Outdoor Adventures in Atlanta, GA
Did you know that Georgia is home to 10 Official Units of the National Park System, which include historic sites, landmarks, monuments, and trails? Did you know it's also home to 76.4 miles of the Appalachian Trail and to the 430 mile Chattahoochee River and to two climbing gyms with a combined total of more than 60,000 square feet of indoor bouldering and climbing surfaces? Whether you want to drive 20 minutes or 2 hours, Atlanta has a lot to offer for outdoor adventures no matter what the sport.
Trail: For hikers and trail runners, you only have to travel 20 minutes from downtown to find more than 50 miles of wooded trails in the Chattahoochee National Recreation Area. Just two-hours away, the Blue Ridge Mountains and Appalachian Mountains contain the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail at Springer Mountain. Here you’ll find many of Georgia’s balds including Brasstown Bald, and six state parks. For mountain bikers, you can get your spokes dirty on trails both in town and north of the city, and the world-famous Pinhoti Trail is less than two hours away.
Water: The Chattahoochee National Recreation Area comprises 48 miles of the Chattahoochee River, flowing from the northern suburbs at Buford Dam until Paces Mill. The entire 430-mile river flows from the Blue Ridge Mountains to Apalachicola, and provides more than 70 percent of Atlanta’s drinking water. The Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area is the closest access to paddle-friendly water in Atlanta. In North Georgia, the 170-mile Etowah River flows southwest to Rome, GA. Paddling on the Etowah varies, with challenging shoals to the north and wider, lazy paddles southwest that lead through Cumming, Cartersville, and Allatoona Lake.
Rock: Atlanta is also home to both natural rock climbing and stellar gym climbing. Boat Rock is a respected boulder field, just 20 minutes south of the city that plays host to the annual Float the Boat climbing comp. And since Atlanta is only 2 hours from the bouldering hot spot of Chattanooga, many climbers make the drive on weekends to get to places like Rocktown—a rural boulder field with more than 500 established boulder problems. The high number of 4-stars and classics at Rocktown make this one of the largest bouldering areas in the Southeast. Also, Stone Summit has breached Atlanta’s indoor climbing scene, having two of the top 10 largest gyms in the country.
A river by day, music by night: Here's where to go paddling in Atlanta, followed by some drinks and tunes on the local music scene.
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