Many people regularly enjoy the opportunity for exercise and recreation along some of the greenways and bike trails in the north Atlanta metro area. The traffic noise of the city subsides as users move into the woods and along picturesque creeks. These pathways also provide glimpses of some of the wildlife that lives in the area.
The Big Creek Greenway is a popular linear park located in Alpharetta. Big Creek is a tributary of the Chattahoochee River, and the greenway follows over six miles of the creek and its adjoining wetlands. The multi-use paved path is twelve feet wide and mostly flat. It is suitable for walking, jogging, biking, and skating. One section is designated for pedestrians only with a boardwalk over a wetlands area. There is also a .75 mile wood chip path for mountain biking and hiking. The Big Creek Greenway runs from Webb Bridge Road on the north to Mansell Road on the south. Construction is currently underway to extend the greenway north to Windward Parkway. Eventually the path will connect on the north end to Forsyth County and its network of recreational trails. The greenway is open from 8am to sunset. Parking areas are located at Haynes Bridge Road, Northpoint Parkway, Rock Bridge Park on Kimball Bridge Road, and next to the YMCA on Preston Ridge Road. Restrooms are located at Rock Bridge Park and the tail head at Northpoint Parkway.
The Big Creek Greenway connects on the south end to Big Creek Park in the City of Roswell. The park contains an additional two miles of paved multi-use trail, as well as unpaved hiking trails and single track mountain bike trails. There is also a pedestrian only section of boardwalk over a wetlands area. This park is part of the Roswell Wetlands Enhancement Project, and it received an award from the American Council of Engineering Companies for engineering excellence. Parking and restroom facilities are located off Old Alabama Road.
The Cochran Shoals Unit of the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area is popular with walkers and bikers. Located just outside the I-285 perimeter, the linear park has entrances off Papermill Drive in Sandy Springs and Columns Drive. The Sope Creek section has six miles of trails, 2.5 miles of which are designated for bike use. The trails follow along the creek and circle Sibley Pond. They lead past the ruins of an old mill that produced paper from 1855-1902. The Columns Drive section of the park contains a three mile fitness trail and a boardwalk along the creek. The Park is open from dawn to dusk, and there is a $3 parking fee.
The Blanket Creek Bicycle Trail in Woodstock contains nine miles of loop trails. The single track mountain bike trails range in difficulty from intermediate to advanced. The trails may be accessed off I-575 at Sixes Road.
The Silver Comet Trail is a paved multi-use trail that begins in Smyrna and runs 61 miles to the Georgia- Alabama border. It is open to hikers, bikers, joggers, inline skaters, and horses. The Cobb County section of the trail is the busiest portion. This section contains the most access points for the trail and the best facilities for trail users.
These greenways and bike trails provide users the opportunity to participate in outdoor recreational activities in the midst of a busy urban area. The peaceful natural areas provide a respite from the noise and traffic of the city. They are a perfect escape for a little exercise or a quiet walk.