- Eric Champlin for the AJC
North Georgia is known for its fantastic hiking trails with stunning summit views, rushing rivers and roaring waterfalls. But these scenic trails make for a great trail run, too.
Trail running is a great way to experience new scenery and take a break from the monotony of that all-too-familiar intown running route. New to trail running? Run these seven unpaved trails in metro Atlanta, ideal for beginning trail runners. Or if you're up for a challenge (and some serious scenic views), head to one of these popular trail runs in north Georgia:
Run this moderate trail near Carters Lake to explore grassy lake inlets and a fern-filled forest. A moderate climb in the middle of the trail packs a great workout into this shorter trail run.
The Lake Loop Trail at Fort Yargo State Park offers more than five miles of scenic, relatively level running. You'll trace the scenic shore of Fort Yargo's Marbury Lake, running through grassy clearings and crossing the lake's earthen dam.
Run the Riverside Trail at Chattahoochee Bend State Park on a nearly flat, beginner-friendly trail just south of Atlanta. You'll enjoy views of the Chattahoochee and wildlife on this scenic four-mile run.
Take a healthy break from Oktoberfest with this two-mile run near Helen at Unicoi State Park. You'll jog over gently rolling terrain and through a forested valley along Smith Creek. Up for a longer run? Veer off the Bottoms Loop on the Helen Trail to run three miles into Alpine Helen.
Run five miles along the banks of the Chattooga River in Rabun County. You'll run through a lush forest, catch glimpses of the crystal-clear Chattooga River and visit the ruins of an old farming homestead.
Run nine miles roundtrip to one of Georgia's most stunning waterfalls, Jacks River Falls. The trail runs through the remote, pristine Cohutta Wilderness while rolling over hills and making two usually shallow river crossings. Mid-run, take a dip into the water of the Jacks River just below the waterfall to cool off, or soak up the scenic beauty of the falls.
Run the banks of a rushing trout stream on this moderate trail near Helen. You'll run under a shady forest canopy, catching views of the stream's many waterfalls along the trail. Mid-run, stop at the towering Raven Cliff for a water break, catching sight of the tumbling waterfall that slices the cliff in two.
Looking for a new paved running route in town? Skip the sidewalk on one of these seven great running trails in metro Atlanta.View full experience