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.
Chastain Park Trail
The Spin: Ride you bikes on a 3-mile paved path that loops the golf course and baseball fields at Chastain Park. There are two steep hills and a couple of long rises, so if your kiddos are beginners, you might want to skip this one.
Before Peeling Out: There are bathrooms located near the baseball fields and tennis courts, and there's an epic playground just across the street that also has bathrooms.
Find It: Parking can be found at the playground or in the ball field parking lots. You can also snag a space on the street. Jump on the trail at any point of the 3-mile path. It's nearly all along the perimeter of the park, so easy to find.
W. Wieuca and Lake Forrest Dr.
East Cobb Trail
The Spin: This flat, 2-mile trail is perfect for young bikers and parents pushing strollers.
Before Peeling Out: This is a shorter path and you'll encounter many pedestrians, so go during non-peak times to avoid the bobbing-and-weaving. Mornings, you'll find it filled with strollers and little kids.
Find It: In Marietta next to Roswell Rd., this path connects to many neighborhoods in the area. And it has a playground!
3322 Roswell Rd.
Stone Mountain Trail
The Spin: If you're going for distance, you'll find it on this 19-mile on-street and dedicated trail path that trades your sweat equity for a great view of Atlanta. Don't try to tackle it all at once, because there are awesome stopping points along the way, including Stone Mountain Village, the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site, and Downtown Decatur.
Before Peeling Out: Check this path out on a map and plan a section of it to do at a time. Because of the distance and portions of this being on-street, we suggest saving this one for your older and more advanced cyclers.
Find It: The path begins at Piedmont Ave. in Downtown Atlanta and ends at the loop around Stone Mountain. You could reverse it, of course, of select a section that suits your crew's abilities.
Centennial Olympic Park Dr. and John Portman Blvd.
Arabia Mountain Trail
The Spin: The Arabia Mountain trail stretches 30 miles through the Arabia Mountain National Heritage site, and takes you past exposed granite, Arabia Mountain, and lakes.
Before Peeling Out: Check out the Arabia Mountain website to see what events are being held when you're looking to go. You may want to plan a pit stop, or avoid some traffic.
Find It: Park at the Panola Mountain State Park Nature Center in Stockbridge for another highlight of your day, if you have time. Other parking is available along the trail.
2620 Georgia 155 SW
Silver Comet Trail
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.
Atlanta Eastside BeltLine Trail
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.
Big Creek Greenway
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.
Atlanta Northside BeltLine Trail
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.
Worth the Drive: Callaway Gardens Trail
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
Featured image courtesy of iStock.