|From Gold Branch T...|
I went hiking on my birthday. My friends asked me what I wanted to do, and I said go hiking. I wanted a more challenging trail, and they wanted to be in a situation where we were still close enough to drink and celebrate afterward. We are pretty fortunate that right here just outside the Perimeter, amongst the Chattahoochee National Wildlife Reserve, is a good solid but challenging hike at Gold Branch.
Now this doesn't have any cool ruins like Sope or Vickery Creek, and the Water itself is not as pretty as East Palisades or West Palisades. As a matter of fact, its not even the Chattahoochee proper, but rather Bull Sluice Lake, a murky bay along the river. But the draw here is the trail, its narrow, has ups and downs, and just plain fun to hike. All these factors make the route much quieter and much more interesting than other nearby portions of the Chattahoochee.
Now a trail is clearly marked. But you really don't want the marked trail. It is designed for the more casual participant. You want the unmarked primitive trail that basically runs just alongside the river. That is where the actions at.
Along the way, we encountered a couple of giant swans (who came right up to us when we offered a granola bar), a half dozen ducks, some great close up views of the water, views on huge homes off the water. The hike is a little less than five miles and should take a little over two hours to complete.
Approximate Time: 2.5 hours
Approximate Distance: 5 miles
Trail Surface: Compact Soil, Rocks
Features: River Views, Riverside Walk, Challenging Trail
Overall Rating: A-
Scenic Quality: B
Parking: $3 (MAR 2007)
Hours of Operation: Open Year Round, Sunlight Hours
Maps: Posted at Trailhead and through the Pathway, Primitive Trail unmarked but hugs the lakeshore, On-line
Directions: click here