The Island Ford Trail near Atlanta, Georgia, is probably unlike any ride you’ve ever experienced; this trail is the home of nature. Riding through the course takes you through a wildlife-filled forest and many caves on the Chattahoochee River that boast scenic views. On top of that, you get to see old, historic caves that are the source of some exciting stories.
The trailhead is situated at 1978 Island Ford Parkway, Sandy Springs, Atlanta, GA 30350, near the Hewlett Lodge Visitor Center, built in the 1930s. The lodge was originally built as a summer home for Georgia Supreme Court Justice Samuel Hewlett before the National Park Service acquired it in 1979. Start your ride from there and follow along the Chattahoochee River.
Then, turn left at the river’s edge and cross a wooden bridge, riding into the forest and flanking the shoreline. This trail takes you past an old cave, a large outcropping, which provided shelter to the early Native American tribes in the area, according to archeologists.
From the cave area, the route arcs to the west, gaining elevation, leaving the widening river, and starting the loop part of the ride, which will return you to the trailhead. The Island Ford trail crosses many small streams, rolling elevation through a hardwood forest over a lot of moderately elevated ridges.
If it is springtime, you will see native Georgia wildflowers burst with pops of color. However, the leaves will change color come fall. The loop trail descends back to the Chattahoochee River banks. The ride turns south at the river’s banks, retracing its outbound route to the trailhead at the Island Ford Park.
If you do not mind experiencing more scenic adventures on Chattahoochee River’s banks, here are two trails that will expose you to some exciting sights:
The Island Ford 8.7-km loop trail is open year-round, meaning that you can always visit the park any time of the year. However, there is a notable difference between riding through the Island Ford trail in the springtime and using the route in the fall. The springtime features colorful wildflowers that lose their colors in the fall.
If you care very much about the extraordinary views that the colorful wildflowers offer, you are better off riding through the Island Ford trail in the springtime.