In a society that considers its dogs to be cherished family members rather than merely loyal pets, it only makes sense to provide a plethora of pooch-friendly parks and pathways. Atlanta is certainly no exception. With a wealth of parks designed for canines to be as social as their human counterparts and trails radiating out for miles, it’s a cinch to grab a leash and take one’s favorite flea bag on a dog walk to remember. Dog owners of all breeds and temperaments can accompany their precious pups on a leisurely stroll to simply enjoy the scenery or a serious sojourn to health and wellness along any one of these trails in and around the Atlanta area.
The Atlanta BeltLine
86 Pryor St., Suite 300
Atlanta, GA 30303
Throughout Downtown Atlanta
The Atlanta BeltLine is not only one of the most comprehensive revitalization projects this city has ever seen, it’s also a terrific destination for pups and the people who love them. Encircling the city like a dog collar, the BeltLine will ultimately be comprised of 33 miles of multi-use trails – connecting 45 in-town neighborhoods and 1,300 acres of parks. Trails that are currently open to foot (and paw) traffic include the Eastside Trail – stretching from Piedmont Park to Inman Park to the Old Fourth Ward, the Northside Trail – providing a picturesque pathway through Tanyard Creek Park near Collier Hills, and the West End Trail – offering up a 2.4-mile stretch from White Street to Westview Cemetery and includes Gordon White Park.
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400 Park Drive N.E.
Atlanta, GA 30306
As one of the most famed parks along the Atlanta BeltLine, Piedmont Park has definitely earned its own spotlight. After all, this is the place where people and pooches of Atlanta want to see and be seen. Established in 1904, Piedmont Park has been a favorite stomping ground for local tail-waggers and the homo sapiens who love them. It’s not unusual to see dogs catching Frisbees in the meadow at the south end of the park, going “off-leash” in the three-acre dog run area known as Piedmont Dog Park or traversing several miles of trail circuits that wind throughout the park.
Tallulah Gorge State Park
338 Jane Hurt Yarn Drive
Tallulah Falls, GA 30573
At two miles in length and nearly 1,000 feet in depth, Tallulah Gorge in North Georgia is one of the most awe-inspiring canyons in the South – making it an ideal destination for hikers. While pets are not allowed on the gorge floor or on any trails that access the floor, there is a terrific trail for dogs and their owners along the rim wall that offers spectacular views of the river and waterfalls for which the Gorge is so famous. From its trailhead beside Tallulah Falls Lake, the 1.7-mile paved Tallulah Falls Rail Trail follows an on old railroad bed as it winds its way through the forest and crosses a small suspension bridge over the Tallulah River.
Chattahoochee River National Recreational Area
1978 Island Ford Parkway
Sandy Springs, GA 30350
The Chattahoochee River takes center stage on this particular hound hike. Considered America’s First National Water Trail, the “Hooch” is home to a network of terrific parks and more than 75 miles of trails. After pursuing the preferred path of their own choosing, dog and owner can cool off in the river and sun themselves on one of the shoals that line the river bed.
Silver Comet Trail
Smyrna, GA 30082
Poised just 13 miles northwest of Atlanta’s bustling city streets, the Silver Comet Trail seems a world away. Cutting a meandering path through Cobb, Paulding and Polk counties, this 61.5-mile-long trail ends at the Georgia/Alabama state line – where it connects to an additional 33-mile stretch called the Chief Ladiga Trail. This fully paved “rail-trail” was constructed on existing and abandoned railroad lines – offering a stunning stroll for both canines and their human companions through west Georgia. The originating trailhead is located at the end of Mavell Road in Smyrna.
Kasie Bolling is a freelance writer covering all things Atlanta. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.