Park scenes


The Northside is home to more than 80 parks with intriguing pieces of history along walking trails, in addition to recreational activities for adults and children alike. It’s only a question of where to go on any given day.

On Sope Creek hiking trail in East Cobb are charred ruins of an old paper mill destroyed during the Civil War. The tree-mile trail draws casual and advanced hikers.

Old Mill Park in Roswell has idyllic tranquility for visitors wanting to soak up the elements. Walking trails lead to the top of the waterfall, a small sandy beach-like space in front of Vickory Creek, and ruins from of an old machine works building. It was part of Roswell Mill, which provided fabric for Confederate troops.

Island Ford Park in Sandy Springs is the largest park in the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, with several pockets for quiet serenity. It’s common to see people out with their dogs, parents playing catch with their children on a patch of grass, and others fishing at a small pond.

Here are more places to visit for outdoor recreation.

Child’s play

Wills Park in Alpharetta is home to “The Wacky World Playground,” where children can run, climb and slide. Nearby is “Yellow Playground,” with swings and slides for smaller children.

In Sandy Springs, six picturesque playable art sculptures are a main attraction at Abernathy Greenway Linear Park. Play pieces include tall, red swings called “The Big Imagine”; climbable structures such as “Spider Walk”; and “Wonderwall” a colorful, whimsical craftwork for kids to traverse.

Nearby at Morgan Falls Overlook Park is a scenic children’s play space overlooking Bull Sluice Lake. The park also has walking trails, three sizable picnic pavilions and a fishing area.

Insider Tip: Take a left turn from the parking lot to find a dog park for big and small pets, as well as a ramp to put boats in the lake. Northsiders often set up chairs next to trees along the riverbank to fish.

Rock the boat

Boaters have numerous places to put in along the Chattahoochee River. In Roswell, they can enter the water at Azalea Park near Shoot the Hooch outfitters, which rents kayaks, canoes, rafts and paddleboards.

A few miles east leads to another launch area at Don White Memorial Park, which also has fishing docks.

The Johnson Ferry North and South Units of the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area is a quiet space where boats enter the water, and instructors certified by the American Canoe Association teach kayaking classes.

Run happy, bike strong

Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area entrances at Powers Island and Cochran Shoals parks are popular spots for runners who want to escape the sounds of city and enjoy springtime surroundings.

In December 2016, regular runners on Roswell Riverwalk along Riverside Road and Azalea Drive got a 1-mile extension, in which the trail veers off Azalea along the river and leads to the Chattahoochee Nature Center.

The next phase of Riverwalk to be constructed will extend to the Chattahoochee River National Recreation area at Johnson Ferry Road in Cobb County.

Another draw is Big Creek Greenway, an 8-mile concrete path with several trailheads, which extendsfrom Marconi Drive in Alpharetta to Roswell at Big Creek Park off Old Alabama Road.

Plan your visit

Big Creek Greenway.

Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area.

Old Mill Park, 95 Mill Ave., Roswell

Sope Creek Park.

Sandy Springs Parks.

Roswell Parks.