Lullwater Preserve is a hidden treasure of tranquility right in the middle of Atlanta. The park is located on the Emory University campus in Atlanta, and the President’s Loop Trail takes you by the private residence of the university’s president at Lullwater House while the Lake Loop Trail takes you around the park’s scenic lake.
Parking for Lullwater Preserve can be tricky since the park is on the Emory campus. Paid parking is available on campus. For free parking, you can go to the parking lot for Hahn Woods on Houston Mill Road. Take the trail under the road to get to Lullwater Preserve.
The Hike to Lullwater Preserve
The hike departing from the Hahn Woods parking lot descends a set of stairs to the creek where you will then want to turn to the right and continue under the bridge. Just past the bridge are the ruins of a metal bridge, rusting over and sprouting vines, spanning a waterfall. Concrete blocks at the bridge’s beginning sites two dates: 1863 and 1927.
From there, the hike continues over sandbars and a trail forged through ivy. A fence follows along the opposite bank of the creek, marking out the land of the sprawling Yerkes National Primate Research Center owned by the university, whose buildings loom out of the trees.
After about 15 minutes, the trail will bring you underneath a suspension bridge and you’ll see a small waterfall with powerhouse ruins sitting like a castle on its edge. Then you’ll know that you made it to Lullwater.
President’s Loop Trail
Officially in Lullwater Preserve, the trail turns from dirt and sand to a paved path. Continue straight through the intersecting pathways on the paved trail to begin the President’s Loop Trail. On the left, the trail follows along the park’s Candler Lake, and on the right, up the hill, you can begin to see the president’s mansion peering through the trees. The trail continues in perfect campus serenity, passing large green fields of people lounging and puppies playing.
When the trail comes to a fork, continue to the right and then to the right again. Here, the trail begins to climb the hill toward the mansion. Lullwater House was built in 1926 as the private residence of the son of the Coca-Cola founder. The Tutor-Gothic revival style mansion was given to Emory University in 1958, and the presidents of the university have lived there since 1963.
The President’s Loop Trail continues past Lullwater House and down the hill to the suspension bridge. The suspension bridge bounces you across the creek where you can turn right and explore the ruins of the powerhouse that used to provide power to Lullwater House.
The trail continues back the way you came, over the suspension bridge, and continuing left to the end of the loop. Continue straight, down the dirt path this time, to begin the Lake Loop Trail.
Lake Loop Trail
The Lake Loop Trail continues straight on the dirt path. This trail takes you on a more narrow path around the back side of Candler Lake. Since this path is unpaved, it can easily get muddy after a big rain.
You loose site of the lake through the trees before coming to a larger path. Turn right onto the wider path that provides more room for bikers and strollers.
The path continues to follow along the banks of the lake before coming to meet with the paved path of the President’s Loop Trail. Take a right and finish off the hike on the paved path.
From there, you retrace your steps over the sandbars back to the parking lot at Hahn Woods. But if these short loops weren’t enough hiking for you, Lullwater Preserve has plenty more trails and loops that can keep you occupied.
What is your favorite trail at Lullwater Preserve? Let me know in the comments!