18-year-old Darr Smith, of Atlanta, is shown running at Murphey Candler Park Thursday December 15, 2016, in Atlanta, Ga.

7 of Atlanta’s most scenic running trails

Whether it’s a dash down a trail with breathtaking, natural vistas or a skyline glimpse of the city you love, there are many great trails in and around Atlanta ideal for all levels of runners. So, stretch out those legs, lace up those slick, new sneakers and queue up the perfect playlist. Now is a great time for a springtime run.

Cochran Shoals Trail

From gorgeous views of the Chattahoochee to the many surrounding woodlands and marshes brimming with all manner of wildlife, this footpath features four miles of wide, level trails. Cochran Shoals is located north of the I-285 perimeter. Stick to the outer trail to practice the park’s 5K run, where marshland beauty is abundant as well as views of the Chattahoochee. According to atlantatrails.com, the outer loops is “a great spot for beginning and veteran runners alike.”

The park is located at 152 Columns Drive, Marietta, GA 30067. For more information, visit nps.gov/chat/planyourvisit/maps.htm.
MORE: 2019 AJC Peachtree Road Race

Scenes from the 2018 AJC Peachtree Road Race The AJC Peachtree Road Race kicked off bright and early July 4, 2018. The winner of the AJC Peachtree Road Race T-shirt design contest was unveiled once the first racer crossed the finished line. Michael Martinez was the winner of the contest with his "A Stroll Down Peachtree" design. Thousands persevered through the 10k route, including rapperJeezy and Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. Bernard Kip Lagat was the male winner of the 2018 AJC Peachtree Road Race Stepha

Murphey Candler Park

For the lakeside trail experience without having to travel outside the perimeter, this picturesque, two-mile trail encircles a small body of water in a forested area of Brookhaven. According to the Murphey Candler Park Conservancy’s website, the nature trail offers a variety of scenery, including wooded spaces, wetlands, and memorable bridges. The park is also near pavilions for picnics. It can be accessed from any of the parking areas at the park. The trail has a nearly level elevation and features a wide range of flora and avian wildlife.

Murphey Candler Park is located at 1551 West Nancy Creek Drive NE, Atlanta. For more information, visit murpheycandlerpark.org.

Piedmont Park

Here’s the site of that often-Instagrammed Midtown skyline view with the gentle waters of Lake Clara Meer providing the vista’s striking natural balance. The sun shines beautifully on the parks large areas of grass surrounded by paved trails ideal for runners ready to maneuver through the park. Spots of shade are abundant because of copious trees that provide refuge when runners need a quick rest. 

The best GPS address to get you there is 1320 Monroe Drive, Atlanta. For more info, visit piedmontpark.org.

Wilkerson Givens (left) and Matt McDonald (right) of the Atlanta Track Club get in a warm, foggy 9-miles at Piedmont Park on Friday, Feb. 22, 2019 as they trained for the upcoming Boston Marathon.

Cheatham Hill Loop

For a running/hiking trail with a historical twist, the Cheatham Hill Loop at Kennesaw Mountain offers a moderate 5.8-mile trek through natural beauty, former battlefields and Civil War monuments on display along the way. The trail features signs pointing to specific locations where Union and Confederate armies dug trenches and fired cannons at one another. According to the National Park Service’s website, the Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park is a nearly 3,000-acre National area that “preserves a Civil War battleground of the Atlanta Campaign.”

The trail is located near 699 Cheatham Hill Drive, Marietta. For more information about Kennesaw Mountain’s National Battlefield Park, visit nps.gov/kemo/index.htm.
MORE: Best places to view outdoor art in Atlanta

Atlanta BeltLine Eastside Trail

Running from the edge of Piedmont Park to Reynoldstown, the Atlanta BeltLine’s website describes the Eastside Trail – the first finished section of the BeltLine in the old rail corridor, which opened in 2013 – as a combination of multi-use trail and linear greenspace. It could also be described by anybody who’s ever run it, hiked it, biked it or ridden a scooter along it as a great opportunity to get some good exercise as well as stop at a wide range of shopping and dining destinations along the way.

There are 19 different access points on the trail. To see where and learn more, visit beltline.org/explore-atlanta-beltline-trails/eastside-trail.

The Eastside Trail of the Beltline at Wylie Street links Kirkwood Ave. and Krog Tunnel to the Beltline. The path now has lighting, security cameras and infrastructure for future development of the rail system. (Jenni Girtman / Atlanta Event Photography)

South Peachtree Creek Trail

If you’d like to run a boardwalk along the banks of a winding creek, the beautiful South Peachtree Creek Trail at Mason Mill Park is a great place to start. According to the PATH Foundation’s website, the path “meanders through Mason Mill Park … connecting the ball fields and parking area at Medlock Park to the historic Decatur Waterworks and the Tennis Center at Mason Mill.” It also includes a trestle bridge over an active railroad. Time it just right, and you could pause for breath as a train passes. Or, take a break to observe the latest street graffiti art on what’s left of the waterworks structures.

It’s located at 1340 McConnell Drive, Decatur. For more information, go to pathfoundation.org/trails/south-peachtree-creek-trail.

The South Peachtree Creek Trail extension from Mason Mill Park to North Druid Hills Road opens in late June. Ty Tagami/ttagami@ajc.com

2019 AJC Peachtree Road Race

Atlantans are invited to come out on July 4 and be part of one of the city’s most venerable traditions. In 2019, the AJC Peachtree Road Race marks the 50th running of the world’s largest 10K event, with more than 60,000 people expected to run in the Fourth of July event. The race will wind its way down Atlanta’s most iconic roadway, beginning at Lenox Mall and making its way down Peachtree Street to Piedmont Park. Learn more at ajc.com/peachtree.

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