Atlanta Beltline: Outdoor Adventure Your Family Will Treasure

The Atlanta BeltLine is one of the jewels of the city and one of the largest redevelopment plans in the United States.

The Atlanta BeltLine is a collection of multi-use trails, parks, green space, and affordable housing along a 22-mile loop of historic rail lines. It connects areas of Atlanta together, encourages economic development, and gets neighbors out of the house and exploring our beautiful city.

The 22 miles of continuous trails that circle Atlanta’s in-town neighborhoods connects communities, and features dining, shopping, parks, and more. You may have heard of the High Line in New York City — but Atlanta’s version could be said to be better, because the Atlanta BeltLine connects all parts of the city, and is home to special events and public art that can’t be seen anywhere else.

Ready to learn more? Whether you live in Atlanta or are just visiting, here’s everything you need to know about the Atlanta BeltLine in Atlanta, Georgia.

ATLANTA BELTLINE TRAILS

Atlanta Beltline: Outdoor Adventure Your Family Will Treasure
Courtesy of Atlanta BeltLine

At some point the Atlanta BeltLine will be a continuous trail, with spurs off of it, but at the moment that’s not yet complete. In addition, there are numerous spurs that connect existing parks, that aren’t technically the BeltLine, but are part of the system.

This can be confusing, because I’ve seen Atlanta BeltLine maps that show what it WILL be more often than I see what IS currently completed, and then the spurs add another layer altogether.

This Atlanta BeltLine map brochure is a good reference guide. We rode several of the trails. Here is our take on the various sections.

Newbie Tip: Consider taking a guided tour of the BeltLine. Really, Are You Serious? has a great list of Atlanta Tours (including the BeltLine).

NORTHSIDE TRAIL

Atlanta Beltline: Outdoor Adventure Your Family Will Treasure
Northside Trail courtesy of Atlanta BeltLine

The Northside Trail can be accessed from Collier Road and connects Ardmore Park and Atlanta Memorial Park and links to the Northwest BeltLine Connector Trail. You can take the spur trail to Bobby Jones Golf Course and the Bitsy Grant Tennis Center.

  • Length: About 1 mile from Ardmore Park through Tanyard Creek Park.
  • Where to Get On: Parking is available at Tanyard Creek Park along Collier Road (there is a sign that says Tanyard Creek Park). You’ll have to look for the entrance to the BeltLine, it’s not well marked and easy to miss.
  • What You’ll Find: Along this route are two playgrounds and a large field where we saw kids playing baseball. At one point you go under a railroad trestle through a bridge, which was quite fun. There is some cool artwork painted under the viaducts too.

EASTSIDE TRAIL

Atlanta Beltline: Outdoor Adventure Your Family Will Treasure
Eastside Trail courtesy of Atlanta BeltLine

The Eastside Trail was the first finished section of the Atlanta BeltLine trail in the old rail corridor. The trail opened to the public in October of 2012.

Along the BeltLine, we easily rode through some of Atlanta’s most historic neighborhoods like Virginia Highlands, Poncey Highland, Old Fourth Ward and Inman Park. Ponce City Market is a fantastic place to take a break and do a little shopping, or visit some great restaurants – the Holman and Finch burger and fries are not to be missed – especially the fries. And you won’t find a more delicious ice cream than Honeysuckle.

The Eastside Trail connects to Historic Fourth Ward ParkHistoric Fourth Ward Skatepark and Piedmont Park, and runs from the tip of Piedmont Park to Reynoldstown.

We stopped to watch skateboarders at the Old Fourth Ward Skate Park and play on the playground. We watched as Alex Rodriguez’s sculpture Whirling Wheels was installed along the route and I pined for more time so we could visit a few of the shops and restaurants in Inman Park.

  • Length:  3 miles
  • Where to Get On: There are access points near Piedmont Park, Ponce City Market and Krog Street Market. Park on the street at 10th Street and Monroe or in the pay lot at Park Tavern restaurant at the corner of 10th and Monroe. Be careful parking around here, they will boot your car if it’s not in an approved space.
  • What You’ll Find: At the moment, this is one of the most popular sections of the BeltLine and most easily accessible. It was interesting to me to view the city from this perspective. As anyone who has been to East Atlanta knows, they have fabulous neighborhoods but you just can’t get there from here. The public art in this section is particularly impressive.

WEST END TRAIL

Atlanta Beltline: Outdoor Adventure Your Family Will Treasure
West End Trail courtesy of Atlanta BeltLine

The West End Trail connects to the Westside Trail and runs from Washington Park to Adair Park. The West End Trail features 16 access points, 14 of which are ADA compliant.

The trail passes Lee + White, where you’ll find plenty of restaurants, breweries, distilleries and more. Gordon White Park and Rose Circle Park can also be accessed by this part of the trail.

  • Length: 2.4 miles from White Street to Westview Cemetery and includes the historic West End, Mozely Park and Westview.
  • Where to Get On: We got lost in a not so great neighborhood trying to find the trailhead. We finally found the trail and parked on the street in a neighborhood where I wasn’t sure whether it was ok or not to park. The Atlanta BeltLine website suggests parking near Westview Cemetery, Gordon White Park, or Rose Circle Park.
  • What You’ll Find: The bike ride to Westview Cemetery was along a busy roadway and of the three sections, this one had the fewest people on it.  Gordon White Park is a pretty pocket park, but I’d like to see more areas like this along this trail.

OTHER TRAILS ALONG THE BELTLINE

We haven’t been able to explore all the BeltLine has to offer yet, but there is plenty more to see! Here are some of the other sections you can your crew can explore.

  • Northeast Trail: Still under construction, although the middle section from Ansley Mall to the Buford Spring Connector is paved.
  • Southside Trail: Segment 1 of the Southside Trail was opened in 2021. It’s the first of five sections that are expected to open. The trail runs 0.8 miles from the southern terminus of the Westside Trail at University Avenue to the Annie E. Casey Foundation site at Pittsburgh Yards. The remaining segments of the Southside Trail are open, but currently un-paved.
  • Southwest Connector Spur Trail: This trail consists of 1.5 miles of mixed-use trail and 1.6 miles of street “sharrows”. The trail links Beecher Hills Park with Lionel Hampton Park. You’ll love taking this trail through natural settings and historic neighborhoods. This spur trail is part of the larger 33-mile trail network.
  • Westside Trail: There are currently two open sections of this trail, along with plans for the connecting segment to go under construction in 2023. The northern section runs 1.22 miles from Law Street to Huff Road, mostly along Marietta Street. The southern end of the trail is walkable from the Bankhead MARTA station and connects to the Westside BeltLine Connector into downtown.

THINGS TO DO ON THE ATLANTA BELTLINE

Atlanta Beltline: Outdoor Adventure Your Family Will Treasure
Courtesy of Atlanta BeltLine

ART ON THE BELTLINE

Art on the BeltLine is the largest temporary public art exhibition in the Southeast. It features sculptures, murals, and performances across over 13 linear miles of the Atlanta BeltLine, and is a great reason to get out and explore.

You’ll find beautiful murals — perfect for social media snaps — photography, sculptures, and even performance art along the BeltLine. Whether you’re looking for something in particular, or just want to explore, you’re sure to find something that speaks to you.

You can find an interactive art map here.

BIKE RENTALS

Lots of people walk the Atlanta BeltLine, but we think the best way to see it is to get a bike rental. After spending time in bicycle-friendly Breckenridge CO, Sue’s family came back to Atlanta with a different outlook, more experienced riders and a desire to find some great places to bicycle Atlanta. The Atlanta BeltLine fit the bill perfectly.

Atlanta Bicycle Barn is another great choice. They offer both traditional and e-bikes for rent, and they also offer tandem bikes and kids trailers. You’ll find this fun bike shop located right on the Atlanta BeltLine.

In addition to bringing your own or renting from the Bicycle Barn, you’ll find some Relay Bike Share locations along some of the most popular parts of the BeltLine, like the West End and Eastside.

Want to explore more of the BeltLine by bike? Sign up for one of their Atlanta BeltLine Bike Tours!

TINY DOORS ATLANTA

Tiny Doors Atlanta is another great public art project that you can see at various stops along the BeltLine. Keeping an eye out for these colorful doors is a perfect kid-friendly activity, although it’s fun for adults too.

You can find five Tiny Doors throughout the BeltLine, and there’s even a BeltLine Adventure Guide to help you locate these fun little art projects.

PUBLIC PARKS

Many different sections of the Atlanta BeltLine that have been built are located in or around popular parks — making them the perfect place to take a break or get your start on the BeltLine.

Piedmont Park connects to the Eastside Trail, as well as the Historic Fourth Ward Park and Skate Park. The BeltLine’s first park — Gordon White Park — opened in 2008 on the West End Trail.

As we mentioned earlier, Tanyard Creek Park is a great place to access the Northside Trail.

Read More: PARKS IN ATLANTA: BEST PLAYGROUNDS & PLAY SPACES FOR KIDS IN THE METRO

SKYLINE PARK

Skyline Park at Ponce City Market can be accessed from the BeltLine’s Eastside Trail. You’ll find this rooftop location is perfect for year-round fun.

With old-school carnival games and rides in the summer, ice skating in the winter, and amazing views throughout the year — this is one place you don’t want to miss!

Read More: 17 USEFUL TIPS TO ENJOY SKYLINE PARK AT PONCE CITY MARKET (VIDEO)

WESTVIEW CEMETERY

Westview Cemetery is the final resting place of several notable Atlantans, including Joel Chandler Harris and Henry Grady. With nearly 600 acres of land, Westview Cemetery is the largest cemetery in the Southeast.

Make sure you make time to see the Westview Abbey…you won’t want to miss it.

The cemetery can be accessed from the Westside Trail.

MORE FUN ALONG THE ATLANTA BELTLINE

Atlanta Beltline: Outdoor Adventure Your Family Will Treasure

The Atlanta BeltLine has spurred new development, as well as some super fun community programs. Here are a few of our favorites.

ATLANTA BELTLINE LANTERN PARADE

What’s more fun than a parade? How about a parade at night?

The Atlanta BeltLine lantern parade was the first of it’s kind in Atlanta and has become a city tradition. Each fall, founder Chantelle Ryder and the Krewe of the Grateful Gluttons host lantern making workshops before the community parade in September. Whether you walk in the parade or just watch, this is a must do event.

ATLANTA BELTLINE ARBORETUM WALKING TOURS

Take a walking tour of the Atlanta BeltLine Arboretum and learn more about nature and Atlanta history along the way. Conducted by docents in connection with Trees Atlanta, these walking tours explore both the Eastside Trail and Westside Trail.

You’ll learn more about the trees, grasses, green spaces and other natural elements along the corridor.

ATLANTA BELTLINE RACE SERIES

Ready to run and explore the BeltLine at the same time? Then make plans to participate in one of the fun races that are a part of the Atlanta BeltLine Race Series.

You’ll find three races throughout the year that explore three different areas of the BeltLine, including the nearby historic neighborhoods. All three races (Northside, Westside and Eastside) are AJC Peachtree Road Race qualifiers.

Proceeds support the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership and Atlanta Track Club.

ATLANTA BELTLINE FAQ

What is the purpose of the Atlanta BeltLine?

According to their website, the purpose of the Atlanta BeltLine is to, u0022connect 45 neighborhoods in Atlanta through trails, transit, greenspace, economic development, and housing.u0022 It’s a great way to connect shopping, dining, parks, and more and gets neighbors outside and exploring.

Is the Atlanta BeltLine a loop?

The Atlanta BeltLine will be a loop when it’s completed. It will also have spur trails leading to different areas as well.

Can you get to the BeltLine from MARTA?

Yes, you can get close to the BeltLine from MARTA. You can use the Inman Park MARTA station for a 20-minute walk or a pleasant bike ride to the Eastside BeltLine Trail.

MORE INFORMATION FOR YOUR TRIP TO ATLANTA

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Atlanta Beltline: Outdoor Adventure Your Family Will Treasure