Hiram, Georgia is a small and friendly community with big connections. Less than 20 miles from Atlanta’s I-285 perimeter, Hiram manages to keep its Southern charm while surrounded by suburban convenience. Sophisticated pups have access to the finer things: the Whole Dog Market in Vinings is an easy errand from Hiram for super-premium foods and handmade rawhide products from locally-sourced, humanely-raised beef.
Hiram is a stop on the Silver Comet Trail, a 61-mile converted rail line that runs from Cobb County to the Alabama line. It’s a pawpular spot for hikers, bikers, and barkers from all over the state. Hiram is near the 14-mile marker from the eastern trailhead in Smyrna. If you choose the longer journey to the west, you can even connect to the 33-mile Chief Ladiga Trail at the state line. There are periodic exits to facilities along the trail, but be sure to bring plenty of water for the whole family.
Adjacent to the Hiram trailhead for the Silver Comet are Homer Leggett Park and — best of all — Hiram Hounds Dog Park with three fenced, off-leash play areas. Plans are in the works to add agility equipment! There’s also a short path around the lake at Ben Hill Strickland Sr. Memorial Park. Don’t worry if your pal pulls a muscle: with two veterinary hospitals in Hiram and two more in the adjacent town of Dallas, he’ll be back in tip-top shape in no time.
Just 5 miles from Hiram, Powder Springs, GA is a town of trail-lovers. The city loves to brag about the network of trails and paths that connect neighborhoods around town, built to offer safe foot travel for your entire pack. Note that the Lucille Trail and Wild Horse Creek Trail both connect to the Silver Comet Trail, another access point if you’re working through that 61-mile journey in shorter segments. There is also a less-ambitious 1.25-mile paved trail at Taylor Farms Park in between Hiram and Downtown Powder Springs. The park is open until 11 pm, so your fur family can share an after-dinner walk together even after a long day at work.
The Dallas Dog Park is located inside Dallas City Park, 8 miles from Hiram. The park is open and well-lit until 11 pm, so it is a perfect place for walking off those extra-long days with your very best friend. The city park also has paved walking trails, or you can catch the Tara Drummond Trailhead for the Silver Comet in Dallas. Just a few miles south of Downtown Dallas is White Oak Park, with restrooms and a paved walking trail that loops around the two fishing ponds and playground. There’s even a disc golf course and trailside fitness equipment if you want to make your exercise more goal-oriented.
In Douglasville, less than 9 miles from Hiram, Deer Lick Dog Park on Mack Road has no breed restrictions and provides separate areas for small dogs and a water station. If there’s not enough of a crowd to frolic with at Deer Lick, head into the Arbor Place shopping district of Douglasville and scope out the nine restaurants with dog-friendly patio seating. From BBQ to ice cream, all your pup’s favorite people-foods are up for grabs! If you overdo it, you can always hit the 0.5-mile walking trail down the street at Fowler Field Park. Don't forget to bring some waste bags with you.
The Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park is 12 miles from Hiram. The park preserves a moment in American history: a June 24, 1864 Civil War battle that gave General William T. Sherman a brief setback on his march to Atlanta. There are interpretive displays if your pack will be patient while you nerd out. If not, you have 18 miles of walking trails to work off their energy. If you hop on at the Visitor’s Center, the trail to the top of Kennesaw Mountain is a 2-mile loop. The ascent would be hard on short legs, but the mountaintop view over the Atlanta skyline is worth it (even if your friend has to be carried part of the way). Remember to bring water for the whole family.
Less than 15 miles from Hiram, Sweetwater Creek State Park is one of Atlanta’s favorite weekend hangouts. The creek feeds a 215-acre lake popular with fishermen and paddlers. Your pups can walk off a week’s worth of treats on three challenging trails. The Red Trail is a 2-mile round-trip to the ruins of the New Manchester Mill along the whitewater of Sweetwater Creek: pick up a historical guide at the park’s interpretive center. The White Trail is a 5.2-mile nature loop that also stops at the mill ruins. Either trail earns credit towards your free t-shirt and bandana from the Tails on Trails Club, so make sure you get your passport stamped at the ranger station. (Not a member yet? Pick up a passport and hike 7 of the state’s most scenic trails with your best furry friend, and you’ll each get a prize.)