Looking for a shaded, active family adventure that’s as bearable in Atlanta’s sweltering summer months as it is beautiful on a colorful fall day? Give these paved paths a spin! Read on for everything you need to know about peddling your way to a blissful day.
Photo: S. Massey
The Spin: The Silver Comet stretches 60 miles from Smyrna all the way to Alabama (with or without the banjo on your knee) and is a converted railway line—extremely flat, paved, and offers numerous places to funnel on and off.
Before Peeling Out: You will find a rest hut equipped with a bathroom and water-fountain roughly every couple miles, and you can expect to see rushing streams, railway bridges, carved-out rock, golf courses, and farmland along the way. Picnic at one of the benches, nature paths (2.4 miles in is a favorite with remnants of an old mill), or resting spots along the trail, but be sure to bring your own.
Find It: The Mavell Road Trailhead is the start of the Silver Comet Trail, at mile marker 0. It has nice restrooms, paved parking and picnic tables.
4573 Mavell Rd.
Photo: S. Massey
The Spin: While the BeltLine continues to evolve, the Eastside Trail, which conveniently connects popular destinations like Piedmont Park, Virginia Highland, Poncey-Highland, Inman Park and the Old Fourth Ward, still reigns supreme over the massive undertaking.
Before Peeling Out: A mecca of food choices for little ones is just a small bike ride away from the trail at nearly any given point, so picnicking is just one option. And, since it’s just under two and a half miles long, you’ll go at more a “smell the roses” pace—ideal for tikes on tires—than Tour du France.
Find It: The Eastside Trail is 2.2 miles from 10th Street (tip of Piedmont Park) and Monroe Drive to Inman Park and the Old Fourth Ward. The entrance is on Monroe Drive across from the Park Tavern Restaurant.
10th St. at Monroe Dr.
Photo: Donnie Ray Jones via Flickr
The Spin: If you and your mini-me are into wildlife, head to the Big Creek Greenway for blue heron, deer, ducks and geese along the eight mile bike trail. Meander through Alpharetta, Roswell, Milton, and Johns Creek along streams and marshes.
Before Peeling Out: The trail is comprised of North and South trails, and they are now connected. The North Trail is partially made up of raised boardwalk. The rest of the trail is nearly all paved. Flooding does occur in many of the adjacent marshes, so be sure to check the status of the trail before you go.
Find It: A good starting point is Big Creek Park in Roswell.
1600 Old Alabama Rd.
Photo: Phillipe Put via Flickr
The Spin: If you’ve got preschool and younger peddlers in tow, the Northside Trail is where the party is. Only one mile in length (one direction), it connects two sizable playgrounds (Ardmore Park and Tanyard Creek Park), runs the length of a football-sized green space, meanders under an elevated train track, and moseys by the Bobby Jones Golf Course (Balls! Balls everywhere!).
Before Peeling Out: If your kiddos aren’t huge fans of dogs, steer clear of the Tanyard Creek Greenspace, where fur balls frequently run free. Otherwise, enjoy the bridges, the trains, the tunnel that runs underneath Collier Road, and the playgrounds.
Find It: The Northside Trail t’s into the west side of Ardmore Road midway between Collier Road and 28th Street. Parking is available along the neighborhood streets.
Ardmore Rd. near 28th St.
Photo: Callaway Gardens
The Spin: We all know Callaway Gardens has the beloved butterfly sanctuary, a historical village, beaches, seasonal concerts, a world class hotel and spa amenities, but did you know it has one of the most kid-friendly bike paths in all of Georgia? This 10 mile wide level paved surface meanders through the beautiful scenery and on the outskirts of picturesque lakes.
Before Peeling Out: Getting on and off the trail is a snap, thanks to its multiple entry points and well-positioned back racks. To use the bike path you must pay the not-so-nominal entry fee for every individual entering the Gardens (children under 5 are free), so plan to arrive early and take full advantage of the attractions along the way. Rent your wheels there (if you arrive early enough before they run out) or bring you own.
Find It: Pine Mountain is a solid day trip from Atlanta, but definitely doable. Feeling frisky? Check out the nearby Wild Animal Safari before heading home.
17800 U.S. 27
Where do you have a wheely good time around town? Tell us in the comments section below!
—Shelley Massey & Valerie Shepherd