By Alli Hill
There’s something special about venturing off the road and into the midst of Mother Nature for a good run. Sure, terrain is often unpredictable, with slight ups and downs and a myriad of surprise obstacles, but that’s what makes trail running so alluring. Because of its natural, unpaved components you never know what to expect, which helps keep you focused and on your feet during your workout. As an added benefit, you get an energizing run that’s as good for your mind as it is for your body. If you never experienced the joys of trail running or are looking for a few new places to blaze your path, these five awesome trail running spots in Georgia ensure you never have a boring run again.
This 4.9-mile loop trail takes your running game to new heights—literally. The trail offers scenic views throughout, including a treetop boardwalk well above the forest floor. The trail winds its way down into the canyon at a steep 40-degree slope, along with 1,200 stairs to make sure you get a good workout. Though this trail is rated as moderate, it does provide additional challenges for trail runners which might put it on the more difficult side of the moderate spectrum. The waterfalls here are a welcome reward and can help motivate you to finish your run.
Short and sweet, this just-over-two-mile loop trail is the perfect balance of challenge and distance. This trail takes you right past beautiful Amicalola Falls. However, the weekends here can become quite crowded because of people clamoring for a view of the falls, so your best bet for an uninterrupted run is early in the mornings or on a weekday. Once you get a good view of the falls from the bottom, head to the steps (over 600!) to get another view from the top before heading back down the trail to finish your workout.
Perfect for beginner trail runners and seasoned ones alike, this four-mile loop leads the way along a creek. The first part of trail itself is relatively tame, with slight elevation changes and a few terrain challenges to give your run a little variation. The second half features some steeper parts so make sure you bank your energy early. If you want to add a little more distance, consider combining the red and white trails.
This 6.9-mile trail (roundtrip) is rated as more challenging. Panther Creek Falls’ out-and-back trail features a beautiful waterfall on its namesake creek, along with several terrain and nature challenges that will take a bit of finessing to keep your footing. It’s best to visit this trail during a dry spell, as storms often down trees here and can make the trail somewhat dangerous for runners. There are a few stretches here that offers massive elevation gains and other technicalities, so exercise caution.
Set in view of Georgia’s iconic Stone Mountain, this five-mile trail travels around the base of the mountain, giving you beautiful views from all sides. It’s challenging enough for seasoned trail runners, but not too strenuous for beginners. Often touted as one of Atlanta’s best kept secrets, this beautiful trail gives you plenty of natural scenery you never would have expected so close to the city.