Take a Walk – Spots to stretch your legs
By: Ralph Ellis
It’s spring, which means it’s time to go for a walk in the sunshine. Here are the best places to go to enjoy the beautiful weather.
The trendiest place to walk in Atlanta, of course, is the Beltline. It’s a great place to see, be seen, walk your dog, skate, bike, view public art and learn about intown neighborhoods.
When your legs get tried, stop for a drink or a bite to eat at spots along the trail, like the Highland Bakery or Pure Taqueria in Inman Park
The still-developing path system will eventually circle the city, using an existing 22-mile rail corridor as a foundation.
The Beltline is open 24 hours a day but it’s probably not a good idea to walk there alone at night. There are numerous places to access the Beltline, like the Inman Park commercial area.
There are more than eight miles of hiking trails at the 2,500-acre Davidson-Arabia Mountain Nature Preserve near Lithonia.
The massive exposed granite faces of Arabia Mountain used to be a quarry and remnants of the mining industry remain. Small lakes, wetlands, and patches of forest break up the magnificent scenery.
The hikes are self-guided and the trails can be reached from parking lots on Klondike Road.
If you want to stretch your legs but don’t have much time, consider the Decatur City Cemetery.
Paved roads wind through the historic 54-acre site, by far the largest green space in the city. It’s a favorite spot for dog-walkers and dog poop bag dispensers are available.
Some areas are hilly, so you can get something of a workout. A pamphlet for walking tours is also available. It’s a historic place, too, with graves of Revolutionary War veterans.
It’s all free and open from dawn to dusk. If you’re driving, enter off Church Street. If you’re walking, there’s a pedestrian gate on Commerce, near the little Kroger.
It’s easy to miss this 154-acre nature preserve in the heart of the Emory University campus. It’s open to the public and a favorite spot for joggers.
A wide path, mostly paved, curves around Candler Lake and up the hill past the chancellor’s house. Nature trails cut through the woods. A pedestrian suspension bridge crosses Peachtree Creek and dirt trails run alongside the creek.
The park’s main entrance is at 1463 Clifton Rd NE, on the Emory campus, but the park can be entered by trails next to Starvine Way and behind the school’s Clairmont campus.
If you drive, you may have to pay to park in an Emory parking garage. Lullwater Preserve is open sunrise to sunset.
An easy and scenic spot to walk is Lake Avondale, the centerpiece of Avondale Estates.
Parents with little kids, dog walkers and joggers favor the packed gravel path that circles the lake. You’ll see ducks and turtles, an arched footbridge and a gazebo. If you get tired, take a break on the benches along the path.
The lake is a favorite spot for city events, such as the Easter egg hunt and the Fourth of July fireworks. You can park on the street or the small lot near the lake house at 59 Lakeshore Drive. It’s free and open dawn to dusk.
There’s plenty to do at this busy state park, such as golfing, boating, and enjoying the occasional laser show on the side of this massive granite outcropping. It’s also a favorite spot for walkers and runners, with more than 15 miles of trails.
A wide, paved path circles the base of the mountain and has a sidewalk along the edge. Cyclists often use this route.
The 5-mile Cherokee Trail is partly paved and circles the mountain. It runs along the edge of the lake and hits the outer reaches of the park. The 1.5-mile Muscogee Trail loops through the park. The Nature Garden Trail takes you among shrubs and flowering plants and connects to the Nature Trail
Of course, you can always hike the 1 mile to the top of Stone Mountain for the spectacular view. That trek begins at Confederate Hall.
Parking is $10 per day or $35 for an annual pass. Some attractions require a separate fee. The park is most easily reached off U.S. 78.