Paper mill ruins on the Sope Creek Trail in Marietta. Photo by @bmwaltersnj
Sope Creek Trail System in Marietta
Photo by @westy4xer
Metro Atlanta's Sope Creek trail system offers easy to intermediate trails for hiking and mountain biking. One of the many trail networks of Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, the Sope Creek trails feature tranquil moments alongside Sibley Pond, a gravel loop for mountain bike beginners, and the historic ruins of a paper mill. The old paper mill ruins are the reason I recommend hiking in winter and spring. Visiting while winter has the vegetation in check allows for better views and exploration of these impressive ruins.
Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park in Macon
Photo by @cute.thulhu
Winter and early spring are the perfect times to visit the site of the largest archaeological dig in U.S. history, Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park. "All things are connected," at this memorial to the relationship between people and nature. Macon's mild winter keeps bugs at bay for visitors traversing fields, exploring wetlands and enjoying a sacred view from atop the Great Temple Mound. Enhance your visit by watching the short educational film before setting off on your adventure.
Bear Creek Trail in North Georgia
Hike or mountain bike to one of the largest poplar trees in Georgia. The giant, old-growth Gennett Poplar is certainly a Georgia gem that shouldn't be missed. The Bear Creek Loop in the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest near Ellijay follows the creek closely for a time, making several fun crossings for mountain bikers. This trail system, in North Georgia's mountains, includes a junction with the 300-plus-mile Pinhoti Trail and offers several options for longer outings.
Water Trails of the Okefenokee Swamp
Get a head start on summer by joining the Park Paddlers Club at Stephen C. Foster State Park! Explore 15 miles of mysterious Okefenokee waterways and the Trembling Earth Nature Trail before the summer heat sets in. I'll warn you that gliding a canoe or kayak through the legendary blackwater will only make you thirsty for more.