Island Ford Trail System Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, GA
DURATION 1-2 hours
Island Ford Trail System

Offering calm river walks and some rugged climbs, the Island Ford trails are a wonderful getaway for locals in the surrounding area. Because there are many interconnecting trails, hikers can tailor their walk to any distance and difficulty desired.

Parking at the lower parking lot will allow for the shortest and easiest walk to the river and is the location of the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area headquarters and Visitor Center. If you wish to purchase an annual pass, you can do so here.

This description begins at the first parking lot and highest elevation of the park. Take the trail on the left heading right toward the river. The Sandy Springs Island Ford Trail also starts at this location designated by a white sign. The trail quickly begins descending towards the river, crossing a several footbridges and a small creek until reaching the first junction.

Following the outermost perimeter, the trail continues along the river. Here, the terrain flattens out and is where the majority of people walk in the park. Taking the any one of the trails on the right before reaching the visitor center will take you to the entrance road. Crossing the road is an additional half mile loop around a small lake. Maps are posted at the intersections so really take any route you want. Don't let me tell you what to do.

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Elevation Map Length (miles) by Elevation (feet)
Terrain Map Click to control map
length3 miles
difficulty3.5 Easy
duration1 - 2 hours
trail typeTrail System
elevation gain420 ft.
state Georgia 
park/forestChattahoochee River National Recreation Area
visitor infoIsland Ford Visitor Center
1978 Island Ford Parkway
Sandy Springs, GA 30350
hoursSunrise - Sunset (parks)
9am - 5pm (Visitor Center)
parking fee$5/Day, $40 Annual Pass
trailhead coordinates 33.995185, -84.332455 (Degree Decimal, DegDec)
N 33°59.71, W 84°19.95 (Degree Minutes, MinDec)
N 33°59'43'', N 33°59'43'' (Degree Minutes Seconds, DMS)
Trailhead Directions
33.995185, -84.332455 (Degree Decimal, DegDec)
N 33°59.71, W 84°19.95 most GPS units use this one
N 33°59'43'', N 33°59'43'' (Degree Minutes Seconds, DMS)
Google Map It
There are several parking areas along Island Ford Parkway down to the Visitor's Center.
All official CRNRA maps can be found at
Live near the Chattahoochee Parks? Pick up an Annual Pass from the Visitor's Center at this location.
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Reviews / Comments
Average Review Rating
4 (1)
JDW30324-3 years ago
Last Monday morning around 8AM, my 20 pound Jack Russell terrier (who was on a leash) and I were attacked by a gray pit bull (named Bella who was not on a leash) on the East Palisades Trail at the Chattahoochee River in Atlanta. I thought we were going to die when it happened. It was a large type of pit bull. I had already picked up my dog and was trying to shelter her in my arms, when the pit bull knocked us to the ground and grabbed my dog's foot. The dog was on top of us. The owner was able to pull her off. This is the reason it's against the law to have your dog off leash anywhere - on any trail - even in the water - within the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area. The dog's owner was very sorry. She replied that many people have their dogs off leash here and she suggested this might not be the best place for me to walk my dog. 30 minutes later, we ran into them again and pit bull was still off leash. I later call the Ranger. Nothing he could do since I didn't have any way to identify the owner. He said it is a problem and people seem to think it's OK to have dogs off leash here - and that they share that misinformation on social media. He said he will request that Rangers patrol the area more often. My dog was bitten. Took her to the emergency vet and I think she will be OK. I understand there at not enough Rangers to patrol the area constantly. But more signage might help. There are signs in the parking lot, but you really have to read through them thoroughly to learn that you are not to have dogs off leash.
hikethesouth-6 years ago
Another Great Atlanta Trail System
Just a few miles north of the Perimeter is the HQ and Visitor's Center for all the Chattahoochee River parks. Great trails. River Views. Definitely visit if you live in the area.
Easy | Hiked Summer 2012
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