Lake Lanier. It's a moderate, two mile climb to the summit, but views are rewarding, stretching north to the Blue Ridge Mountains. Please leave the family dog at home, though: pets are not allowed in the preserve.
The metro area has some great, beginner-worthy waterfall hikes, too. Don't miss these easy hikes to Atlanta's hidden waterfalls.
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