It took long enough, but autumnal temps have finally hit Atlanta. So it’s the perfect time to take in the changing leaves and scenic views that Atlanta’s many hiking trails have to offer. The best part: these dog-friendly treks mean your pup can get in some exercise and fresh air, too.
South Peachtree Creek Trail
For proof that Atlanta is the “city in a forest,” look no further than this lush Decatur trail that stretches from Mason Mill Park to Medlock Park. At just over 3.5 miles roundtrip, this paved path is great for those who want a low-impact, easily accessible hike for themselves and their pup.
East Palisades Trail
This popular Sandy Springs trail takes hikers along the banks of the Chattahoochee River. The 2.5-mile trail is best for dogs (and people) that can handle rocks, a winding path, and a few hundred feet of elevation.
Powers Island Trail
For a less populated Chattahoochee River trail than East Palisades, you can opt for this quieter 2.6-mile round-trip loop in Mableton. There are even kayaking and canoe rental opportunities if you’re feeling extra adventurous.
Pro tip: While the rules vary from trail to trail when it comes to leashes, I think a good rule of thumb is to keep your dog leashed. Even if your furry friend is friendly, the other dogs it passes on the trail might not be.
Vickery Creek Trail
You’ll want to bring a waterproof case for your phone or camera on this trail—the photo ops here are epic. For furry friends who love chasin’ waterfalls (and owners who don’t want to drive hours outside of metro Atlanta), Vickery Creek Falls at Roswell Mill is hard to beat. The fact that there’s also a 4.7-mile trail is an added bonus.
Kennesaw Mountain’s Big Mountain Trail
More athletic, agile pups will be able to handle this 2.1-mile round-trip trail in Kennesaw. For humans, expect a next-level view, water features, potential deer sightings, and nature galore—what more could you want?
Pro tip: Dogs can’t drink easily out of water bottles, so it’s a good idea to bring a small or collapsible bowl so you can both stay hydrated. It’s also wise to pack a towel to dry them off (or just clean their paws) before they hop back in the car.
Arabia Mountain Top Trail
Standing on the high points of Southeast Atlanta’s Arabia Mountain gives you an otherworldly feeling, almost like you’re walking on Mars. (Admittedly, dogs probably can’t appreciate that aspect, but you will!) There’s a 1.3-mile trail you can hike, or you and your pup can just wander around admiring the seasonal flora and fauna.
Morningside Nature Preserve
Two words: Dog. Beach. Just off Cheshire Bridge Road, this Morningside-area destination features a 2-mile trail, a swing bridge, and, oh yeah, a dog beach. Here, pups can frolic leash-free on the shore and in the water. And yes, it’s as heavenly as it sounds.
Pro tip: A few reports came out earlier this year of dogs mysteriously dying shortly after visiting Allatoona Lake near Cobb County, Georgia. While the Environmental Protection Division found that the toxic algae detected wasn’t at an unsafe level, they did recommend people and pets avoid going into bright green or pea soup-colored bodies of water.
Lullwater Park Trail
The last time I visited this park, I stumbled into the middle of an engagement shoot—that’s how you know this place is legitimately stunning. This 2.4-mile paved trail on Emory University’s campus is an idyllic escape from Atlanta’s concrete jungle and offers you and your dog plenty of nature to take in.
Cascade Springs Nature Preserve
This short 1.9-mile path in Southwest Atlanta has it all: beautiful waterfalls, expansive green space, and unique touches (such as a moss-covered historic springhouse).
Sweetwater Creek State Park
Situated about 15 miles from downtown Atlanta, Sweetwater is the go-to nature park for many outdoors-loving ATLiens and their fluffy family members. Sure, it gets crowded on nice weekend afternoons, but with six color-coded trail options, you can still enjoy a nice hike, complete with historic ruins and a fast-flowing creek.