West Palisades Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, GA
DURATION 2-3 hours
West Palisades

One of the more challenging of the Chattahoochee River parks, the West Palisades trail system provides relaxing river-side trails along with several moderately steep inclines. The park is complete with great river views, boat ramp, large picnic area, and access to a 4 mile paved multi-use trail, making it perfect for a variety of activities.

Starting from the larger parking lot at Paces Mill, begin on the Rottenwood Creek Multi-Use trail for the first half mile. While on this paved path, you will cross under I-75, then over Rottenwood Creek before arriving at the start of the West Palisades unit of the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area. Taking the first of the two entrances with the sign, the trail continues to follow along the river for the next .6 miles. Along here will be the first junction, which at the time of writing this, does not have a trail map for guidance.

If you take a right along the river, the trail eventually dead ends unless you ascend a steep, difficult unofficial side trail up the hill. This is one of many unofficial trails in the park. As a rule of thumb, if the trail becomes overly difficult, hard to follow, or overgrown then you’ve taken a wrong turn. Taking a left at the junction will take you up a steep incline. The trails either stay around 800 feet in elevation along the river or around 1000 feet in elevation on the hilltop, so navigating this park requires several 200 foot climbs and descents.

Continue uphill at the next junction; turning left here will lead you back to the paved path. Once the trail levels off, it will slowly descend before coming to another junction. If you stay straight, the trail will lead to a townhome neighborhood. Head downhill to another series of junctions.

The rest of the park has trail maps, so navigating shouldn’t be too difficult. Heading downhill, a side trail on the left will lead to the townhomes as well. At the next junction, heading left will take you to the smaller parking lot on Akers Ridge Drive. Continuing down the moderately steep path, the trail forms a couple small loops along the river. Restrooms are available here as well. A couple short boardwalks and a small sandy bank overlook the river near the Devils Racecourse Shoals. When heading back, if you wish for a longer outing, continue down the Rottenwood Creek/Bob Callan Paved Trail that you came in on.

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Elevation Map Length (miles) by Elevation (feet)
Terrain Map Click to control map
length5.3 miles
difficulty5.6 Easy-Medium
duration2 - 3 hours
trail typeTrail System
elevation gain680 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 33.871349, -84.45361 (Degree Decimal, DegDec)
N 33°52.28, W 84°27.22 (Degree Minutes, MinDec)
N 33°52'17'', N 33°52'17'' (Degree Minutes Seconds, DMS)
Trailhead Directions
33.871349, -84.45361 (Degree Decimal, DegDec)
N 33°52.28, W 84°27.22 most GPS units use this one
N 33°52'17'', N 33°52'17'' (Degree Minutes Seconds, DMS)
Google Map It
The entrance to the Paces Mill parking area is on the west side of Cobb Parkway, then goes under the highway to the large parking lot.
All official CRNRA maps can be found at https://www.nps.gov/chat/planyourvisit/maps.htm.
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Reviews / Comments
Average Review Rating
4 (1)
hikethesouth-8 months ago
Another Classic Chattahoochee Park
Like many of the Chattahoochee Parks, this trail system offers a plethora of different options, difficulties, and lengths. Do what you feel like, there's no right or wrong way to hike this park.
Easy-Medium | Hiked Spring 2012
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