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WINNER: This is the best place to hike in metro Atlanta

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WINNER: Best hike in metro Atlanta

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is committed to continuing our normal features, where appropriate, during the coronavirus outbreak. For full coverage of the outbreak in Atlanta, please check our Coronavirus News Section. We have decided to continue Best of Atlanta voting for the time being, despite social distancing. We encourage our readers to support local businesses after the authorities loosen the social distancing rules — along with supporting those businesses that offer delivery or pickup during the outbreak.

The temperatures might be falling, but the sun is shining and the leaves are changing — the perfect combination for taking a hike.

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Hitting one of the trails throughout metro Atlanta is a great way to stay socially distanced while getting fresh air and exercise. We’re lucky to have dozens of places to commune with nature within the metro area or just outside it.

Last week’s Best of Atlanta poll asked where you go when you have the urge to walk in the sunshine or under a canopy of trees.

Here are the top five:

In fifth place was Cascade Springs Nature Preserve in Atlanta, which also finished fifth last year. Cascade Springs is in the middle of the city but feels like you’re in the wilderness. It’s one of the trails in the area that comes with a waterfall.

Fourth place went to last year’s winner, Arabia Mountain in DeKalb County. More than a century ago, it was a major granite quarrying site. Today, it’s a 2,000-acre site known for its scenic landscape and miles of hiking and biking trails.

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The third place finisher is a top choice among dog owners. The East Palisades Trail at the Chattahoochee River is a 2.5 mile loop that descends to the river where pups and their owners play during hot weather.

In second place was Kennesaw Mountain in Cobb County. The 2,965-acre park is popular for its trails, views and Civil War history.

This year’s winner was Sweetwater Creek State Park in Douglas County. With its variety of trails and appearances in movies — the old mill is easily identifiable in “Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1” and “Killing Fields” — it’s long been a favorite of hikers.

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