Five spots to find solace in the great outdoors near metro Atlanta

From a quiet monastery in Conyers to a serene bike trail in Dallas

Five spots to find solace in the great outdoors
The grounds at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit

Sweetwater Creek State Park
Rock hop near the famous mill ruins, then head left in the opposite direction of the crowds toward the less popular Yellow Trail. A small (and overlooked) beach next to the steel bridge spanning the creek provides a quiet place to spread out on a blanket and listen to the flow of the mild rapids.

Monastery of the Holy Spirit
A quiet sense of calm and contemplation pervades the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers. Though the impressive abbey and museum are temporarily closed to the public due to Covid-19, its 2,300-acre grounds and gardens adjacent to Arabia Mountain are open for meditative walks for people of all faiths—or no faith. Settle on a bench overlooking the quiet lake for a moment of soulful reflection.

Island Ford at the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area
Avoid the crowds hiking around East Palisades and Paces Mill and head to Sandy Springs, where the flows of the Chattahoochee are flat—perfect not just for fly fishers and herons but also for stretching out in the sun on one of the many rocks along the park’s banks.

Cascade Springs Nature Preserve
Once the site of a resort built around natural springs thought to have healing properties, this preserve can still be a place to recharge. In the 120 acres of wild forest, spot wildlife like deer, turtles, and hawks, plus a waterfall, quiet springs, an old mossy stone springhouse, and a cluster of boulders on the Utoy Creek trail that make a perfect perch for meditating.

Silver Comet Trail
If you ohm best while pedaling toward the horizon, haul your bike to Tara Drummond Trailhead in Dallas, 30 miles northwest of the city. Head 17 miles west over trestles and through tunnels toward Rockmart along the former railbed that winds all the way to Alabama. It’s a relatively flat and smooth ride, so it’s easy to lose track of time and troubles while you coast and pump along.

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This article appears in our November 2020 issue.