|From Brushy Mountain Tunnel|
The Greater Atlanta Area is home to a number of interesting things to see and do. Some are better or bigger than any other place in the world. A notable example of this is the longest paved bike trail in the United States, a path that starts in Smyrna, Georgia and leads all the way to Weaver, Alabama, just outside Anniston. The Georgia portion of this path is called the Silver Comet Trail. I have now biked the entirety of the Silver Comet, and what I believe is the most notable spot on the trail is the Brushy Mountain Tunnel.
This 800-foot long, three story high tunnel runs right through Brushy Mountain. The tunnel was originally built in 1912, but simple observation shows walls of concrete. What occurred was that the tunnel was expanded (principally heightened) in 1968 to accommodate modern three tiered freight cars that became more prevalent in the modern era. Seaboard Rail stopped using this passageway in 1988, which allowed the tunnel to take on its new role as an actual destination on the Silver Comet.
The Best way to get there by bike is to get on at Rambo or Paulding and head west which is either 8.5 or 11.5 miles away, respectively. You will drive over the 750 foot long Pumpkinvine Creek Trestle and through the Paulding Wildlife Management Area, which makes up the prettiest stretch of the trail, in my opinion. It is also the longest portion between trail heads at 11 miles, so you need to be prepared because there are no restrooms or places to get water or other necessities. If you continue on to Rockmart, which will take your one way distance up to 18.25, you get what I think is the best slice of the Silver Comet Trail Pie.
If you are looking to hike to the tunnel, or just want a shorter bike trip, the best thing to do is start at Coot’s Lake and travel the 2.6 miles East to the tunnel, which makes for a pleasant 5 mile walk on paved surfaces. The grade to the tunnel is upward from both directions but long and gentle.
I recently set out to capture the entirety of the trail on film and I include a bit longer video of me crossing through the tunnel below. The photos come from a different day earlier this year. As I have come to truly enjoy having the Silver Comet Trail right in our backyard, I think its most interesting attraction, the Brushy Mountain Tunnel, sitting slightly less than an hour away from Atlanta, is deserving of mention in its own right.
Approximate Time: 1-1.5 hours (Hiking)
Approximate Distance: 5 miles (Coot’s Lake to Tunnel and back)
Features: Lakeside view, Large Tunnel
Overall Rating: B
Scenic Quality: A
Parking: At any of the Trailheads mentioned, Free
Hours of Operation: Daylight hours
Facilities: At Palding (Standard) or Coot’s Lake (Portables)
Maps: here, not really needed