After spending this past weekend in the mountains with my husband, I was reminded how much I love trail running after hiking at the Black Rock Mountain State Park in Clayton, Georgia! After arriving home on Sunday, I woke up Monday morning, laced up my La Sportivas and headed to East Palisades Indian Trail, the group of trails that are part of the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area. Most people don’t realize these trails are ITP (Inside the Perimeter)!
The entrance to the park is just off of Northside Drive and Indian Trail in Northwest Atlanta. There is a short drive to the end of Indian Trail where you are greeted by the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area sign leading you along a gravel road to the parking lot. The park is open from dawn to dusk. Parking is $3 unless you have an annual pass which is $25. Annual passes can be purchased online. Mark your calendar for National Public Lands Day which is September 24th. The parking fee is waived for visitors in observance of this day!
The main trail is easily located from the parking lot. Once on the trail, runners will follow the blue blazes as they are led down to the river. Be careful! The trail is rather steep in a few areas. At the bottom, the trail levels out as runners approach the Chattahoochee River. Since the trail follows beside the river, runners are treated to beautiful views of the river through the trees. After following the river, the trail turns to head back up. There are spots along the trail that wind around trees and there are several hairpin turns. Again, there are many steep sections as runners head up this part of the trail. At the top of the trail, runners are lead to the gravel road. Make a right turn to head back to the parking lot. The trail is approximately 2.4 miles. This past Monday morning I decided to do the loop two times for a nice 5.8 mile run. I encountered three other hikers on the trail, two of which had their dogs on a leash. The times I have visited this trail, there have been just a few others along the way, however I have encountered runners and hikers who do not leash their dogs. Be sure to stay alert and keep your eyes open for any obstacles.
All runners are encouraged to check out East Palisades Indian Trail as a place to train in Atlanta! If you are new to trail running, this is a great place to get started due to the fact that the trail is short! If you are planning on participating in Vision Trek 10K Trail Run benefitting Georgia Eye Bank, scheduled for Saturday, March 3, 2012, this is a wonderful location to practice your hill climbing skills! If you want to beat the Atlanta heat, you will stay a lot cooler running on this trail since the trees offer a ton of shade.
I hope to see you on the trail! Enjoy your training!