This past weekend we did our long-ish run (8 mi) in the Chicopee Woods Trail System up in Gainesville, GA. This is part of the Chicopee Woods Nature Preserve, which also contains the Elachee Nature Center and the Chicopee Woods Mountain Bike Trails. There is a $5 daily fee ($50 annual fee) to get into the area and use the trails and dogs are not allowed anymore. There is also a fee if you want to go through the small natural history displays and museum at the Nature Center when it is open. They have a great native reptile and amphibian collection that is great for kiddos.
The hiking trails are well maintained and the scenery runs from lovely forested hills, to creeks, to bottomland, and then to a large lake on the other side of the property from the nature center. There are trails with options of 3 mi and 5 mi loops, and several shorter trails that wind around the nature center. It’s beautiful and if you get there before 10 am you’re not likely to see many folks in the winter time. In the summer, the trails get a bit more crowded and the Nature Center has summer camp programs that bring people to the area.
This is one of the more difficult sets of trails that we have experienced in the greater Atlanta area (minus the hike to the top of Kennesaw Mountain). The trail parking lot starts at a high point and all trails head downhill toward the lake. Some of the trails follow streams and are relatively flat along stretches and then climb up and down switchbacks as it follows the mountain contours. There are several areas with stairs set into the trail to facilitate uphill climbs. We tend not to run this trail very often right after all the leaves drop in the fall because it makes roots hard to see, but in all other seasons it’s easy to avoid tripping.
Highly recommend a trip up here to hike, run, or mountain bike!