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Georgia Hikes: East Palisades Trail

The East Palisades Trail is a stunning hike that runs along the eastern side of the Chattahoochee River and offers beautiful views of the river and a bamboo forest.

We love hiking along the Chattahoochee River. There are so many different trails to choose from in the Atlanta area, and each of them are beautiful.

Kevin and I chose the East Palisades Trail for this hiking adventure because of its river views and for a relaxing hammock break in its bamboo forest. Here’s what you need to know about hiking the East Palisades Trail.

East Palisades Trail, Atlanta, Georgia

Getting to the East Palisades Trail

As the name suggests, the East Palisades Trail runs along the eastern side of the Chattahoochee River in the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area. It is about a 4 mile hike round trip.

The hike begins from the Indian Trail trailhead, located just inside the Perimeter in the Cumberland / Mt. Paran area. You’ll drive through a neighborhood of some of Atlanta’s most beautiful houses to get there.

A lot of people choose to park along the side of the one-land dirt road, but there is a parking lot further up where the trailhead is with plenty of space to park and turn your car around. There is a parking fee since this is part of the National Park Service.

Hiking the East Palisades Trail

The trail begins by following along Long Island Creek until it meets the Chattahoochee River. The trail then turns right and follows the river upstream.

At the first intersection, we continued along the river rather than going back into the woods. There were plenty of people out on the river shooting the Hooch, so it was great for people watching.

At the second intersection, we continued straight until the trail’s end not far ahead. Kevin then decided to forge his own trail (on a path that had clearly been forged before by other brave soles, though it is not technically a part of the trail) up the rocks to connect with the actual trail. You could get here much easier by simply going back to the second intersection and turning left.

The easy part of the hike was over, and we now climbed in elevation, keeping left at the next three intersections until we finally came to the observation deck. Here, we took a break and enjoyed the stunning view of the river below.

East Palisades Trail, Atlanta, Georgia

Then it was back down the trail. We kept left at the next intersection and descended the trail toward Cabin Creek where we found the ruins of a stone building and an old stone bridge that crosses the creek. Keep left at the intersections to continue back toward the Chattahoochee.

Atlanta Bamboo Forest

The trail continues northbound following the river again. Along the banks of the river is the towering bamboo forest where we set up our hammocks for a nice long break of snacking, reading, and people watching as tubers floated by on the river.

East Palisades Trail, Atlanta, Georgia

On our way back, we got a little lost. We made our way back along the river and up into the woods to the point where we first crossed Cabin Creek. We kept left at the intersection past the creek where the trail begins to follow the creek upstream.

But here, the trail became narrow and indistinguishable as it ran along the river, and we began to get nervous that we weren’t on the right trail. Kevin’s GPS didn’t match up with what the East Palisades Trail map had said, so we retraced our steps to the intersection.

This time we continued the opposite direction through the intersection and kept left through the next three intersections. We then came to where we would have come out had we stuck with the creek-side trail, so it took us a little longer but at least we were sure of our trail.

At this and the next intersection we kept right and came out on the dirt road we had parked on and were just a short walk from our car.

The entire hike was over 4 miles round trip with our short mishap.

Hiking Essentials

Come prepared for your hike by making sure you pack the essentials. Check out this must-have hiking gear before you set off on the trails:

East Palisades Trail Info

Hike length: About 4 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

Is it pet-friendly?: Yes, leashed dogs are allowed on this trail.

Location: 4058 Whitewater Creek Rd NW, Atlanta, GA 30327

Parking: Parking is available at the Indian Trail Parking Lot; $5 fee.

Fees: There is a $5 parking fee per vehicle.

Hours: The trail is open from sunrise to sunset.

Accessibility: This is an unpaved dirt trail that ranges from flat to steep. The trail can be muddy at times.

Nearby Hiking Trails

Looking for more hiking trails in Atlanta? Check out more of these amazing Georgia hikes:

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Georgia Hikes: East Palisades Trail

Have you hiked the East Palisades Trail and bamboo forest in Atlanta, Georgia? Let me know in the comments!

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  1. I love that little bamboo forest! Isn’t it cute?! And yes! Those houses are frickin awesome. I almost always crash on my ride up from focusing too much on the houses and not enough on the toad. Smh

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