The Arabia Mountain PATH is a paved network of 33 miles of trails winding through Dekalb and Rockdale Counties. Throughout the trail, cyclists will pass by the entrance to Davidson-Arabia Mountain Nature Preserve, through Panola Mountain State Park, and end at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit. The cycling is completely free of traffic, except for road crossings, but still is challenging with many sharp turns and steep climbs.
What Makes It Great
The network of trails on the Arabia Mountain PATH give riders plenty of scenery to take in, from jagged rock outcroppings, colorful wildflower fields, rushing streams, and towering pines, which shade riders during the warmer months. The beauty of the Arabia Mountain PATH is that it is not as crowded as other PATHs in the area, and allows riders to build up their skills- with climbs and curves- in the solitude of nature.
One of the most scenic sections goes through Panola Mountain State Park. From the north, you'll enter the park through a historic covered bridge. This section contains many serpentine curves and riders cross over several bridges. The wooden boardwalk bridge that crosses the Upper Alexander Lake includes longer climbs or descents on both sides of the bridge.
The climb known as Holy Hill is one of the toughest on the ride- an 8 percent grade- is aptly named as the hill leads to the Monastery. The Monastery has a Visitor Center with small cafe and shop that is open Monday through Saturday.
Who is Going to Love It
While this is one of the few cycling routes in Atlanta where riders don't have to worry about traffic, the Arabia Mountain PATH is still considered an intermediate ride because of its technicality. Cyclists will find this an aerobically challenging workout because of the sharp curves and steep but short climbs. Riders may not be able to hammer out speed as much as they like but it gives a lot of good practice for turning and bike control.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
There are several options to park and ride the Arabia Mountain PATH. Parking is free at all lots, but many are very limited in spaces, so it's best to park in the more populated lots. A full trail map is available here and shows all the parking options.
The best northern trailhead to access are at Davidson-Arabia Mountain Preserve.
To start more in the middle of the PATH (in between Davidson-Arabia Mountain Preserve and Panola Mountain State Park) is the parking lot at Panola Shoals.
On the southern trailhead, parking is available at Panola Mountain State Park (although you must pay a $5 parking fee), South Rockdale Community Park, or the Monastery of the Holy Spirit.
Note that cyclists should stay to the right and be aware of walkers, especially near trailhead-accessible portions of the PATH, and in Panola Mountain State Park.