Chattahoochee River trail expansion coming to Mableton in South Cobb

The Chattahoochee RiverLands project could eventually include 100 miles of new trails and parks, spanning 19 cities and seven counties.
A kayaker floats along The Chattahoochee River in Roswell on Tuesday, August 2, 2022. (Natrice Miller/

Credit: Natrice Miller /

Credit: Natrice Miller /

A kayaker floats along The Chattahoochee River in Roswell on Tuesday, August 2, 2022. (Natrice Miller/

New trails and a regional trailhead park are coming to Mableton in South Cobb along the Chattahoochee River.

The trailhead — the first in a metro-wide project to open new parks with river access across metro Atlanta — will be located near the intersection of Mableton Parkway and Discovery Boulevard and will serve as the “capstone” for the Chattahoochee RiverLands project.

The project is spearheaded by the Trust for Public Land, a national nonprofit that purchases, develops and donates parks to local jurisdictions. The organization recently purchased 8.6 acres of land for the trailhead as part of its larger initiative to expand river access, the group announced in a March news release.

“This is a capstone project for the Chattahoochee RiverLands, as these trailheads will serve as an access point for the nearly one million nearby residents and visitors who will be able to kayak, bicycle, picnic, walk, camp and wheel along the river,” George Dusenbury, the nonprofit’s Georgia state director said in a news release. “We will be engaging with the public and a design firm to determine what these sites will look like, what features they will include and what experience visitors can expect.”

This map shows the plans for the RiverLands Showcase Project, including a regional trailhead with river access in Mableton. Trust for Public Land

Credit: Trust for Public Land

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Credit: Trust for Public Land

The decades-long Chattahoochee RiverLands project spans 19 cities and seven counties from Buford in Gwinnett County to Newnan in Coweta County, including 100 miles of new trails and parks with 42 water access points and eight campsites, the Trust for Public Land says on its website.

Once completed, it could transform how metro Atlantans use the Chattahoochee River.

For Mableton, the new regional trailhead park would be the first of its kind for the South Cobb community, which does not currently have public access to the river, said Ray Thomas, president of the Mableton Improvement Coalition.

“There’s nothing even remotely close to what this regional trailhead is going to envision,” said Thomas, who is also on an advisory board for the project. “The trail is going to have a transformative effect on our community.”

Cobb County’s District 4 Commissioner Monique Sheffield echoed that sentiment and said the park “will stimulate economic development for the South Cobb community.”

Economic activity is already underway along the river in nearby Smyrna with a mixed-use development overlooking the Chattahoochee, which features a brewery, shops and a riverside park. A renewed focus on the river’s economic development potential comes after decades of work cleaning the water from pollution linked in part to the city of Atlanta’s sewer system.

The trailhead in Mableton will anchor the southern end of a 2.7-mile greenway trail connecting Mableton north to Smyrna and will connect to the Mableton Parkway Trail, giving direct access from the river to the Silver Comet Trail.

The park is expected to include a kayak launch into the river, a picnic pavilion, a playground and restroom facilities and is expected to be completed in 2026.

Cobb County also plans to create two trails in the area. The first will loop through Discovery Park at the River Line to Nickajack Creek and connect to the second trail over the creek on a bridge. The second, still in the design phase, will be south of Discovery Park along the river from Nickajack Creek to Mableton Parkway.

“Right now, the river is somewhat closed to the community,” Thomas said. “Once this trail is constructed, it will open up the river to the community where we can recreate and exercise.”