It’s a question fitness-minded business and leisure travelers often ask: where to find walking, biking and paddling trails near Atlanta? Woodstock, Georgia, just 35 minutes north of the Atlanta perimeter on I-75/575, is the unexpected answer. From trails for walking, running and mountain biking to golf, Woodstock offers the satisfaction of scenery while getting a workout with outdoor activities you’d expect to find much farther afield.
Basecamp for city, North Georgia trips
Some prefer to set up their basecamp in Woodstock for exploring more of the North Georgia mountains. Others like its proximity to the city for meetings, special events and shopping. Both love the surprising array of sophisticated and entertaining amenities and welcoming, small-town feel.
Here are just a few ways to enjoy the outdoors while staying in Woodstock.
Ten minutes from Woodstock are the southeast shores of Lake Allatoona, a 12,000-acre water-sports and fishing paradise encompassing 270 miles of shoreline. While Allatoona Lake is one of the country’s most frequently visited Army Corps of Engineers lakes (nearly seven million yearly visitors), after the summer peak boating and camping season it’s more peaceful and serene. Hike to a hidden battlefield or climb a ridge to an 1860s ironworks with a fascinating history. With its setting on Allatoona, Red Top Mountain State Park is a biking and hiker’s haven with its own unique recreation and programming. More than 15 miles of trails wind through the forested park, providing opportunities for exercise and nature photography. The gravel-topped, four-mile Iron Hill Trail is open to both hikers and bikers, offering pretty views of the lake’s shoreline.
Trails on land and water
Walk or rent bicycles and ride the 20 miles of the Greenprints Trail System, a series of multi-use trails along shaded creeks in and around Woodstock. Click through to the website to learn more or find a trail. For aficionados, AllTrails.com notes 14 scenic trails in the Woodstock area, including kid-friendly; easy; scenic river and forest hikes and more.
At Olde Rope Mill Park on the Little River, take the paved and dirt trails around the cotton mill ruins, over a bridge across the river and read the historical markers highlighting the area’s history (690 Olde Rope Mill Road, Woodstock Georgia 30188; 770-517-6788). A large wooden platform and multiple trails offer great river views. The serious mountain bike trails at Olde Rope Mill Park are consistently rated in the top 10 trails in Georgia by Singletracks.com. Many trails here are shared by those on foot and are directional by day of the week, posted on the trails.
Murph’s Surf, a bike sales and kayak/paddleboard outfitter offers more than nine locations where you can reserve your kayak or paddleboard. A popular offering is a three-hour trip to the Little River Marina and back. Call ahead, then pay online and Murph’s Surf brings your paddle gear to you and arranges a pick-up time. 678-672-9917
One of the most popular mountain bike trails in the U.S. is the Blankets Creek Mountain Bike Trail System in nearby Canton (2125 Sixes Road, Canton, Georgia 30114; 678-568-1508). Dedicated individuals, local leaders and the International Mountain Bicycling Association-Southern Off-Road Bicycle Association (IMBA-SORBA), a mountain biking advocacy organization, worked to forge cooperative agreements with government agencies and the community. SORBA formed a chapter so they could maintain the trails they were determined to build. For serious off-road bikers, SORBA and Trailforks offer this link for trail details: https://www.trailforks.com/region/woodstock-961
Need a bike rental? In addition to Murph’s Surf, Sixes Pit Bicycle Shop (10511 Bells Ferry Road Canton, Georgia 30114; 470-765-6748) offers rentals, repairs and adjustments and is located five minutes from Blankets Creek and 15 minutes away from Rope Mill mountain bike trails.
Hit some balls or get in a stellar round of golf at three Woodstock golf courses.
Eagle Watch Golf Club is an Arnold Palmer-designed course that golfing publications consistently rank among the top places to play in Atlanta. 3055 Eagle Watch Drive, Woodstock, Georgia 30189-2333; 770-591-1000
The Golf Club at Bradshaw Farm, built on historic farm property with views of the North Georgia mountains, offers 27 holes of challenging golf. 3030 Bradshaw Club Drive, Woodstock, Georgia 30188-2300; 770-592-2222
Towne Lake Hills Golf Club, designed by Arthur Hills and set among rolling green hills and lovely wooded countryside, receives rave reviews from golfers of all levels. 1003 Towne Lake Hills E, Woodstock, Georgia 30189-2501; 770-592-9969
Dining and entertainment
The historic downtown Woodstock shopping and dining district is a walkable, open container district whose magnet destinations bring energy and a lively beat. Check out Woodstock Arts visual arts center, café and theater and event green; and the indoor and outdoor live music and performance stages at MadLife Stage & Studios for daily entertainment. Adding to the ambiance is the Park at City Center featuring a gazebo, greenspace and an amphitheater that hosts national and regional bands.
Have an inventive craft beer at Reformation Brewery (8558 Main Street, Woodstock, Georgia 30188; 770-544-9009) or a cocktail on the rooftop of Rootstock with a 360 degree view of downtown (8558 Main Street, Woodstock, Georgia 30188; 770-544-9009) and relax while perusing 20 chef-driven dining options, from a James Beard award-winner to seafood to barbecue. The Woodstock Farm Fresh Market (Market Street, Saturday mornings from late April through December) satisfies the need for snacks, fruit and baked goods to enjoy on the trail or in your lodging, as well as produce to take home.
Rest and recharge
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