When you think of Atlanta, you may not think of it as a hiking city. Many locals go to North Georgia for all the kid-friendly hikes, but there are quite a few closer to the city that are worth your time. Atlanta is filled with many unique hikes, and you don’t have to go far to experience them. Today, India Tate, local Atlanta mom of two, outdoor adventurer, and founder of Our Wanderlust Life, is here to share the best kid-friendly hikes in Atlanta, Georgia. So, grab your hiking boots, and let’s go explore!

Best kid-friendly hikes in Atlanta

Exploring the kid-friendly hikes in Atlanta

Hiking in Atlanta doesn’t just mean you have to do urban trails. There are many kid-friendly hikes that don’t feel like you are in the city at all! Many of them are in secluded neighborhoods with lush vegetation and lots of green space. This makes you feel like you are far from the city and deep in nature.

Today, I’ll be covering 7 kid-friendly hikes and trails in the Atlanta area. Be sure to add these kid-friendly hikes to your list next time you are exploring Atlanta. 

1. Sweet Water Creek (red trail) 

Sweet Water Creek is a popular state park. One of the main trails to do is the red trail. This trail starts at the visitor center and takes you down a path where you are able to walk alongside the creek the entire way. The hike can be a bit rocky in certain parts, especially as you get closer to the end. With this being an out-and-back trail, once you get to the end of the trail, you must turn around and go back toward the beginning of the trail. 

sweet water creek ruins at sweet water creek

2. Sope Creek Paper Mill trail

This trail is one of the best kid-friendly hikes in all of Atlanta. There is so much history at Sope Creek, with the ruins once being the largest paper mill in the state during the Civil War. To access this trail, there are a few starting points, but the main entrance is off paper mill road.

The trail is easily accessible year-round, but even better in the summer when you can play in the shallow parts of the river. The main loop is 2.3 miles and takes you down to the ruins and access to the Chattahoochee River. Once you walk back up from the river access, you continue on the loop, which will take you around the lake and back to the main parking lot. 

ruins at sope creeklake on sope creek trail

3. High Falls

High Falls is another state park in the Atlanta area with great hiking. This park offers camping and a few different hiking trails. The High Falls Trail takes you over to the beautiful waterfall. This trail is a quick 1-mile loop. You can park across the street in the main parking lot and then cross over to the trailhead.

Head down the staircase and get treated to the beautiful waterfall view that is High Falls. After visiting the falls, you will continue on the trail through the wooded forest and loop back around towards the start of the trailhead. 

high falls

4. East Palisades bamboo forest 

The bamboo forest on the East Palisades trail is such a hidden gem! Many locals don’t even know that it is there. This loop is about 4 miles and is considered moderate, but it is a very kid-friendly hike. If my 3-year-old and 4-year-old can do it with no problem, yours can too! Using the AllTrails app to map your hike is helpful for this particular trail because finding the trailhead can be a little tricky.

Once you park in the parking lot, you can either walk back down the road a little to access the trailhead from that end (which is a quick way to the bamboo forest if you don’t want to do the whole loop), or access the trailhead closest to the parking lot and make the full 4 mile loop. There is a lot to see and do on this trail, and once you start walking alongside the river, you will quickly approach the hidden Bamboo forest! 

bamboo forest

5. Vickery Creek 

Vickery Creek is a local favorite, and for good reason! This hike leads to a stunning waterfall and is a great family outing experience. The loop is 2 miles, and you will cross over a bridge and end up at the popular waterfall along the trail.

This kid-friendly hike is also great if you want to just walk up to the waterfall alone and make a day of it. Vickery Creek runs along the Chattahoochee River, and on a day after rainfall, it flows heavily and is amazing to see! 

Vickery creek at Roswell mill bridge at Roswell mill

6. Clyde Shepherd nature preserve  

Clyde Shepherd is a true hidden gem right in the city of Atlanta. It’s tucked away in a neighborhood in Decatur. This nature preserve is funded by local donations. Volunteers of the neighborhood are the ones who continue to take care of it.

This park has a few trail options. The interpretive main loop that covers most of the preserve is 1.5 miles. There is a big pond (seasonal) that you can walk past on the loop as well as another small pond closer to the beginning of the trail. There are so many unique areas along this trail that make it a super kid-friendly hike. with over 300 species of native plants and animals, your child is sure to find something to keep them engaged for quite some time on this hike. 

nature trail

7. Cochran Mill (orange trail) 

Cochran Mill Park features miles of hiking trails, a playground near the parking lot, and a few beautiful waterfalls! The orange trail is easily accessible and a great kid-friendly hike option. Once you cross the street from the parking lot, you will head over the bridge. The main waterfall is immediately to the right as you cross the bridge, and the kids have a lot of fun playing in the creek under the bridge.

If you want to do the entire loop, you will head left on the trail after you pass the waterfall and continue to make that loop. Along the trail, there are a few more waterfalls to see, and some you can even walk up to. 

cochran mill waterfall cochran mill waterfall

Best kid-friendly hikes in Atlanta

Atlanta is filled with so much more nature and outdoor fun than you might expect. It’s a big city, but one with a lot of amazing local green spaces, hiking trails, parks, and nature preserves.

If you are looking to get out in nature and out of the city, these trails are perfect for your next adventure! Which trail will you go on first?

Did you know about any of these hikes in Atlanta?

India - Our Wanderlust Life

About the author

India is an outdoor adventure enthusiast, blogger, and travel photographer. She is also a single mom to two young boys (ages 5  & 4). India and her boys currently live in Atlanta, Georgia, where she grew up, and are always out exploring, whether that be camping, hiking, backpacking, and so much more. She loves taking road trips with her boys to new places at a moment’s notice and is grateful to be able to share this love of adventure with her kids.

You can find more from India online in the following locations:
Instagram: @ourwanderlust_life
Website: www.ourwanderlust.life