Are you new to hiking, have little ones, or just don’t want to commit to an all-day hike? Then we’ve got the list for you of the best places for hiking in Georgia.
If you enjoy hiking near Atlanta, then this list of 125 hikes under 2 miles is a great resource. You’ll enjoy Georgia waterfalls, Atlanta parks, local hiking trails, nature trails, and the best hikes in Georgia for kids and beginners. And remember: leave no trace; leave only footprints.
Hiking with kids is both challenging and rewarding. I’ve been hiking with my guys since they were born, which is one of our favorite ways to spend the day. Until their little legs could carry them farther, our hiking adventures were shorter than the average outdoorsman, but that doesn’t mean they’re less fun!
Just as always, please leave a comment below if you know of a hike in your area that is great for kids and 2 miles or under. I continue to update this list when we find new places, and I want to add your discoveries, too.
New to hiking with kids? Check out these tips.
ATLANTA METRO AREA
These are hikes that can be found in and around the Atlanta metro area.
Walk Downtown Alpharetta – There are over 8 miles of trails in downtown Alpharetta, including the Green Loop and Red Loop trails at Wills Park.
Atlanta Beltline – This Atlanta attraction is full of trails, playgrounds, graffiti art, and so much more!
Atlanta Memorial Park – A great hike in the city that starts and stops at a popular playground. 1.5 miles, with great trees.
Blue Heron Nature Preserve – .25-mile hike through the woods, play at a sandbar, and past the community garden. There are six hikes to choose from here.
Cascade Springs – A secret haven in the city. Waterfall, forest hike, and history. Just under 2 miles.
Elwyn John Wildlife Sanctuary – Take a 1.2-mile loop in the woods. The trail is excellent for walking, hiking, or biking.
Lullwater Park – The hike from the suspension bridge and mill ruins was probably a bit over 1 mile, but that is a guess. I walked it with my two young sons, so it was definitely under 2 miles. Lullwater Preserve lies at the heart of Emory University’s campus. The 154-acre preserve contains beautiful Candler Lake, a 210-foot suspension bridge, acres of green space, and miles of walking and jogging trails (if you want more hiking).
Morningside Nature Preserve – A great hike on a boardwalk, a path, and over a great suspension bridge. The entire hike is just under 3 miles, but I put it here because it’s only 2 miles to the bridge (round trip,) and if your kids are like mine, there is no pulling them farther. The sand and water are too much fun!
Murphey Candler Park – A 1.6-mile loop hike, walk or run the scenic two-mile trail circling a small lake and exploring scenic marshland and forest in Atlanta’s Brookhaven neighborhood.
Oakland Cemetery – Oakland Cemetery is a can’t-miss landmark in Atlanta. See gorgeous gardens and learn about Georgia’s history. There are even Smithsonian sculptures in the garden. Bring a camera and visit in spring. Be sure to download one of two free apps for your self-guided tour. Depending on the paths you take, walks can range from .5 miles to 2 miles.
Piedmont Park – Several paved pedestrian roads in this wooded park make up loops from 0.7 miles to 1.68 miles. There are playgrounds, a pond, and plenty of space to run and play.
Buford Dam – 2 miles round trip will take you past the dam that creates Lake Lanier.
Ivy Creek Greenway – 2.5-mile round trip through George Pierce Park is a combination of paved trail and boardwalk. The southern end of the trail connects to the beautiful and popular Suwanee Creek Greenway.
Allatoona Pass – This peaceful trail through the pines has a rich war and rail history. Take the 1-mile main trail, or any offshoots from this.
Coopers Furnace – Take this 1.5-mile balloon loop past the iron works, exploring a historic, stacked-stone iron furnace and climbing to high-elevation views of Allatoona Lake, the Etowah River and Allatoona Dam.
Pine Mtn Rec Area – To access the shorter trail here, park at the trailhead off Main Street. The trailhead path plus the West Loop trail are just under 2 miles long, with great views of Allatoona Lake along the way.
Red Top Mountain – Six trails. White Tail Trail is 1 mile in and back. The Visitor Center Trail Loop and the Lakeside Trail Loop are under one mile each. And there is a playground.
John Tanner Park (from Miranda) – 3/4 mile nature trail, 1-mile paved trail on the lake, playground, swimming beach, picnic shelters!
Big Haynes Creek Nature Center (from Denzil) – There are mountain bike trails and horse trails here, but walkers cannot use these. But within the nature center are more trails, perfect for hikers. The main trail is .5 miles, and additional trails run off that one, with docks, a canoe launch, and more.
Johnson Park (from Denzil) – 1.0 mile paved trail around the playground.
Sawnee Mountain Preserve – This preserve is known primarily for the Indian Seats Trail, which is a strenuous trail to the peak of the mountain. For young kids, though, you should park at the Visitor Center and hike the 1/3 mile round trip trail from the center to the tree house.
There is a short (1/10 mile is my guess) Fairy Houses Trail beside the treehouse, as well. Kids can play at the play area outside the visitor center once you are done hiking.
Enter through the main entrance for a more traditional playground area and access to the ¼ mile Eaglet Trail. Another ¼ mile will take you to the old mine shaft. This is also a shorter way to reach the Observation Deck and Indian Seats, although the climb is steep.
Little Mulberry Park (from Melissa) – There are so many great trails here that it will be hard to choose! They’ve got paved trails too so that you can bring your bikes and scooters. A few trails go around ponds, and there is a fantastic playground here too. Note, there are some strenuous trails here, too, if you’re searching for more of a challenge.
Pickett’s Mill (from Douglas) – This Georgia State Historic Site has great trails for beginners — four of the five trails are 2 miles or under. I walked the blue trail once with my kids and 75-year-old mother-in-law! It’s a pretty site along the creek; the large boulders make a soothing sound.
Boundary Waters Park (from Miranda) – 3 trails; the blue is 1.1 miles. There is a playground and lake, as well.
Chattahoochee Hill Country Greenway Trail -The Douglas County Segment of the Chattahoochee Hill Country Greenway Trail was completed in May of 2013. This is an “out-and-back,” concrete paved trail, built on a portion of the park’s natural surface trails that is approximately 3/4 of a mile in length. Once completed, it will connect with Sweetwater Creek State Park, the cities/counties of Carroll, Coweta, Fulton, and the City of Chattahoochee Hills to complete a 98-mile greenway corridor.
To gain access to the trail, use the main trail head located behind the Aquatic Center’s parking lot, where it comes to an end at the gravel road near the Pond.
Dunwoody Nature Center – The Woodland Trail loop is an easy 1.5 miles. Playground, tree house, boardwalk…this is a free fun park. Follow the trails to discover all the hidden gems of the Dunwoody Nature Center.
Elachee Nature Center – Six trails. Four trails under ¾ of a mile each. Overall, Elachee Nature Science Center invites you to hike the 12.24-mile trail system in the 1,440-acre Chicopee Woods Nature Preserve through woodland, lake, stream, and wetland.
Don Carter State Park – This state park offers five hikes under 2 miles to choose from. You’ll also find playgrounds and a swimming beach here.
Autrey Mill (from Kathy) – There are over 2.5 miles of trails here (divided amongst the three trails), that take you through a hardwood forest, and past creeks with shoals. The hikes here range from 1/3-mile to a mile.
Kennesaw Mountain Trail – We love the climb to the top of the mountain from the visitor center. It is 1 mile up and 1 mile back down. A stroller will not make its way up this rugged terrain, but my just-turned-3-year-old had no problems navigating.
Smith Gilbert Gardens – I am not able to find definitive lengths on the trails here, but having visited over a dozen times, I can tell you they are not over 2 miles. We love it here; it’s a gem in the suburbs with over 3,000 species of plants, a waterfall, children’s garden, picnic area, and more.
Bethesda Park – 1.5 mile hike around the lake. Playgrounds.
Collins Hill Park (from Leslie) – 1.5 mile trail. Per Leslie: wooded trail that is maintained and never muddy. Park in the parking lot next to the basketball courts. On the same side of the drive as the courts. Then go to the far end of that parking lot and you will see the beginning of the trail.
You will be walking along a creek on your left. After five minutes of walking you will see a very small cement bridge that allows you to cross the creek. Take that bridge and just follow the trail and it will bring you through 1.5 miles of woods. It will drop you right back to your car. Kid- and dog-friendly. Some hills.
Rhodes Jordan – 1.9-mile paved path with two playgrounds.
Sweetwater Creek State Park – 4 Trails. The red trail is 1 mile in and 1 mile back. This trail takes you past the mill ruins and to the falls.
Arabia Mountain – 8 trails, each of them are under 1 mile, but notice that many of them are only accessible via another trail (which extends the trail length). With little kiddos you’ll want to stick to Trails A, D, E (if you stop at the water,) F, G, and H.
Cheatam Hill Loop – This loop is 1 mile long, and one trail of over 16 miles worth of hiking opportunities in Kennesaw Mountain Park.
Lucille Creek – A 1.6-mile route along the creek in the shade.
Big Creek Greenway Trail – This paved trail is eight miles long with five access points. See the link for mileage chart between points in order to find your ideal length. Just remember you’ll need to head out and back.
Big Trees Forest Preserve – Another of our favorites, with wonderful trees, bridges, and water. There are 7 trails here of varying difficulty. The Power’s Branch trail is the most scenic and is only 1.2 miles long.
Chattahoochee Nature Center – Six trails, all under ½ mile each.
Island Ford – This is one of our favorite hikes because of the large boulders along the path that are perfect for climbing explorers. Add to this the view of the Chattahoochee River on the opposite side, and you have the perfect hike!
The entire blazed trail is 3 miles, but we never walk that far. If you follow the trail from the visitor center, it will closely follow the river. Within less than a mile it will veer from the river to the left. Rather than continue on the trail, just turn around and follow the trail back to the visitor center to keep your hike under 2 miles.
Leita Thompson Park – Three trails. The yellow trail is 1.12 miles and the blue one is 2 miles. A little more than ½ way through the yellow trail is a stream off to the left that my sons love to play in. Watch out for snakes, though.
Old Roswell Mill – This 2-mile trail includes the covered bridge, which makes great photos!
Powers Island Loop – The bridge here is fun for taking pictures, and the walk is very easy and shaded.
Roswell River Walk – This trail is actually 18 miles of paved path and pea gravel. I recommend parking at one of the parks along Riverside, then playing on the playground, walking less than a mile to the next playground, then returning back to your parking area. Great views of the Chattahoochee.
Morgan Falls Overlook Park – This is a gorgeous park with unique playground structures, a view of the Chattahoochee, picnic pavilions, large swings, and a ¾ mile hiking trail along the water.
Silver Comet Trail – Like Roswell River Walk, Silver Comet is one long paved trail with several access points.
Panola Mountain State Park – Two trails. Watershed Trail is 1.25 miles and Rock Outcrop Trail is ¾ mile trail.
Stone Mountain Park – There are six trails within Stone Mountain Park making it a great place for outdoor adventures, five of which are under 2 miles. Don’t miss the covered bridge and the grist mill. Grab your hiking boots or favorite walking sneakers and enjoy!
Overall, Stone Mountain Park features 15 miles of hiking and walking trails with varying degrees of difficulty. Enjoy the 5-mile trail around the base, the 1-mile trail to the summit and more! Get individual trail maps and information below, or download the complete trail map.
Settles Bridge Park (from Adam) – 1.6 mile paved trail with an awesome looking playground.
Clinton Nature Preserve (from Miranda) – There are three trails here, two are under 2 miles and both are loops. There are pavilions, a playground, and water! Thanks for the tips Miranda!
McIntosh Reserve (from Miranda) – McIntosh Reserve in Carroll County has hiking trails, a splash park, and historical buildings along the Chattahoochee River. All the trails on their map are under 2 miles.
Blanket’s Creek (from Steph) – This is a large mountain bike trail. Mosquito Flats is a wonderful, easy 1.35 mile trail along the creek (can’t wait to visit in warmer weather and play in the water). There is a .7 extension if you want to walk longer. Bikes have the right-of-way.
Lewis Park (from Wind) – Don’t confuse this with the dog park in Marietta. This one is in Woodstock, and includes a 1/2 mile nature trail with a playground.
Olde Rope Mill Park – We lived near here, so this was “home” during the hottest summer months. The creek is fun to play in, and it makes great mud play. The paved hiking area is 1 mile (1/2 mile each direction) and perfect for the kids’ scooters. There is a nature trail across the bridge for which there is no mileage indicator, but I would guess the loop is close to two miles, maybe a little more.
It is tricky for young kids, with some “close call” areas near the water and mill ruins. I’m OK bringing my 5 yo, but not my younger son.
Ready for some hiking in the mountains? These northwest Georgia hikes are perfect for a backpacking trip with the kiddos.
Manning Mill – Take the 1.5 mile hike around Manning Mill Lake. The park includes a playground.
Big Rock Nature Trail (Fort Mountain State Park) – This is one of several fun hikes at Fort Mountain State Park. It is a .8 mile loop, but careful, as the climb near the falls is more ‘moderate’ than ‘easy.’
The West Overlook and Stone Wall Trail are great historical trails with amazing views that together are 1.6 miles.
Songbird Trail – 1.7-mile loop. It is peaceful and easy. I remember my son falling asleep in his stroller every time we walked it, until he was old enough to walk it with me. Dogs are also welcome on this trail.
Tumbling Waters – 1.5-mile loop to a cove of Carter’s Lake and Trails Creek. It’s a great family-friendly, and dog-friendly hike with beautiful views.
Burnt Mountain Preserve – There are three loop trails here, each under 2 miles. Don’t let this fool you though, the white blazed trail is a “ladder chute” and very steep. If you’re up for it (maybe with older kids) the reward is a wonderful swimming hole at the bottom! Enjoy the other trails (easy and moderate) in the preserve with wonderful wildflowers.
Overlook Trail at Cloudland Canyon – Offering impressive views for you to enjoy the natural beauty of Cloudland Canyon’s State Park’s rugged canyons and dense woodland, the easy Overlook Trail meanders along the rim of Cloudland Canyon for approximately ½ mile. (Not a beginner? Try the West Rim Loop Trail.)
Arrowhead Wildlife Trails – 2.2 miles of nature trails with a beaver dam. Perfect for children.
Marshall Forest Preserve – Enjoy this preserve with 55 different tree species and two trails. One is a fun ADA certified braille trail, Big Pine Braille Trail. This and Flower Glen Trail are each under 2 miles.
There’s also Pinhoti trail which runs through Rolater Park. The trailheads for the Pinhoti Trail are located just outside of town, southwest of Cave Spring. The trail extends up through Coosa, follows Taylor’s Ridge to Dalton to north Ellijay before eventually linking to the Appalachian Mountains Trail.
Lower Lake Trail at James H. Floyd State Park – An easy 1.8 mile trail around the lake featuring a number of wild flowers and plants.
Marble Mine Trail at James H. Floyd State Park– Also at James H. Floyd State Park, you’ll find the Marble Mine Trail. There are several versions of this trail that can take you on a 1.6 – 2.2 mile hike to the entrance of an old marble mine. The boardwalk in front allows you to peek inside. This is a fun warm-weather walk, as the air feels cool around the mine entrance.
What more of a challenge while hiking in Northwest Georgia? Lookout Mountain Bluff Trail is not for the faint of heart. Explore this 9.2-mile out-and-back trail near Lookout Mountain, Georgia. Generally considered a moderately challenging route, it takes an average of 3 h 54 min to complete. This trail is great for hiking and trail running. Dogs are welcome, but must be on a leash.
Head up to northeast Georgia for some of the greatest hiking and fun small towns around.
Brasstown Bald Trail – Surrounded by the Chattahoochee National Forest, this 1.2 mile round trip on a paved trail leads you from the parking lot to the summit tower. You’ll enjoy mountain summit views, and you can even see Tennessee, North Carolina, and South Carolina on a clear day.
Desoto Falls – The entire trail is 2.2 miles, but you can enjoy both waterfalls on this trail by hiking to the second fall at 0.75 miles and then turning back, making is a 1.5-mile hike.
Helton Creek Falls – Two waterfalls with a viewing platform. Short and easy at .4 miles, but there are stairs.
Lake Trahlyta – This is a beautiful scenic hike at Vogel State Park that includes a 1-mile trail around the lake. If you’re up for it, there is a short spur on the backside of the lake leading down to the base of Trahlyta Falls.
Also in Vogel State Park is .8-mile partial loop — the Byron Reece Nature Trail. In the spring the park offers peddle-boats and bike rentals, and in the fall you can enjoy the beautiful changing leaves in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
If you’re hiking with older, more experienced young ones, you may want to try hiking the Blood Mountain summit on the Byron Reece Trail and Appalachian Trail. Don’t miss the stunning views from the Appalachian Trail’s highest summit in Georgia!
Eyes on Wildlife – 1.6 mile trail on Cooper’s Creek. Wonderful waterfalls here.
Fall Branch Falls – Hike an easy .6 miles to the lower falls. Take a short side fork off the right side to the lower falls and an observation deck. Take the short hike to the upper falls if you’re up for it.
Long Creek Falls – a 2-mile easy/moderate trail with gorgeous falls and creek play as the reward.
Sosebee Cove – This is a short and easy trail near Vogel State Park, coming in at under 1/3 of a mile (although a few sites read it as .5 miles). It is a great one for young toddlers who want to begin walking on their own.
For the best photos, visit this trail at the beginning of April when wildflowers are at their peak. The unique ecosystem in the area ensures that almost every Georgia native flower, including orchids and trilliums, are in abundance.
Cane Creek Falls – Only about a 100-yard walk, but still worth mentioning because of the falls. A fun stop if you are in the area.
Springer Mountain – An easy 2-mile trail that ends at the Appalachian Trail.
Amicalola River Trail – One of my favorite secret places in the mountains. The entire trail is 2.9 miles, but you’ll want to stop at about 1 mile in (or a little less) and play on the rocks and in the water.
Anna Ruby Falls – The hike from the parking lot is paved and less than a mile round trip. Gorgeous twin falls are your reward!
Whitley Gap Trail – The entire length of this trail is 2.8 miles (1.4 each way,) but luckily you don’t have to follow it the entire way to enjoy the best part. At about .5 miles in you will reach the top of Wildcat Mountain with great views and fairyland growth on the trees, making it a special place for kids. Go in spring when the rhododendrons are blooming en masse.
Dukes Creek Falls – A gorgeous and easy/moderate 1 mile hike to the bottom of the 250-ft falls. There are observation decks as well. The moss covered boulders and wildflowers in this area are magical.
Raven Cliff Falls Trail – Hike this trail to a gorgeous waterfall that cascades through a 40-foot-tall, towering cliff, slicing the enormous rock outcrop in half. And catch wildflower and waterfall-filled beauty throughout the trail’s 2.5 miles: the hike follows a beautiful, rushing trout stream in a shady, moss-filled forest.
Unicoi State Park – There is a short trail, Frog Pond Nature Trail. This 1/3 mile loop is rated easy. A short walk around Frog Pond marked by interpretive signs and tree identification signs. Learn more about the wildlife that make Unicoi its home. Interested in a brief, informative stroll? This one is for you.
Lake Winfield Scott Trail – This trail circles the lake in an easy loop at only a bit over half a mile.
Jarrard Gap Trail – In the same recreation area, which is an easy 2-mile in and out (1 mile each way) that connects to the Appalachian Trail.
North and South Rim Trails – Tallulah Gorge State Park has some of the most beautiful views in north Georgia. Doing both the North and South Rim Trails would be 3 miles altogether, but you can just choose one of keep it under 2 miles.
EAST OF ATLANTA
Fun hikes that can be found just east of Atlanta? Sign us up!
Watson Mill State Park – This is the most picturesque of the Georgia State Parks, some say. Three trails offer hikes under 2 miles, including great views of the dam and covered bridge.
Chimney Park (from Denzil) – I want to go here now! It has Fairy Houses and a Maypole, with an incredible mission! I can see that there is at least a .6 mile trail here, with much more to do.
Newton Trails (from Denzil) – Two trails in Newton. Oxford is 1.2 miles with benches and interpretive signs. It’s not a loop, so you’ll want to cut back at half-way through your desired length. Porterdale is a .2 mile loop, which will eventually connect to the train depot (cool!)
SOUTH OF THE CITY
These fun hikes can be found just south of Atlanta.
Indian Spring State Park – Wade in Middle Georgia’s Sandy Creek or swim in McIntosh Lake. The spring water here is said to hold healing powers and can be sampled at the Spring House.
After walking the ¾-mile nature trail, play at the playground or on the beach, take in a round of mini-golf, or visit the museum.
High Falls State Park – There are multiple trails at High Falls State Park. We enjoyed the Falls Trail most of all. No indication of the length on the map, but it has to be under 2 miles because it is shorter in length on the map than the Tranquil Trail, which is marked as 2 miles. The Historic Trail is .75 miles, and goes to the ruins.
Reynolds Nature Preserve – This nature preserve is gorgeous in spring when the wildflowers are blooming along one of the five ponds. There are three trails, each under 1.5 miles.
Chattahoochee Bend State Park (from Steve) – The website doesn’t give a breakdown of the trails, so we are glad Steve dropped a note about the opportunities here!
From Steve: Our Flat Rock Trail is a one mile “lollipop loop” that goes through two globally imperiled environments, featuring granite outcrops with diamorpha pools, ponds where frogs lay bunches of egg clusters, Montane long leaf pines and moss-covered boulders. Our Riverside Trail starts at the Day Use Area’s playground and it’s a flat two-mile round-trip hike to the 30′ observation tower; along the way you’ll enjoy great views of the Chattahoochee River. We even have bald eagles with an active nest!! (Um, Steve, this is way cool!)
Noah’s Ark – This is a wonderful animal rehabilitation refuge (and orphanage) with paved walkways great for walking with the kids. Donations are appreciated, but entrance is free.
Cochran Mill Park Trails – Eight miles of sustainable multi-use trails have been designed and constructed and 10 miles of old trails have been rehabilitated here. The park offers several trails under 2 miles, including a walk to the falls.
WEST OF ATLANTA
These hiking spots can be found west of the city.
Providence Canyon Trails – Georgia’s “little Grand Canyon” can be found west of Atlanta in the town of Lumpkin, just 45 minutes away from Columbus. My kids and I have hiked the canyon trails — which is so fun, and offers so much for kids to explore. The bottom of the canyon can be wet, so make sure to bring appropriate shoes and maybe a change of clothes!
MORE INFORMATION FOR YOUR OUTDOOR GEORGIA ADVENTURE
- YOUR GEORGIA VACATION
- GEORGIA STATE PARK CAMPING: 52+ Essential Things to Know
- BLUE RIDGE CABINS: 33 Dreamy Blue Ridge Cabins
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