There’s no better way to stay fit than to find an outdoor trail to hike, bike, or even canoe. Below is a list of 12 trails—one for each month of the year. You’ll find the best trails in the area for a mix of everything from walking to horseback riding to paddling your kayak. So grab the appropriate gear and hit the trail! The great outdoors is waiting.
Best for Horseback Riding, Serenbe
With 15 miles of wooded, winding trails through rolling countryside, Serenbe offers morning and afternoon horseback rides to all levels of riders ages 8 and up. Take the “picnic trail” ride, which leads to a waterfall where you can eat lunch. Trail rides leave from the Serenbe Barn on Selborne Lane. serenbetrailriding.com
Best for Birding, Sams Lake Bird Sanctuary
Walk the .5-mile mulched trail bordering these wetlands south of Fayetteville to view birds from three observation decks. The 56-acre site—a drained lake bed reverted to a natural meadow—has shallow ponds and small islands that provide habitat for nesting birds. Inhabitants include egret, herons, hawk, wild turkey, and more.
Best for Walking, Morgan Grove Nature Area
Walk the two marked trails and wetland boardwalk to experience the open meadow, woodlands, creeks, and wetlands that make up Morgan Grove. Wildlife habitat enhancements, such as planted food plots and bat and bird boxes, are planned for the 60-acre nature area located near the Flint River in east Fayette County.
Best for Family Hike, Line Creek Nature Area
Hike trails along Line Creek or over the ridge above it at this 70-acre public preserve on the Fayette/Coweta county line. This area offers a mix of habitats—an upland hardwood forest, granite outcroppings, and a rushing stream—where you can splash and sun along the rocky shoals. sctlandtrust.org
Best for Canoeing, Chattahoochee Bend State Park
Located in a graceful bend of the Chattahoochee River, this park offers paddlers a river boat ramp. Put-in upstream at McIntosh Reserve Park for a 5-mile day trip to Chattahoochee Bend. Expect to see otters, water birds, and Bald Eagles, as well as bobcats and coyotes along the river’s edge. gastateparks.org
Best for Kayaking
Put-in your kayak at the Sprewell Bluff Outdoor Recreation Area in Upson County and spend an afternoon paddling downstream to the Flint River Outdoor Center. You’ll paddle some of the river’s most scenic Class I and II rapid stretches. Call the outdoor center ahead of time to arrange for a shuttle.
Best for Backpacking, Pine Mountain
This 23-mile hiking trail traverses Pine Mountain, meandering across its summit, ridges, and valleys. You will see unusual rock outcroppings, waterfalls, beaver dams, historic sites, and mountain vegetation. Located within F. D. Roosevelt State Park, there are 16 designated back-country/backpacking campsites in various locations just off the trail. gastateparks.org
Best for Fall Color, Cochran Mill Park
Fall color abounds when you hike the trails at Cochran Mill Park near Chattahoochee Hills. You will find several miles of trails and side trails. The red hiking trail, which follows the meandering Bear Creek, crosses several streams as it winds its way to a cascading waterfall at an old mill site. cochranmillnaturecenter.org
Best for History Buffs, McIntosh Reserve Park
Walk the trails and ponder the fate of Creek Indian Chief William McIntosh Jr., who lived and died here at the hand of disgruntled followers. His gravesite and a replica of the log cabin in which he and his family lived are located in this park along the Chattahoochee River in Carroll County. carrollcountyga.com
Best for Hiking, Chattahoochee Bend State Park
Spend the day hiking six miles of wilderness trails with seven miles of Chattahoochee River frontage. The Riverwalk Trail follows the sweeping bend of the river. Observation platforms provide views. The park, just west of Newnan, also offers night hikes with telescopes for gazing at the stars, planets, and constellations. gastateparks.org
Best for Biking, Peachtree City
Pick up a path map at the Peachtree City Visitors Center and bike the 90 miles of paved paths that run throughout the town. It’s a winding, sometimes hilly, trail that will lead you through neighborhoods, village centers, and recreation areas, across bridges and streams, under highways, and around Lake Peachtree. visitpeachtreecity.com
Best for Guided Night Hike, Sweetwater Creek State Park
Bring your flashlight and take the “Ruins to Rapids” Almost Full Moon Hike at Sweetwater Creek State Park in east Douglas County. This 1.5-mile, ranger-led moderate hike follows the creek’s rapids to the ruins of the New Manchester Manufacturing Company, a textile mill burned during the Civil War. gastateparks.org
photos left to right : © michaeljung/fotolia, © michaeljung/fotolia, © dusan kostic/fotolia
BY SHERRI SMITH BROWN | MARCH 1, 2015
Lifestyles features a mix of entertaining stories covering the local food, style, art, people and events of Coweta and Fayette and the surrounding areas.
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